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|Title:||No Place for Self: Rethinking Indigenous malaise in Neo-liberal Political Economy|
Department of Anthropology
|Abstract:||There are widespread crises in Aboriginal society, evidenced by dysfunctional communities trapped in a paralysing malaise. The reasons cannot be adequately explained by legacies of colonisation, government neglect, misguided policies, or prevailing attitudes within Australia‟s mainstream society. Although past government policies of assimilation and faux‟ self-determination, as well as enduring community prejudices, have stymied Indigenous prospects and ensured the marginalisation of many Indigenous people consigned to chronic socio-economic disadvantage, these do not adequately account for what is occurring in contemporary Indigenous Australia. Numerous anthropologists and other social scientists have focused on the confounding effects of government policy, historical legacy, and the conditions of modernity, but there is no unanimous agreement as to what is causing the acuteness of the social malaise. There is validity in distinguishing the variations of opportunity and lifestyles associated with geographic locality but, broadly speaking, Indigenous communities Australia-wide have, over the past three decades, experienced an escalating deterioration in community and individual well-being that has similar expressions and, I will argue, similar origins. The complex and compounding effects of the contributing external drivers, combined with the interplay of coping responses and cultural determinates within Indigenous cultures, means that clearly identifying singular causal links is not an adequate way to advance understandings of what exactly is going on. What is, however, common to all Indigenous communities is the political economy of which they are part. Though there is no shortage of discussion and community angst, little attention has been paid to the political economy of which Aboriginal people are a part, even by anthropologists directly examining the present social malaise. I take the position that distinctive characteristics of the neo-liberal order that currently characterises Australia‟s political economy, which has influenced policy direction and governance, has contributed to a major dislocation in the ways Indigenous people reproduce meaningful social identities and practices.|
|Department/Unit/Centre:||Department of Anthropology|
|Appears in Collections:||Honours Theses - Department of Anthropology|
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