Between shores : transnational subjects and visual & material culture : selected case studies : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Visual and Material Culture Studies at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

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This thesis explores relationships between material culture and transnational individuals. It discusses how visual and material objects function in the lives of transnational students in helping them adapt to their adopted country and new environment. It highlights what objects can tell us about the impact of the physical process of migration, how they represent people who move across different cultures, and how they relate to the construction of identity and memory. Chapter One ‘Transnationalism and Diaspora’ explicates different transnational typologies, and the different aspects and challenges transnational individuals experience. The following chapter, ‘Material Culture and Transnational Subjects’, represents the study of material culture, how social meaning in objects change across cultures, and the acculturation experience. Finally, three case studies are presented to illustrate how transnational individuals use objects as symbols, memories, and channels to reflect their personal experiences. These case studies demonstrate how objects affect individual psychology. In the summary, I conclude that objects play a particularly important role in the shaping of transnational lives and that interactions between the transnational subject and everyday objects—efforts to sustain previous interactions by continuing to use, make and treasure objects from another place—shape experience across cultural places.
Video (interview) is with the vault copy of this thesis.
Material culture, Transnationals, Transnational identity, Diaspora, Personal belongings, Cultural objects