Governing Indigenous Alterity: Towards A Sociology of Australian Indigenous Issues

26 November 2012

In this paper I explore some of the ways in which the notion of liberal governmentality – the idea of governing through freedom – might usefully generate a specifically sociological insight into some of the ways in which Indigenous peoples are currently governed in the Australian context. It will be my argument that although much current research takes the development of Indigenous rights premised on the recognition of Indigenous difference as foundational to liberal governmentality there is a tendency, nonetheless, to continue to regard this mode of governing as continuous with earlier coercive, colonial forms of power. Drawing on some fieldwork I hope to show some of the (small ways) in which rights and freedoms rather than opposing power can in fact be said to be constitutive of new fields of (liberal governmental) power.