Historically, a variety of meanings have been attached in the social sciences to the word ‘violence’, including its association and sometimes conflation with other words like conflict, aggression, warfare, coercion, hostility, antagonism, and so on. It is therefore pertinent at this point to examine this range of ideas in terms of their historical representations and to clarify how and what aspects of violence will be interrogated here. When Georges Sorel wrote his “Reflections on Violence” at the turn of the 20th centuryhe was writing about the ‘natural’ role that violence had in the functioning of society, especially in times of class revolutions. In particular he

described situations where “… important strikes, accompanied by violence take place” and the function of violence was seen in “maintaining the division between the

conflict and hostility within groups as having a positive function, both in establishing internal cohesion, and in adjusting power relationships in response to new conditions as a kind of feed-back mechanism, that allows a social structure to survive. Collins (1941[2009]) was concerned with the way that violence is organised in society, and its justification, including all sorts of issues around property and people. Violence in this sense could be warfare, threats, coercion, or physical violence. The social group or sub-group can thus mobilise state power in ways that enforce their own demands in a conflict. Daniel Bar-Tal(2003: 92, 79) describes how groups can develop ‘cultures of conflict’ where the formation of a collective memory or shared experience of physical violence serves to bond members together emotionally and contributes to group identity. The social system can “provide the rationales… for the violence… train individuals to carry out violent acts, and… glorify… violent confrontations.” Osman and Lee (in Kutash & Kutash, 1978: 68) also, are interested in the social system aspect of violence, conflict and aggression, although, in contrast to Sorel and Coser, they say that “aggression or violence imply an undesirable social phenomenon”. They advocate (with Chandler, 1973) that the legitimation of violence in social systems is an issue that needs to be examined, and there is a need to define what violence is. Chandler describes it as “any non-legitimised application of force” (ibid.). Furthermore, Osman and Lee say that legitimation would require some form of consensus, such as that of a culture or institution, and a minimum of three view points; the initiator, the victim and the audience (ibid: 61). Although this thesis does not emphasise the ‘systems’

approach espoused by those authors, an effort has been made in assessing the violent incidents described, to include the three viewpoints where possible. Additionally, the thesis will evaluate the incidents from different cultural standpoints than just the one culture or institution envisioned by Osman and Lee. Thus for Sorel, Coser, Collins, Chandler, Osman & Lee, violence is a social phenomenon – a behavioural thing – with social functions and outcomes. Osman & Lee infer that it is behaviour against a person, and is subject to some kind of judgement by members of a group or society. This is not very different from Riches’ definition “… an act of physical hurt deemed legitimate by the performer, and illegitimate by (some) witnesses” (1986: 8).

Newton Garver’s essay (1968) takes a different approach by seeking the origin of the word. Garver acknowledges that violence is generally deplored, but that there is a spectrum of value judgements about this deploring, depending upon whether it is judged as being for or against the status quo. He therefore approaches the definition

neutrally, through the word-origin, which is from Latin via French. The key roots are ‘vis’ (force) and ‘violare’, that have “the sense of to carry force at or toward”, which Garver points out, is a way of violating something, and “violence in human affairs comes down to violating persons”. This can be done personally or by institutional systems such as slavery; it can be overt or covert, and property can be an extension of a person, since in a physical or social sense it is a product of his/her labour (ibid: 173, 179, 183). If the violence is covert, there may be no audience, so Osman and Lee’s triad would not hold. Schmidt & Schröder point out that this situation would still be violent but would have no social meaning because there is no audience to witness the performance (2001: 6). It seems however, that if a witness experiences the aftermath of the performance it would still be a performance and would certainly have social meaning with perhaps more possibilities for meaning than if a witness had been present. Many violent sequences develop meaning via social imaginaries and

constructions because of this. Garver’s Western interpretation of the word ‘violence’ is the definition taken here as a baseline for comparison, but to accommodate the purposes of this thesis, it is necessary to acknowledge that in Māori and other Polynesian societies the culturally understood concept of a person is (or was at the time being examined) ontologically different from the European one. As with the English word ‘violence’, if we take the Māori language as a Polynesian example there are, similarly, multiple contextual and metaphorical meanings and word varieties to convey the idea of violation/violence and its connection with cultural schemas13 of personhood. These various Māori words show some equivalences with the English words, but also convey the ontological differences which Māori have (and had) with the tauiwi (foreigners) – now known as pākeha – who came to inhabit their land.

The same is true of the Giriama people of Kenya whom David Parkin (1986) has studied. Parkin, advocates that “insights into English notions [of violence can be] produced through examining the ethnography of an African society”, and points out the metaphorical extensions of the English word including damaging someone’s reputation. He also highlights Copet-Rougier’s insights from the French language which allow inclusion of invisible things like witchcraft or “metaphysical desecration” as forms of violence acknowledged by the Giriama (in Riches, 1986: 204, 212-218). All this of course suggests that ontological differences in the understanding of what constitutes violence are reflected linguistically, not only in English, but also in French and Giriama. I shall therefore proceed to show how this phenomenon can also be seen

to hold true for the Māori language and can be used to help interpret the behaviour and responses of Māori persons during the transaction events to be interpreted here. Ryan’s Dictionary of Modern Māori (1983) gives two words each for ‘violent’ and ‘violence’ and three for ‘violate’. They and their meanings are respectively:

Violent – tūkino, taikaha; violence – tutū, āinga; violate – takahi, pāwhera (of a woman – rape, lit. to split open); whakanoa (of tapu). The authoritative text for traditional usage, which employs old sayings and oral literature as examples, is the Williams dictionary (1985 [1844]). It has been used here to clarify proper usage and meanings of all words related to the current European terms that Garver has used. This provides a view of traditional Māori conceptions of violence and its associated terms. Williams’ gives the meanings as follows:

tūkino – to ill-treat/use with violence/cause distress, as in the expression: “ Treat an old man violently and you will kill him with the stress”(“ E koro tukino, e koro mate i te whakatoitoi” (Williams, 1985: 450).

taikaha – violent, impetuous, persistent.

tutū– to fight with, be vehement/persistent/ insubordinate, to be ignited (as in fire), to be hit/wounded, as in the expression: “ Wounded by the spear of Hatopatu”(“ Kua tū i te tao o Hatupatu” (Williams, 1985: 380).

āinga – (derived from ‘ā’) violence/driving force, referring to natural forces like sea and wind, as in the expression: “The descent to the sea is slippery across the grasses, from the violence of the wind ”(“I te wa e rere ai te kano o te perehia i te āinga a te hau ki te moana” (Williams, 1985: 5).

takahi – this word has a great number of uses, all related to trampling with the feet (the most non-tapu part of the body). Most of the usages Williams lists indicate that this implies a lack of respect for what or whomever is being trampled, which may extend from a tapu place or person, ravishing a woman, being disobedient or rude, exceeding one’s welcome as a visitor, trampling on land to establish possession, performing a ceremony to produce water, or trampling on something to hold or catch it (Williams, 1985: 367).

Reflecting upon these variations in meaning of the Māori words associated with violence, violent actions and violation; there is a surprising equivalence with Garvey’s investigations of the Latin roots of the corresponding English words. There is the feeling of action, of driving force, and of harm to a person (directly or by pushing them to carry out actions they are incapable of) – or to things belonging to the person.

There is even the notion of legitimacy, in the sense that for Māori, legitimacy is known as tikanga (what is right by customary rule). However, within the range of meanings allowed by Pei Jones, Apirana Ngata, Merimeri Penfold, Bruce Biggs et al. in the Williams dictionary, there is a presence of references to the idea of intrusion on the integrity of the other – not necessarily only of a physical nature – to the violence of natural forces, and of the ontological connections of people to them and to the land. Through violating the land, tapu things, places, or actions, one is violating, or being violent towards persons, and this is showing disrespect for their mana. Now since tapu and mana are metaphysical and not material things or persons, a similarity is starting to emerge with the matters described by Parkin (ibid.) in connection with his Giriama people. Furthermore the Māori form of witchcraft is much the same, in that mākutu was considered capable of achieving a range of outcomes from reducing a person or group’s capacity to act, to causing sickness or death. All of these were feared as forms of violence, and suitable rituals were needed to counteract them. Like the Giriama witchcraft described by Parkin, this highlights not only the differing world-views, but gives cause for reflection upon whether any of these meanings might usefully be included in the English definition of violence as it was understood and practised at the time of the early New Zealand and Pacific events which I am investigating. If

Garver’s definition of violence “ violating persons… or their things” which are "extensions of themselves” is combined with the metaphysical components described by Parkin, then violence can actually be equated with theft: towards a person’s wellbeing, integrity, relationships, ownership, status and so on. Hence, conversely, theft is a form of violence in the sense that Garver and Parkin define it. These

ontological issues will be raised later in Chapter three where Māori epistemologies are discussed at length and in Chapters eight and nine where the concepts are applied. One or more of these varieties of theft form an integral part of nearly all the

transactional case studies that appear in the following chapters. Whether or not these issues are the same now as they were in the time, about which this thesis is written, will also be interrogated in Chapter eight.

In document Between people and things: understanding violence and theft in early New Zealand transactions (Page 44-48)

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