'This isn't a black issue': homophily and diversity in Aboriginal activism

Petray, Theresa (2010) 'This isn't a black issue': homophily and diversity in Aboriginal activism. Social Movement Studies, 9 (4). pp. 411-424.

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This paper examines homophily and networking within Aboriginal activism in Townsville, North Queensland, Australia, focusing on the daily demonstrations held outside the manslaughter trial of Police Officer Senior-Sergeant Chris Hurley. At this trial, I witnessed a concerted effort by movement activists to avoid homophily (the principle that people who share certain characteristics will interact more often and more closely with one another than with those who are dissimilar) as activists framed the issue as 'not a black issue'. I argue that this is in keeping with the social networking strategies of Indigenous movements in Australia: the nature of Australian history and present-day demographics have required Aboriginal people to rely heavily on diverse networks. In the Hurley trial case, I explore some of the ramifications of this framing tactic, based on media reportage and ethnographic description. I argue that whilst this tactic has positive effects, such as broadening support bases, it may compromise the articulated goals of the movement and reduce levels of collective identity. Finally, I draw conclusions for the wider dilemmas social movements face in choosing between bonding and bridging ties.

Item ID: 14976
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1474-2829
Keywords: Indigenous movements, social movements, social networks, homophily, collective identity
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2010 23:19
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160805 Social Change @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 100%
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