Victoria University

Narratives of Incorporation: An Anthropological Analysis of Same-Sex Civil Unions in New Zealand

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dc.contributor.advisor Bönisch-Brednich, Brigitte
dc.contributor.advisor Trundle, Catherine Steven, Dionne 2013-05-06T22:25:58Z 2013-05-06T22:25:58Z 2013 2013
dc.description.abstract In this thesis I examine civil unions from the perspective of New Zealand-based same-sex couples who have chosen to formalise their relationship. My approach is qualitative and in-depth and focuses on interpreting participants' own meanings and beliefs while also recognising the need for broader contextual knowledge. Through participants’ narratives, I explore why it was important for couples to have a civil union, how they chose to mark or enact the occasion, and the meanings they attribute to their choices and actions. Rather than treating the civil union as an isolated event, my analysis situates the civil union within four longer processual trajectories: individual biographical narratives, partner interactions, close social relationships, and trajectories of a socio-political nature. I then explore the contours of participants’ civil union ceremonies in terms of scale, style, and symbolic content. Throughout the thesis, I argue that civil unions facilitate incorporation for same-sex couples on a number of levels: incorporation in terms of inclusion in an important ‘meaning-constitutive’ practice; familial incorporation; and incorporation into mainstream society more generally. The incorporating effects of civil unions owe much to the symbolic capacities of law, the meaning inscribed in the socially dominant cultural model of marriage, and the characteristics of ritual. The importance of ritual to the anthropological enterprise is reaffirmed through this study; not only do rituals provide an important lens through which to examine the normative values of society but also the origins of social revitalization. en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.subject Civil unions en_NZ
dc.subject Same-sex marriage en_NZ
dc.subject Social anthropology en_NZ
dc.title Narratives of Incorporation: An Anthropological Analysis of Same-Sex Civil Unions in New Zealand en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.contributor.unit School of Social and Cultural Studies en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.marsden 370302 Social and Cultural Anthropology en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.marsden 379901 Gender Specific Studies en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Doctoral Thesis en_NZ Anthropology en_NZ Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ Doctoral en_NZ Doctor of Philosophy en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.anzsrcfor 169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified en_NZ

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