Powerful discourses and society

Discourses are the medium of reality. They burst forth from theories and simultaneously are the foundries of theories. They are powerful and can be both diligent and dangerous in the way that they shape and misshape consciousness especially through mythological discourses presented as “truths,” “fact,” or “reality” Discourses are effective colonizing tools that can chisel through identities and hacksaw through traditional knowledge/s. This creates a “double-think” situation, resulting in cultural alienation. Tewa Pueblo Indian educator Gregory Cajete describes it as “cultural schizophrenia” (cited in Stewart-Harawira, 2005, p. 16). Ngugi Wa Thiongo calls it “cultural annihilation” (1986). He asserts that the effect of this cultural bomb “is to annihilate a people’s belief in their names, in their languages, in their environment, in their heritage of struggle, in their unity, in their capacities and ultimately in themselves” (Ngugi Wa Thiongo, 1986, p. 3). Discourses (spoken and written) invent meanings between and among people, places, and things, and produce realities. Power relations are created among people and between diverse groups of people through their discourses. Discourses are produced by, and produce, the mechanics of society. They are powerfully productive and productively powerful. They are presented in schools as knowledge through the curriculum, and power through the teacher/student relationships.

Some of the current day discourses identified in this chapter (which are also located historically) employ discursive practices now deeply embedded into the fabric of our society, and that are re-productive. Through a discourse analysis involving a re-claiming and re-framing process, this chapter documents ways to create smooth spaces, in the Deleuze and Guattarian (2004) sense, in order to deterritorialize the language/landscape, to create lines of flight from the linguafaction that stultifies Maori language education. But it begs the paradoxical question: How does one influence (transform) ways of thinking that are deeply ingrained in the consciousness, which define reality, are productive, but which are not real and which are dissonant? Put simply, how does one smooth over striated spaces?

The individuality of a day (Tuck, 2010), a chance meeting in Wellington created a haecceity in a moment in relation to a report in The Dominion Post, a national paper located in our capital city, Wellington. Newspapers are present history tellers (Miller, 2008). The Dominion Post is no exception. It reflects the mythical colonial discourses that Ballara’s (1986) text Proud to be White? A Survey of Pakeha Prejudice in New Zealand unpacks. Tracking current day discourses through Ballara’s text allowed me to understand the process of how several colonial discourses have become internalized into the public consciousness (Skerrett, 2012; Skerrett, Ritchie, & Rau, 2013). I have selected three discourses that found their way that day into The Dominion Post. These discourses led me on a journey, in response to the present day “history-telling” of that national newspaper, and the cognitive dissonance they create. But they have their genesis in the myth-making discourses deeply embedded in the colonial agenda of invasion and territorialization. They are colonizing discourses, debunked here as colonizing falsehoods.

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