LBST 330 — Response Paper #4

All studies undertaken and any concepts a researcher may expand upon will hold a certain viewpoint of the world. Undoubtedly the researcher’s perspective has the ability to alter the audience’s viewpoint in both a conscious and subconscious way. Through this outlook it is clear how research has a prominent social side to it.

In the same way Tuhiwai speaks about how indigenous space has been colonized, some branches of my project that I plan on researching hold normalized conceptions and maintain colonial power in invisible ways. I never realized that this was the case until I read Tuhiwai’s reading which made me aware of the unnoticed colonial biases regarding my research topic. I have chosen to complete a research project all about the concept of happiness and how one may obtain it. Going forward with my project it is vital for me to identify the overlooked pre-conceived ideas I may hold, especially those that conserve colonial power. Doing this will allow me to create a project with minimal bias and multiple perspectives.

One normalized conception surrounding the notion of happiness is that the possession of material goods correlate with happiness.  This notion is a norm to me as I live in North America in the 2000’s. In recent times happiness has been associated with possession of material items when this is not necessarily the case. A major reason as to why this association exists is due to colonial influence. The act of acquiring material goods requires an individual to purchase items which means that they are spending money and therefore, as long as they are buying nationally manufactured goods, they are putting money into the economy and strengthening the foundation of the colony. It is clear that many advertisements on television, social media, etc. promote the acquisition of goods and covertly associate a higher level of happiness with grander and more expensive items.

If my project had influence over government policy it would fall into line with the views of the native local people and other indigenous cultures. A common theme found throughout the majority of indigenous cultures is the large amount of worth put on maintaining a loving and harmonious society with a focus on the individual being one with them self all the while being one with their community and the natural surroundings; undoubtedly, the concept of happiness is quite relevant to this. Establishing a dialogue with the native local people would not be difficult as it would be simple to draw out the parallel consequences of traditional indigenous practices with those coming from implementing happiness practices. For example, the importance of nature within the indigenous cultures can be used to aid in happiness as nature is correlated with improving health and good health is correlated with happiness. What would be difficult is communicating with an individual that does not speak English. Language is a useful vehicle for communicating information and if that is taken away it would definitely provide some difficulty and confusion. A solution to this challenge would be to attempt to communicate through actions or facial expression. Through good communication, my project on the concept of happiness and the values of the local indigenous communities would align quite well.



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