The politics of divide: representation and the Torres Strait diaspora

Watkin Lui, Felecia (2012) The politics of divide: representation and the Torres Strait diaspora. GSTF Journal of Law and Social Sciences, 1 (1). pp. 24-29.

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DOI: 10.5176_2251-2853_1.1.5
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Abstract

Australia's Indigenous population is comprised of two related, but distinct cultural groups – Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders. The two groups have a shared history dating back to thousands of years of cultural exchange, trade and travel between the islands of the Torres Strait and mainland Australia. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people also share a similar colonial history marked by oppression, displacement and forced removal from their ancestral homelands. Recently however, the extent of 'shared histories' between the two groups has taken a distinctive turn as government policy seeks to redefine the boundaries of who constitutes an Indigenous Australian. This redefinition of Indigenous Australia is evident in government policy relating to Torres Strait Islanders, and more specifically, Torres Strait Islanders who live outside the Torres Strait. This paper explores the contentious political and social landscape that pertains to Indigenous Australians, and in particular the role government policy plays in redefining and engineering the boundaries of inclusion of certain cultural groups, most notably Torres Strait Islanders. The author argues that Indigenous social policy (in the Australian context) is characterised by a complex and often contradictory interplay of social and cultural processes that have been constructed within the politics of identity, representation and 'people making'.

Item ID: 26240
Item Type: Article (Scholarly Work)
ISSN: 2251-2853
Keywords: Indigenous governance; Torres Strait Islanders; Aboriginal Australians; identity
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2013 01:03
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169902 Studies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Society @ 40%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies @ 60%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940102 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Development and Welfare @ 100%
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