What is it about?

This article demonstrates the process of layering the personal story alongside the wider historical and social story, and alongside stories of other peoples, through a Critical Family History. As a strategy of decolonization, the stories are interrogated using critical theory. It is one story to make sense of a descendent of white settlers - Pākehā, the descendent of a colonial New Zealander.

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Why is it important?

Making sense of a white settler identity is significant to better understand and disrupt assumptions of a homogeneous white people group. To understand the complexity of identity stories and the wider macro factors that inform our becoming is one way to begin important conversations around privilege, mixedness, and equity.


This was a difficult story to write - interrogating the story of one ancestor and making sense of the ongoing process of colonisation. Using Derrida's concept of hauntology and creatively writing the stories enabled a more authentic and accessible approach to those stories that are difficult to share.

Esther Fitzpatrick
University of Auckland

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This page is a summary of: A Story of Becoming: Entanglement, Settler Ghosts, and Postcolonial Counterstories, Culture Studies &#x2194 Critical Methodologies, September 2017, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/1532708617728954.
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