Kiwiburn : the glocalisation of burning man in Aotearoa New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Social Anthropology at Massey University, New Zealand

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Massey University
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This thesis consists of tales, narratives, and anecdotes of Kiwiburners, interpreted through anthropological and philosophical theory. Kiwiburn is a regional Burning Man event hosted in Aotearoa New Zealand. It is the longest-running regional community and event to exist outside of America. In a world that influences and impacts our personal experiences, many often encounter a lack of a sense of belonging. This lacking can, at times, be exacerbated by the fragmentation of cultures worldwide (due to the process of globalisation, pluralisation, and mobility). Kiwiburn’s counterculture is an example of social development in response to such processes or fragmentation. Through doing so, Kiwiburn offers a space in which Burners can embody something meaningful about identity, community, locality, and belonging. Kiwiburners are postmodern neotribal thinkers, fiercely embracing the postmodern elements of such a position, conscious of the transience of all things in the unfixed nature of realities. This position leads to normative frameworks, such as those focused on social norms and reality, being re-evaluated, rejected, restructured, reinterpreted, or repositioned within postmodernist Burner perspectives. Kiwiburners create a reality constructed around communitas, personal agency, and even rebellion. Kiwiburn provides a space where the limitations of broader society can be abandoned and habitus can be embraced. New Zealand has influenced and been influenced by Kiwiburn; at times, this has been achieved through subversion. Kiwiburners often achieve this challenge against the limitations of broader society through humour and a pattern of play. In some cases, this humour is identified through performance and art; sometimes, it is communicated as a form of protest. Ultimately, such practices are collectively shared and understood at Kiwiburn, leading to a sense of belonging being experienced and identified within Burner spaces as well as an example of an expression of New Zealand culture.
kiwiburn, burning man, glocalisation, neotribal carnivalesque, split-habitus, counterculture, postmodernism, spontaneous play, humour and protest, sense of belonging