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Aboriginal agency and marginalisation in Australian society

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Moore, Terry

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Abstract It is often argued that while state rhetoric may be inclusionary, policies and practices may be exclusionary. This can imply that the power to include rests only with the state. In some ways, the implication is valid in respect of Aboriginal Australians. For instance, the Australian state has gained control of Aboriginal inclusion via a singular, bounded category and Aboriginal ideal type. However, the implication is also limited in their respect. Aborigines are abject but also agents in their relationship with the wider society. Their politics contributes to the construction of the very category and type that governs them, and presses individuals to resist state inclusionary efforts. Aboriginal political elites police the performance of an Aboriginality dominated by notions of difference and resistance. The combined processes of governance act to deny Aborigines the potential of being both Aboriginal and Australian, being different and belonging. They maintain Aborigines' marginality.
Keywords rhetoric; practice; ethnic group; ethnicity; Australia; inclusion; social integration; politics; national state; political elite; identity; discourse
Classification Social Problems; Ethnology, Cultural Anthropology, Ethnosociology; Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Free Keywords Aborigines
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
Page/Pages p. 124-135
Journal Social Inclusion, 2 (2014) 3
Issue topic Policing ethnicity: between the rhetoric of inclusion and the policies and practices of exclusion
ISSN 2183-2803
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution