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I NDIGENOUS POLICY PERCEPTIONS : AN ANALYSIS OF PARLIAMENTARY H ANSARD FROM 1961-2012 Juliet Checketts Social Anthropology PhD student.

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Presentation on theme: "I NDIGENOUS POLICY PERCEPTIONS : AN ANALYSIS OF PARLIAMENTARY H ANSARD FROM 1961-2012 Juliet Checketts Social Anthropology PhD student."— Presentation transcript:

1 I NDIGENOUS POLICY PERCEPTIONS : AN ANALYSIS OF PARLIAMENTARY H ANSARD FROM Juliet Checketts Social Anthropology PhD student

2 M ETHOD Immersed reading and critical analysis of parliamentary debates: Assimilation policy:  20 th April 1961 House of Representatives Northern Territory Emergency Response:  7 th August 2007 House of Representatives  13 th, 14 th, 15 th,16 th August 2007 Senate Stronger Futures:  27 th February 2012 House of Representatives  21 st March, 9 th May, 28 th June 2012 Senate

3 P ERCEPTIONS IN P ARLIAMENTARY D EBATES Culture has negative/barrier aspects to it Cultural difference, is problematic and must be eliminated or modified. Ideas of the ‘good life’ Ultimately of western orientation including values, beliefs, and norms. Perceptions establish a ‘Regime of Truth’: a discourse that is spoken of as fact and represented at ‘truth’.

4 P ERCEPTION 1: D IFFERENCE AND A NEGATIVE BARRIER CULTURE 1961:  Cultural difference seen as ignorance and naivety.  Polices would lead to absorption into settler society and disappearance of aberrant culture and 2012:  Cultural difference blamed for causing crime, disorder, and dysfunction.  Culture vilified, denied of worth, recognition, and respect.  Policies will alter behaviour and lead to incorporation into mainstream society.

5 C ULTURAL B ARRIERS IN 2007/2012 Cultural practices, such as ‘sorry business’ Language; inability to speak English Geographical isolation/separation Culture ‘cloaks’ (prevents) people from realising their true desires Culture contributes to a sense of ‘hopelessness’

6 P ERCEPTION 2: T HE ‘G OOD L IFE ’ It is an vision for Indigenous Australian futures. It is founded on western cultural norms and values; it is achieved when these flourish. The version of the ‘good life’ is not challenged nor questioned; there is no alternative. Remote indigenous living is its antithesis Examples :  1961: policy would lead to proper, decent, productive, and ‘happy’ lives  2007/2012: policy will develop communities along mainstream township/city norms and values, thus the ‘good life’ will naturally follow.

7 P ERCEPTIONS AS R EGIMES OF T RUTH Is not universal, it is temporal and culturally specific; a construct of the society that produces it. Is identifiable, able to be seen and observed in daily life Does not pre-exist, rather, new knowledge or truth comes into ‘existence’ because there is a change or transformation in what people decide will be considered ‘truth’ at different moments in time. Marks a new era consisting of knowledge that is recognised, accepted and acted upon as being ‘true’ Are present in every society There are certain ways to decide what it will include/exclude. As well as specific people who hold a status to decide this and identify it. It is authorised by someone as being ‘truth’ Use of particular methods and techniques to gather information TruthRegime of Truth

8 I NDIGENOUS P OLICY R EGIMES OF T RUTH Parliamentarians distinguish and define what truth is/ is not. They are the authorities on ‘truth’, often only needing to site personal experiences as evidence to legitimate their claims. What counts as ‘true’ is their perceptions of indigenous people, communities, and culture; and/or, Other selected authorities’ that match their own ideas such as Noel Pearson and Warren Mundine (cited often), whilst other evidence is silenced, for example most anthropological scholarship.

9 S UMMARY Regimes of Truth can resurface in Indigenous policy debates Perceptions of Aboriginality are articulated and presented as ‘truths’: 1. Culture as a negative barrier 2. Policy will enable the ‘good life’ to flourish


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