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The Tourist State

Performing Leisure, Liberalism, and Race in New Zealand

2011
Author:

Margaret Werry

The Tourist State

Examining the role of performance in state-making

Addressing the embodied dimensions of biopolitics and exploring the collision of race, performance, and the cultural poetics of the state, Margaret Werry exposes the real drama behind the new New Zealand. Weaving together interpretive history, performance ethnography, and cultural criticism, Werry offers new ways to think about race and indigeneity—and about the role of human agency in state-making.

The Tourist State is a substantial work of theatrical insight and applied critical theory. It approaches the theoretical sublime, showing rich learning and originality in scaled and shrewd ways.

Rob Wilson, University of California, Santa Cruz

No longer the dreary sheep farm at the end of the world, the New Zealand of the new millennium is a hot global ticket, heralded for its bicultural dynamism, laid-back lifestyle, and scenery extraordinary enough to pass for Tolkien’s Middle Earth. How this image was crafted is the story The Tourist State tells. In a series of narratives that address the embodied dimensions of biopolitics and explore the collision of race, performance, and the cultural poetics of the state, Margaret Werry exposes the real drama behind the new New Zealand, revealing how a nation was sold to the world—and to itself.

The story stretches back to the so-called Liberal Era at the beginning of the twentieth century, in which the young settler colony touted itself as the social laboratory of the world. Focusing on where tourism and liberal governmentality coincide, The Tourist State takes us from military diplomacy at the dawn of the American Pacific to the exotic blandishments of Broadway and Coney Island, from landscape preservation to health reform and town planning, from blockbuster film to knowledge economy policy.

Weaving together interpretive history, performance ethnography, and cultural criticism, Werry offers new ways to think about race and indigeneity—and about the role of human agency in state-making.

The Tourist State

Margaret Werry is associate professor of theatre arts and dance at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

The Tourist State

The Tourist State is a substantial work of theatrical insight and applied critical theory. It approaches the theoretical sublime, showing rich learning and originality in scaled and shrewd ways.

Rob Wilson, University of California, Santa Cruz

An empirically rich and theoretically sophisticated account of Maori involvement in tourism, and of the place of tourism as a sphere for the production, or "performance" in Werry's terms, of the liberal state itself. The book also offers fuel for thought for readers interested in the politics of recognition in relation to colonialism and Indigenous peoples. Werry's book is a real pleasure to read: her ability to startle with an unusual but perfect word, the precision of her writing and her ability to maintain the performance focus throughout are always gripping.

Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History

With a robust and consistent use of theory and a scope that is wide ranging and probing, she deftly crosses multiple historiographies in producing a work that should be of intense interest to a diverse array of scholars, including those interested in empire and postcolonialism, performance, liberal statehood and nationalism, tourism, race and postracialism, and film. The Tourist State should further attract readers for its fascinatingly unique theoretical basis. Werry. . . shows us the elemental continuities between the world of liberal, imperial nationalism and neoliberal, postcolonial biculturalism.

H-Net Reviews

Werry’s book is an ambitious achievement that will be of value to scholars of theatre and performance studies, postcolonial and transnational theorists, cultural historians, cultural geographers, and tourism scholars. Evocatively illustrated throughout and containing a helpful glossary of common Maori-language terms, The Tourist State successfully recounts “good stories” about little-investigated aspects of New Zealand’s history in ways that are intellectually satisfying, engaging, and memorable.

Theatre Survey

The Tourist State

Contents

Note on Orthography
Introduction: Toward a Performance Theory of the State

1. The State of Nature: Governmentality, Biopoetics, Sensation
2. The Class Act of Guide Maggie: Cosmopolitesse, Publics, and Participatory Anthropology
3. Translation, Transnation: Theatrical Politics and Political Theater in the American Pacific
4. Trafficking Race: Policy, Property, and Racial Reformation in the Tourist State
5. Altered States: Global Hollywood, the Rise of Wellywood, and the Moving Image of Race
Conclusion: Living in a Tourist State

Acknowledgments
Notes
Glossary
Index