Pathologies of Violence

Religion and Postcolonial Identity in New Zealand Cinema
  • Janet Wilson
Part of the Religion/Culture/Critique book series (RCCR)


In the essentially nonconformist, secular society of New Zealand in which the “civilizing” culture of Britain has traditionally been only a thin veneer, religion has obtained an uneven purchase, no doubt contributing to the settlers’ sense of “cultural emptiness.”1 Statistics show that church attendance has always been lower than in Australia; and since the “watershed year” of 1967 and increased secularization, observance in mainstream religions has declined, although minority charismatic movements and Pacific Island congregations have been dynamic.2 Social problems associated with the pioneering and settler past in which Christianity played an ambivalent role—being either embraced or ignored—have emerged in the form of aberrant psychologies and pathologies of violence. This is evidenced, for example, in a string of bizarre murders through the twentieth century, in the literary tradition’s preoccupation with the outsider—in which the “Man Alone” motif is the quintessential myth—and marginalization in general, and in the uneasy perception of being excentric, a nation at the edge of the world, all suggest some distortion of social norms.3


Domestic Violence Taboo Word Dysfunctional Family Love Affair Zealand Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© S. Brent Plate 2003

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  • Janet Wilson

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