Aboriginal Family and the State : The Conditions of History book cover
1st Edition

Aboriginal Family and the State
The Conditions of History

ISBN 9781138278608
Published November 16, 2016 by Routledge
292 Pages

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Book Description

Aboriginal Family and the State examines the contemporary relations and history of Indigenous families in Australia, specifically referencing issues of government control and recent official recognition of Aboriginal 'traditional owners'. Drawing on detailed empirical research, it develops a discussion of the anthropological issues of kinship and relatedness within colonial and 'postcolonial' contexts. This volume explores the conditions affecting the formation of 'family' among indigenous people in rural northern Australia, as well as the contingencies of 'family' in the legal and political context of contemporary indigenous claims to land. With a rich discussion of the production, practice and inscription of social relations, this volume examines everyday expressions of 'family', and events such as meetings and funerals, demonstrating that kinship is formed and reformed through a complicated social practice of competing demands on identity.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface: kinship, process and history, Andrew Strathern and Pamela J. Stewart: Fieldwork, fishing and funerals; Knowledge and control, violence and protection; Under the Act; Family affairs: relations and relatedness; Home, family, polity; Meetings: social practice and the construction of identity; Elders and 'old people'; The sociality of death and funerals; Aboriginal family and the Australian state; Appendix; References; Index

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Sally Babidge is a Lecturer in Anthropology at The University of Queensland, Australia.


’It is rare to find an account of Aboriginal experience through time that integrates regional history, indigenous family life, and a critical treatment of the state so convincingly. This study of contemporary indigenous lives is striking both for its intimate accounts of belonging and for its decisive analysis of Australian race relations. The book is beautifully written and draws the reader in.’ Diane Austin-Broos, University of Sydney, Australia 'Babidge makes a substantial contribution to an important body of Australian ethnographic scholarship that interrogates the operation of state power in relation to Indigenous communities and histories... An intelligent, thought-provoking and analytical study, Aboriginal Family and the State will be useful not only for anthropologists and other academic scholars. It should also be read by all who engage with native title issues, as Babidge's insights in this regard are particularly pertinent and meaningful.' Anthropological Forum ’Babidge’s insight is to see those occasions in which both state and Aboriginal cultural formations equally elicit their own forms of recognition out of engagement with each other. In sum, this is a richly detailed and astutely analysed piece of research into the current forms of Aboriginal cultural and social action in rural Australia.’ Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute