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Culture Crisis

Anthropology and Politics in Aboriginal Australia


Altman J, & Hinkson, M (eds) (2010) Culture Crisis - Anthropology and Politics in Aboriginal Australia, Sydney: University of New South Wales Press

'In 2007 the Australian Government recognised that the health, safety and education of the nation's remote Aboriginal citizens were in a state of crisis. Its response was what became known as the Northern Territory Intervention, which sparked a heated national debate about Indigenous disadvantage and autonomy. Moreover, it caused Australian anthropologists to question the contribution of their own discipline. Anthropology has always informed and provoked policy change, and has a tradition of confirming difference. So why did the government assume that Aboriginal culture must be interrupted, reshaped and developed, in order to be successful? In Culture Crisis, some of Australia's leading anthropologists put the 'Culture Wars' under the microscope, dissecting the notion of difference and asking whether this is a useful way of looking at the problems remote Indigenous Australians face. An urgently needed dialogue, this book unflinchingly confronts the policies that have failed these communities and shows how the discipline of anthropology can still provide hope.'

  • Jon Altman is a an emeritus professor of the Australian National University located at the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) in the Colleage of Asia and the Pacific. He has a disciplinary background in economics and anthropology and held a number of post-doctoral research appointments at ANU before being appointed the foundation director of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) from April 1990-April 2010. Jon maintains a research and policy advisory network with many Indigenous and other organisations.

  • Melinda Hinkson is an Associate Professor (Research) of Anthropology at Deakin Universuty. She has wide ranging interests in the faultlines of settler colonial Australia, the governance of indigenous difference, displacement and placemaking practices, and the challenges of coexistence. Much of Melinda's work is informed by long standing research relationships with Warlpiri people of Central Australia as well as an abiding interest in visual culture. Her most recent research explores intersections between modes of governance, displacement, cultures of seeing and creative practice in central Australia.