Reading between the lines: Identity issues in Kanak narratives and the agency of the storyteller

Catherine O'Connell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The repeal of l'indigénat in 1946 gave the Kanak all the rights associated with French citizenship. However, for many years afterwards, there was growing unrest that came to a head with les événements of the 1980s, when the proindependence groups clashed violently with government forces. This violence led to the signing, first, of the Matignon Accords in 1988 and the Noumea Accord in 1998. The Noumea Accord has set in motion the gradual and irreversible transfer of administrative powers to the colony under the supervision of the United Nations Decolonization Programme, culminating in a referendum (by 2018) to determine ultimate independence from France. It is critically important that the New Caledonians arrive at a functional model for such an arrangement and so, predictably, the practicalities involved have stimulated much discussion at all levels of society. Narratives are an important resource, allowing the reader to better understand cultural values and problems. Using ideas derived from critical discourse analysis, this article examines the emerging discussions in the literature written since the signing of the Accord, focusing in particular on a selection of works by Kanak authors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-79
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Francophone Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • decolonization
  • destin commun
  • identity
  • independence
  • Kanak
  • New Caledonia
  • postcolonialism


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