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Rethinking Social Justice: From Peoples to Populations

Author: Timothy Rowse
ISBN: 978-1922059161
Original Region: Australia
Original Language: English
Publication Date: 2012
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Book Description

In the early 1970s, Australian governments began to treat Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders as “peoples” with capacities for self-government. Forty years later, confidence in Indigenous self-determination has been eroded by accounts of Indigenous pathology, misplaced policy optimism, and persistent socio-economic gaps. This record accounts for this shift by arguing that Australian thinking about the Indigenous is a continuing, unresolvable tussle between the ideas of “peoples” and “population.” Offering snapshots of moments in the last 40 years in these tensions are palpable—from honoring the heritage and quantifying the disadvantage to acknowledging colonization’s destruction and projecting Indigenous recovery from it—this book not only asks if a settler colonial state can instruct the colonized in the arts of self-government, but also how could it justify doing anything less.


"A thought-provoking set of essays that explore—through key public intellectual figures and at different historical junctures—a vexed and complex question: if Indigenous Australians can be politically and ethically recognized only as a collective, then the question of how this collective is conceived arises. . . . A must-have resource for all students and practitioners in Indigenous affairs." —Anna Yeatman, professorial research fellow, University of Western Sydney

About the Author

Timothy Rowse is a professorial fellow at the University of Western Sydney, who has also taught at the Australian National University, Harvard University, and Macquarie University. He is the author of Divided Nation?, Indigenous Futures, and Obliged to be Difficult.

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