Hope you are all having a great Easter break – and that your assignments are going well 🙂

Our week was cut short by the holidays, so ANZAC Day dominated the discussion.

While you are working on your ANZAC assignments, keep a few things in mind . In class we discussed the relationship between structuring forces in society & culture and individual agency. Emamber has a blog post that is pertinent to the balance between the two – and relates well to an issue that has arisen regarding your approach to the assignment.   Emamber is writing about Geertz’s thick description and says he

…places a lot of emphasis on culture being defined as public meanings, not just individual and personal meanings. Particular actions can be so personal and meaningful to an individual but to the public may mean absolutely nothing.

Many of you have posted about ANZAC day and your ideas for your assignment.  There has been a lot of attention to sacrifice, remembrance and the emotions that emerge throughout the course of ANZAC day.  You’re correct to note that the emotional side of the experience is important, but don’t get drawn into talking at length about your own emotions.  The focus should be on the public meanings, not the personal meanings.  Most New Zealanders have a personal history or story intertwined with ANZAC day, but this isn’t what the assignment is about.  The important thing for this assignment is to think beyond the level of the individual – think about groups (NZ as a nation or a particular group within NZ, for example) and the role of shared or public meaning in ANZAC day as a political ritual.  So, just remember to keep your focus on the social, the cultural, the shared, the public.

And while we’re on the subject of ANZAC Day, two posts provide useful links & info, while Alison71 writes about finding her great-grandfather’s war journals and another blogger posts a quick history of the ANZAC biscuit and her assignment ideas.  Also, ANZAC Day and the notion of a New Zealand identity gets discussed along with the role of parades, complete with video.