Abstract

ABSTRACT:

Mauritius is often celebrated as a success story in lay and academic discourse. One version of this discourse highlights Mauritius's success in managing its diversity as a multicultural society. But there are a number of reasons to question this assumption. For instance, some writers have claimed that Mauritius's policy of multiculturalism encourages the promotion of ethnic difference and marginalizes certain minorities (Couacaud 2016, Eisenlohr 2006, Vaughan 2001). In this paper, however, I propose to go further and argue that Mauritius's policy of multiculturalism not only promotes ethnic difference and marginalizes certain minorities. It has also led to what one could describe as the "fetishization of ethnic difference." I propose to demonstrate this by discussing how material religious practices act as signs of ethnic difference in everyday life, using ethnographic observations and visual documentation methods for these purposes. Examples cited in the paper include the material culture of temple architecture, religious street-processions, garden shrines, homes, workplaces, and vehicles.

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