Current State of Small Systems in Virginia

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Literature review

The current thesis consists of two types of analyses, one theoretical contained in the first part of the thesis, and one empirical contained in the second part of the thesis.
The first type of analysis consists of a theoretical argument based on a review of existing literature about the three cores concepts of return migration, place and identity, and already published case studies, taking an interdisciplinary approach by demonstrating the three concepts’ interlinkages. Each chapter concludes with a section that links the theory to the case study of Māori return migration.
In line with the humanistic paradigm, the various contexts within which Māori return migration took place are highlighted through the inclusion of a theoretical analysis of indigenism on global scale, of the Māori renaissance derived from literature as well as first hand information by returnees on national scale, and, on local scale, by the Muriwhenua land claim sourced predominantly from first hand accounts by returnees as well as two tribal elders as key informants. Additional information derived from official websites and publications may be included in the main body as well as in the appendices.
Linking individual and collective phenomena and contexts at various levels of inclusiveness is achieved through the application of Social Identity Theory (SIT), which provides a tried and confirmed theoretical framework for linking individual cognitive processes to collective phenomena while stressing the wider social context of intergroup relations (Tajfel, Jaspers & Fraser, 1984). In so doing, SIT does justice to Māori conceptions of identity which are based on individuals’ microcosms on the one hand, and on the macrocosm of Māori culture (Royal, 1999) on the other. SIT furthermore represents an approach similar to Māori approaches for the investigation of phenomena which are based on the principle of whakapapa (genealogy, lineage) for the organisation of information into a coherent form by stressing relationships between phenomena and their dependency on more than one antecedent phenomenon (Royal, 1999). According to the latter, the researcher is drawn out to a wider picture rather than drawn in to a smaller focus until a comprehensive picture emerges that may connect to other phenomena generated by the same principle based on whakapapa (Royal, 1999).
The second type of analysis is based on the collection and analysis of field data derived from interviews of informants who had returned just prior to data gathering


After a method section detailing recruitment methods and analyses, summaries of informants’ characteristics both in written as well as in table format are provided. The variables which describe the sample are derived from existing literature on return migration to include returnees’ destination places, age of return, qualification and pre-return employment, post-return employment, and problems encountered upon a return, resulting in ‘bundled individual biographies’ as suggested by Hägerstrand (1975 cited in Chapman, 1985, p. 4) as a suitable method for the investigation of the complex phenomenon of return migration.
The order in which informants are presented reflects a logical progress starting with two prospective returnees, followed by a returned family as described by a close family member. Summaries about first-hand interviewees are then presented in random order. The list is concluded by a summary of an adamant non-returnee. Full transcriptions of interviews and notes taken during informal conversations with returnees about their returns appear in appendix 10 in the same order as in the table. With the exception of the published interviews of two prospective returnees, informants’ names and other information that may allow for identification have been omitted for privacy reasons.
The main body of the discussion (Chapters 7, 8, 9 and 10) aims at linking findings of the interviews to the previous theoretical argument through the application of Social Identity Theory (SIT), while analysing the core question of why informants had returned, were planning to, or refused to return within their respective contexts.
Summaries of main and additional motives as well as returnees’ contexts are presented in Chapter 7 in table as well as written format. While some informants were able to cite their return motives very clearly, others found it difficult to answer the question.
First discussed are those two informants who could identify their reasons for returning (informant 2) or not returning (informant 9) clearly. After discussing their individual viewpoints separately, accounts of those informants who were grouped as returning or intending to return predominantly for cultural reasons are discussed jointly in Chapter The discussion about informant 8 is presented as the link with the next broad group of informants who returned predominantly for family related reasons (Chapter 9) as her return motives could be interpreted as cultural as well as family related ones.
Because in none of the cases was there just one single return motive or event, but combinations, main motives are not discussed separately, but together with additional ones, while putting the return experience into the returnee’s immediate and wider social, economic and political context. Themes that emerge from more than one informant are discussed together and summarised at the end of the chapter. Additional valuable points raised by the informants based on observation of other returnees are discussed subsequently (Chapter 10) before findings are related to research questions as spelt out in section 1.1.
Nine Māori returnees were interviewed by the researcher at their homes or their offices between December 2000 and February 2003. Out of these, five interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed. In four cases a recording was deemed inappropriate or impractical. In the latter cases (informants 5, 6, and 7), impromptu discussions arose throughout the daily routine during the researcher’s stay with the family, or, in one case (informant 4), information was gathered parallel to a recorded interview (with informant 3) in another room. Non-recorded information about the parallel interview as well as through participant observation as suggested by Cohen and Gold (1997) of the returned host family was written in note form immediately after or during the returnee’s account. Although the accounts centre on the informants’ personal experiences, there are occasional references to others’ return experiences.
Informants were recruited using the snowball technique starting with an acquainted family who had returned to Northland (informants 5, 6, and 7). The snowball technique was not only a suitable recruitment method in light of missing regional and national information databases about returnees but it also provided an appropriate technique that did justice to Māori introductory practices based on word-of-mouth references by already acquainted persons. An announcement by the host family (informants 5 and 6) opened the doors of informants 3 and 4 as well as informant 8.
Informant 8 in turn facilitated contacts with the two kaumātuas who were subsequently interviewed about the Muriwhenua land claim. Informant 2 was located with the help of informant 1 who was brought to the researcher’s attention during the theoretical preparation for the paper and subsequently contacted, while informant 9 was approached personally at university.
The conducted interviews were semi-structured focusing on informants’ motives for a return or non-return. Semi-structured interviews were chosen to unravel the phenomenon ‘in depth and to uncover the complex and multi-layered nature of the return migration process and decision’ (King, 2000, p. 18). Informants were encouraged to tell their story as freely as they wished, allowing for complex and potentially very personal motives to be addressed subtly (King, 2000) and additional motives from observation of other returnees mentioned. Only occasionally were there interruptions to follow up on valuable points and contextual information such as problems encountered, job-related aspects, destinations and wider political or social considerations.
Two additional interviews of prospective returnees (Brenda Burt and Nin Thomas) were taken from a written source (Metro, 1984) for discussion, to contrast with returnees’ experiences, and in order to provide a more comprehensive account of the phenomenon of Māori return migration. Although the two published interviews were conducted some fifteen years prior to the other interviews, the time of their publication corresponds to the time of return as described by informant 1 and to the time when the phenomenon of Māori return migration came to prominence in New Zealand as part of the ‘idealism’ (Rata, 2000) that was associated with the Māori renaissance. As such, they are typical examples of the rhetoric at the time.
The interviews were not aimed at being representative of the entire population of Māori returnees and no random, systematic or stratified sampling was attempted. Instead, informants’ personal testimonies, as suggested by Benmayor and Skotness (1994), aim at providing in-depth accounts of individuals’ decision making while linking personal decisions to the contexts within which they took shape. In line with the social constructivist approach, the current investigation focuses on provisional rather than essential patterns of meaning, emphasising local and personal rather than universal meanings and providing input for practical utility and application.
Despite its small size, the sample of key informants covers a range of experiences by Māori returnees, one non-returnee and two prospective returnees of different ages and backgrounds, demonstrating the complexity of Māori return migration.
Interviews are analysed qualitatively and informants’ return decisions are linked to the various personal, political, economic and social contexts within which they took shape through the application of SIT in an effort to uncover the dynamics of territorial identity, as suggested by Tonkinson (1985)


Sample – Summary of informants’ characteristics

Informants’ characteristics varied in relation to their destination place, age of return, pre- and post return employment, motives and problems encountered.
The concept of ‘home’ is applied in the wider sense and takes on different meanings as evident in the informants’ destination places which include second- as well as same-generation returns. Second generation returns are described by the two prospective returnees as returns to ‘family land’, which is not further specified. Specified second generation returns are to the mother’s birthplace as described by informant 1 and to the place where the father had been raised (informant 7). First generation returns are to the very place where the returnee had been born and raised (informant 4) or raised but not born (informants 2,6 and 8), where the husband had been raised but not born (informants 5) or where the husband had been raised and born (informant 3).
Ages of returnees span all age groups: Although only referred to by actual informants, the youngest were the grandchild of informant 2 at toddler age and the young children (pre-schoolers) of the two prospective returnees as well as those (primary school-aged children) of the young family as described by informant 1. The youngest actual informant had returned with her parents in her late teens after finishing school (informant 7). There were several young parents, including the two prospective returnees, the daughter of informant 2 and those described by informant 1. Informant 8 was in her mid-forties, informant 2 in her late forties, and informants 4, 5, 6 and 7 in their sixties while the study’s non-returnee was in her 50s.
Qualifications and pre-return employment also varied: two informants (2 and 8) returned with tertiary degrees, while the non-returnee also has a tertiary qualification. Informants 3, 4, 5 and 6 as well as the two prospective returnees were qualified and held senior positions prior to their returns or their planned returns. Returnees as described by informant 1 were unemployed prior to their return without information regarding their qualification, and informant 7 returned with her parents immediately after school, but was in the process of gaining a computer related qualification during the time of the field research.
In most cases, returnees were overqualified for their post-return employment which included seasonal work (informant 5), unemployment, occasional work and truck driver (informant 6), relief teacher/secretary (informant 8), occasional jobs and bus driver (informant 4), communal and unpaid work (informant 3), while returnee 7 worked in seasonal jobs during her computer training. Informant 2 returned to her pre-departure position as a manageress, and only in the case described by informant 1 was there significant improvement from pre-return unemployment to self-employed entrepreneur. Post-return employment is not specified in the case of the two prospective returnees and the non-returnee.
The economically successful return case described by informant 1, however, was not without problems as the family had to work much harder than expected to achieve self-employment, and accept family fall-outs and disappointment regarding the communal lifestyle they had anticipated. Disappointment also dampened the return experience of informants 3 and 4 who struggled to gain acceptance and approval by the local community. For informants 5 and 6 the post-return problematic were initial financial insecurities while informant 7 ran into ‘trouble’ during the adjustment phase of her urban lifestyle to a rural one. Informant 8 struggled with bureaucracy and permits, but was happy to exchange her urban financially secure lifestyle for a ‘poor’ rural one. Informant 2 did not encounter post-return problems

1.1 Current State of Small Systems in VirginiaAims and research questions
1.2 Study location – Muriwhenua lands
1.3 Timing
1.4 Chapter outline
2.1 Literature review
2.2 Interviews
2.3 Summary and conclusion
3.1 Introduction
3.2 History
3.3 Problems for the study of return migration
3.4 Research methods
3.5 Recent approaches and topics
3.6 Impact of return and problems of re-integration
3.7 Motives for a return
3.8 Return and identity
3.9 Identity, the myth of return and Diaspora studies.
3.10 Ethnic return
3.11 Destination places
3.12 Māori return migration – ‘Te hokinga mai’ .
3.13 Summary and conclusion
Chapter 4 PLACE
4.1 Introduction.
4.2 Social Construction Theory
4.3 Place in Humanistic Geography.
4.4 Concepts for the study of ‘place’
Chapter 5 IDENTITY
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Ethnic movements and indigenism
5.3 Ethnicity – ethnic group – ethnic identity.
5.4 Ethnicity reporting and measuring ethnicity.
5.5 The politics of ethnicity
5.7 Place identity
5.8 Māori identity
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Social mobility and social change
6.3 Māori renaissance – national context for the case study
6.4 Māori prototype
6.5 Indigenous identity formation in relation to place
6.6 Group identity based on a distant place
6.7 Motivation for indigenous group identification based on place
6.8 Prototype and place-related behaviours
6.9 Distant prototyp
6.10 Return as prototypical behaviour
6.11 Summary and conclusion
7.1 Regional context of field study – Muriwhenua land claim
7.2 Summary of return motives
7.3 Clear motives and secure sense of Māori identity
7.4 Summary and conclusion
8.1 Context
8.2 Lack of Māori identity and ‘lost’ Māoris
8.3 Problems associated with the lack of a Māori identity and negative stereotype
8.4 Sense of anger and deprivation.
8.5 Assertion of indigenous Māori identity
8.6 The changing context of Māori group identification
8.7 Motivation for choosing Māori group membership
8.8 Ancestral place of origin – tūrangawaewae
8.9 Re-identification and rejection of non-Māori identities
8.10 Rewards and salvation through Māori identity
8.13 Sense of nostalgia about a romanticised past and unrealistic expectations
9.1 Family motivated returns
9.2 Regular return visits.
9.3 The wish to return
9.4 Destination places of family motivated returns
9.5 Context and trigger for actual return.
9.6 Disappointment and problems associated with family related returns .
10.1 Return motives
10.2 Problems and benefits associated with returns
10.3 Destinations.
10.4 Summary and conclusion
11.2 Place – Summary and conclusion
11.3 Identity – summary and conclusion
11.4 Research questions revisited

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