Victoria University

Stargazers' Anonymous: an Examination of Amateur Astronomy in New Zealand

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dc.contributor.advisor Levine, Hal Howe, Brian 2009-10-29T00:11:29Z 2009-10-29T00:11:29Z 2009 2009 2009
dc.description.abstract In this examination of amateur astronomy in New Zealand, I suggest that astronomical science can be a medium through which adherents attempt to enact social transformation. Contemporary studies of leisure often emphasise the individualistic nature of leisure activity, with social interaction framed as a means to support the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations of participants. However, while amateur astronomers do engage in 'serious leisure' (Stebbins, 1979, 1992), I suggest their extended roles as educators and liaisons for professional counterparts push their endeavour beyond mere participation and into wider territories of public engagement and scientific discourse. Following analysis by Ruonavaara (1997), Rojek (1985, 2000), MacCannell (1976), Urry (1990) and Turner (1969), I argue that the New Zealand astronomical community's' proclivity for education operates as a forum for constructing recursive and normative action, in which ideologies congruent with scientific rationalism are disseminated through a form of moral regulation. Commencing with a discussion of the structure of New Zealand's astronomical community, I examine how informants' narratives and attitudes to contributive participation manifest in demonstrative actions that provide idealised templates for behaviour. Secondly, I discuss astronomy and public education, and how astronomical society volunteers utilise visitors' expectations of authenticity and perceptions of nature to formulate strategies for social change. Finally, I investigate the role and purpose of other astronomyrelated ventures, including Carterton's Stonehenge Aotearoa, culminating in a discussion concerning issues of knowledge, science and postmodernist deconstructionism. en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.subject Astronomy en_NZ
dc.subject Leisure en_NZ
dc.subject Anthropology en_NZ
dc.title Stargazers' Anonymous: an Examination of Amateur Astronomy 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.type.vuw Awarded Research Masters Thesis en_NZ Anthropology en_NZ Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ Master's en_NZ Master of Arts en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.anzsrcfor 169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified en_NZ

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