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Obliging Indigenous Citizens: Shared Responsibility Agreements in Australian Aboriginal Communities
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2007 (English)In: Cultural Studies, ISSN 0950-2386, Vol. 21, no 4-5, 650-671 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper discusses how understandings of culture and place are deployed in governing colonial Aboriginal1 subjects in contemporary Australia. Recently, Australia's conservative Federal Government has sought to reorientate Aboriginal affairs away from debates about rights and inheritances, to the 'responsibilities' that communities must accept in order to be provided with infrastructure and services from government. Discourses of mutual obligation and responsibility target Aboriginal populations and are linked to claims that Aboriginal communities themselves have requested more overt and tailored interventions from central governments. The new 'Shared Responsibility Agreements' (SRAs) signal the formalisation of these shifts and oblige Aboriginal communities to conform to a series of specified disciplinary practices (such as improving personal hygiene, maintaining clean households, and preventing school truancy) in order to receive access to health care and other basic social services and supplies. We analyse how a hierarchy of 'culture' is articulated in SRAs, and highlight the particular complexity of governing remote colonial subjects and spaces at a distance. Although SRAs appear to indicate a novel policy direction, our analysis reveals how they mobilise longstanding colonial discourses of Aboriginal people and communities as welfare dependent and ungovernable, and reinstate donor/recipient relationships characteristic of earlier colonial rationalities and citizenship practices. Our case study demonstrates how governing practices are constantly reconstituted through knowledges of the governed, and through techniques that hybridise early illiberal practices with new neoliberal discourses. We argue that the act of governing remains thoroughly mediated by the inheritance of colonial visions of place and culture.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 21, no 4-5, 650-671 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-29226DOI: 10.1080/09502380701279002OAI: diva2:231742
Available from: 2009-08-17 Created: 2009-08-17 Last updated: 2009-08-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Shifting Responsibilities and Shifting Terrains: State Responsibility, Corporate Social Responsibility and Indigenous Claims
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Shifting Responsibilities and Shifting Terrains: State Responsibility, Corporate Social Responsibility and Indigenous Claims
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Using case studies from Australia, Sweden and Finland, and also drawing on examples from parts of Asia, including Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and Thailand, the thesis explores how state and market actors respond to Indigenous claims and how Indigenous claims are themselves reconstituted through those particular responses. While the duty of protecting Indigenous rights might nominally fall upon the state, we are increasingly witness to the enfolding of market actors and market rationalities in debates concerning Indigenous claims. The research contained in the thesis highlights how a practice of 'passing the buck', or passing of responsibility onto others, is constituted through both market and government relations whereby responsibility for addressing Indigenous claims is shifted from states to corporations, from corporations to states, and from states back to Indigenous peoples themselves. The thesis consists of four articles. Article 1, titled 'Obliging Indigenous Citizens: Shared Responsibility Agreements in Australian Aboriginal Communities' provides a critique of the governmental provision of services to remote Australian Aboriginal communities through quasi-market arrangements. Article 2, titled 'Corporate Social Responsibility, Supply-chains and Saami Claims: Tracing the Political in the Finnish Forestry Industry' explores conflicts over state logging in Saami territories and the construction of the state/market divide in CSR debates over the rights of Indigenous peoples. Article 3, titled 'NGO Campaigns and Banks: Constituting Risk and Uncertainty' studies the negotiated and contested boundaries of markets through debates over the governance of social and environmental risks in the investment banking sector. Article 4, titled 'The Last Frontier? Windpower developments on traditional Saami lands' considers how colonial rationalities constituting the state-Saami relationship are reproduced in new debates over windpower developments in Saami mountain areas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2009. 87 p.
Stockholm studies in sociology, ISSN 0491-0885 ; N.S., 37
Indigenous rights, Corporate Social Responsibility, resource conflicts, welfare services, forestry, finance, windpower, internal colonisation, market rationalities
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Research subject
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-28512 (URN)978-91-86071-19-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-09-11, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: In progress.

Available from: 2009-08-20 Created: 2009-06-23 Last updated: 2012-10-05Bibliographically approved

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