The Immeasurability of Racial and Mixed Identity in Mauritius



A number of globally recognized scholars have investigated the issue of race and ‘mixed’ identities in the island society of Mauritius. The island is culturally diverse, making the subject of identity fascinating and its definition elusive. This chapter discusses contemporary identity in Mauritius and attempts to engage with the notion of ‘mixed racial’ identities, taking care to not reify race and thereby deepen negative stereotypes. The argument offered is that identity is diversely situated and differently constituted. Identity is not always ‘made’ in the context of conscious intercultural communication. Instead, identity is perceived as experience mediated via a diversity of stimuli. It is proposed that we look ‘beneath the surface’ to the lived experiences of Mauritians and their interaction with the sea, to perceive alternative ways in which identity is constituted and experienced. From this, a new perspective on ‘race’ and ‘mixed identities’ in Mauritius can be reached.


Mauritius Identity Race Sea Ethnicity 


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of ArtsNelson Mandela UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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