Theorising internal colonialism in Australia

Christine Jennett

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Abstract

The theory of internal colonialism has been applied to the structural relationships between first nations and the settler state, economy, and society (Stavenhagen 1965; Casanova 1965; Blauner 1969; Hechter 1975, 1999; Wolpe 1975; Hartwig 1978). In this paper it will be applied to the situation of Indigenous peoples in Australia (Jennett 2011) and compared and contrasted with Blagg's (2008) recent work on neo-colonialism in a globalised world in which he identifies the existence of two separate domains, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal. He argues for the need for hybrid institutions which respect the Aboriginal domain and accommodate Aboriginal solutions to Aboriginal-identified problems, as well as provide access to knowledge and resources controlled by settler governments (state and national) in the non-Aboriginal domain. It will be argued that the theory of internal colonialism continues to explain the structures of power which disadvantage Indigenous Australians in a culturally allocated division of labour (Jennett 2011; Hechter 1975, 1999). However, Blagg's focus on the institutions of the frontier may provide a much needed conceptualisation of 'a way forward' which empowers Indigenous people in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-180
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of the Humanities
Volume9
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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