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Title: Creolisation and identity in a neo-colonial setting : the case of Réunion
Author: Medea, F. J. Laurent
ISNI:       0000 0001 3390 8646
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis is a study of the interaction of créolisation and domination with the process of cultural identity formation in Réunion. Réunionese identity remained remarkably stable throughout the era of French rule and laws rather than developing through a succession of alterations from the beginning of setdement. Today, the main difficulty for Réunionese is how to construct a viable identity in the public sphere. The main focus of the study is on the social formation of a cultural and ethnic identity. ‘Métissage’ is confined in this thesis to ethnic and biological crossover while the term ‘syncretism’ is confined to religious crossover. By contrast, créolisation describes a wider social process (including culture and language). Créolisation is seen throughout history and is of a different order to métissage and syncretism, it covers the totality of identity formation as it develops through socio-cultural, economic and political change. Identity is supported by the notion of métissage whereby discrimination is minimised through policies that promote the formation of a peaceful inter-ethnic society. In this context, the culture of the black population, which is the essence of Réunionese identity and by extension of Creole culture and language, becomes devalued. After an opening debate that sets the social and historical contexts in which the conceptual framework of the thesis is mapped out, 1 use a range of case studies of key texts to demonstrate the domination of France through its agents, and the recent resistance to this domination by the local people. Cultural activists now aim to construct in the public sphere the Creole culture and identity formed in the private sphere. The Creole language is the key cultural element in resisting this French domination. The question of identity formation is becoming a concrete reality, with multiple differentiations being played out among the Reunionese through one or more social processes. The research is based on original fieldwork conducted in Réunion and focuses on the analysis of questionnaires that were designed to assertain public opinion. In addition, direct observations were made through attendance over the period of a year In addition, direct observations were made through attendance over the period of a year at workshops organised by cultural movement activists.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Conseil régional de La Réunion ; European Social Fund
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: GN Anthropology