White Privilege: Exploring the (in)visibility of Pakeha whiteness
Thesis DisciplineHuman Services
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Drawing upon critical whiteness theory I examine whiteness and privilege within a New Zealand context, specifically with 15 men and women who self identify as Pakeha. Through in-depth interviews I explore the proposition that the adoption of this identity may preclude an understanding of the ways that whiteness and privilege operate. Employing thematic and discourse analysis, four major themes were identified within the data. The functionality and organisation of language is considered in order to examine participants’ detachment from dominant white culture. The thesis illustrates that the assumption of a Pakeha self identity may allow the bearer to discursively obscure both the cultural capital that whiteness provides and the privileges afforded by this capital. Ultimately, this research draws attention to the intersection of privilege and whiteness within New Zealand, in order to offer one explanation for the persistence of white hegemony.