Narrative and Identity Construction in the Pacific Islands

Edited by Farzana Gounder


Comprising of more than twenty five percent of the world’s known languages, the Pacific is considered to be the most linguistically diverse region in the world. What unifies the region is the culture of storytelling, which provides a fundamental means for perpetuating cultural knowledge across generations. The volume brings together linguists, literary theorists, anthropologists and historians to explore the Pacific peoples’ constructions of identities through narrative. Chapters are organized under three themes: fine grained analysis at the storyworld level, the interactional context of narrative telling, and finally, the interconnections between narrative and cultural memory. The volume reflects the Pacific region’s rich linguistic and cultural diversity, with discussions on the narrativization patterns in Australian and New Zealand English, Palmerston Island and Pitkern-Norfl’k English, Fiji Hindi, Hawaiian, Samoan, Solomon Island Pidgin, the Australian Aboriginal languages Jaminjung and Kriol, the Micronesian languages Mortlockese and Guam Chamorros, and the Vanuatuan languages Auluan, Neverver and Sa.

Book can be ordered from

ISBN 9789027249340


Marsen, S. (2017). Farzana Gounder (ed.), Narrative and identity construction in the Pacific Islands. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2015. Pp. xvi, 260. Pb. $149. Language in Society46(2), 277-279. DOI: 10.1017/S0047404517000124

Musolff, A. (2016). Narrative and identity construction in the Pacific Islands: edited by Farzana Gounder. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 37(8), 862-871. DOI: 10.1080/01434632.2016.1173878

Indentured Identities: Resistance and Accommodation in Plantation-Era Fiji

By Farzana Gounder
Indentured Identities Farzana Gounder

This book explores the historical dimension of Indian indenture from within the lived experience of laborers, who emigrated to Fiji from colonial India a century ago. As these laborers are no longer alive, one could argue that the experience of indenture is no longer accessible, if there had not been recordings of the laborers’ life narratives. It is seven of these audio recordings, made for public broadcast, which form the data for a fine-grained language-analysis to unearth the life-world of indenture. Through the merging of Labov’s high-point analysis with Bamberg’s positioning analysis, the book focuses on the situated discursive performativity of identities, and draws attention to the complex and at times conflicting positions within the life narratives. Sorting through those positions resulted in the ultimate challenge to the essentially homogenizing current master narrative discourse on who can be classified as an indentured laborer, and what signifies as an indenture experience.

Book can be ordered from

ISBN 978 90 272 2655 6


Nicole, R. (2014). Indentured Identities: resistance and accommodation in plantation-era Fiji. Journal of Pacific History, 49(1), 124-125. DOI: 10.1080/00223344.2013.876889

Tupas, T. R. F. (2013). Farzana Gounder. Indentured Identities: Resistance and Accommodation in Plantation‐Era Fiji. Amsterdam, The Netherlands/Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: John Benjamins Publishing Company. 2011. 345 pp. Hb (9789027226556) $158.00. Journal of Sociolinguistics17(2), 264-266. DOI: 10.1111/josl.12032

Feryok, A. (2012). Indentured identities: Resistance and accommodation in plantation-era Fiji [Book Review]. Te Reo55(1), 75-77.