Black Politics: Inside the Complexity of Aboriginal Political Culture

Author(s): Sarah Maddison


Why do Aboriginal communities struggle so hard to be heard in mainstream politics? How do remote and urban communities respond to frequent dramatic shifts in federal and state Aboriginal policies? Since the early 1990s Aboriginal Australia has experienced profound political changes with very real and lasting implications, from the Mabo land rights case in 1992, to the abolition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) in 2005, to more recent attempts to reduce the autonomy of remote communities. Sarah Maddison identifies the tensions that lie at the heart of all Aboriginal politics, arguing that until Australian governments come to grips with this complexity they will continue to make bad policy with disastrous consequences for Aboriginal people. Based on original interviews with influential Aboriginal leaders including Mick Dodson, Tom Calma, Alison Anderson, Jackie Huggins, Warren Mundine and Larissa Behrendt, Black Politics seeks to understand why Aboriginal communities find it so difficult to be heard, get support, and organise internally. It also offers some suggestions for the future, based on the collective wisdom of political players at all levels of Aboriginal politics.


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Sarah Maddison is Senior Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of NSW. She is coeditor of Silencing Dissent and coauthor of Activist Wisdom.

Contents include: Forward by Patrick Dodson -- Acknowledgments -- Interviewees -- Abbreviations and acronyms -- Introduction -- 1 A history of policy failure -- 2 Autonomy and dependency -- 3 Sovereignty and citizenship -- 4 Tradition and development -- 5 Individualism and collectivism -- 6 Indigeneity and hybridity -- 7 Unity and regionalism -- 8 Community and kin -- 9 Elders and the next generation -- 10 Men, women and customary law -- 11 Mourning and reconciliation -- Epilogue: Looking to the future -- Notes -- Bibliography -- Index.

General Fields

  • : 9781741756982
  • : Allen & Unwin
  • : Allen & Unwin
  • : 0.442
  • : January 2009
  • : 230mm X 153mm
  • : Australia
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Sarah Maddison
  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : 323.11915
  • : 336