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Australian Indigenous Studies

Research and Practice

Terry Moore, Carol Pybus, Mitchell Rolls and David Moltow

This book provides a guide to research and teaching in an Australian Indigenous Studies that is oriented toward the diverse, contemporary world. Central to this perspective is a sensibility to the intercultural complexity of that world – particularly its Indigenous component – and an awareness of the interactional capabilities that the Indigenous (and others) need to successfully negotiate it. These capabilities are important for facilitating Indigenous peoples’ goal of equality as citizens and recognition as Indigenous, a goal which this book seeks to address.

The Indigenous Studies presented in this book rejects as unproductive the orientation of orthodox Indigenous Studies, which promulgates the retention of old cultures, positive stereotypes, binary oppositions and false certainties. It adopts a more dialogical and process-oriented approach that highlights interactions and relationships and leads to the recognition of cultural and identity multiplicity, intersection and ambiguous difference.

The book covers key topics such as ancestral cultures, colonisation and its impacts, identity politics, interculturality, intersectionality, structural marginalisation, unit development and teaching complexity. The focus of the book is the development of a sensibility that can shape readers’ perceptions, decisions and actions in the future and guide teachers in their negotiation of intercultural classroom relationships.

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Chapter 10: Marginalising and privileging structures

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CHAPTER 10

Marginalising and privileging structures

Introduction

The Indigenous Studies developed in this book highlights the complexity of Indigenous histories, cultures and identities. It gives more weight than is usual to Indigenous individuality, seeing Aborigines and Islanders as individuals belonging to multiple intersecting groups and categories, while simultaneously informed by their Indigenous cultural heritage, history and contemporary situation. It has to be recognised, though, that while Indigenous Australians are individuals, as all others, they are also not just individuals. They are not just the same as every other Australian. They exist in a world that is structurally White, and that fact consequently makes it more difficult than it is for others, for them to be just individuals.

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