Research Interests: Development, Governance, Policy, Identity and Conflict in, and in relation, to Australian Aboriginal and comparable communities
Thesis title: Talking with the ‘right’ people: The capacity for community development to improve conditions in Australian Aboriginal communities
In my thesis I suggest an emphasis on relatedness is the basis for civil society, critical to improvements in Australian Aboriginal communities. Inimical to this, the emphasis in development in these communities, reflecting wider development trends, has been on autonomy and localism, including locally emplaced tradition. There is now imbalance and reification in the age-old Aboriginal relatedness-autonomy dynamic. There is unhelpful disengagement of Aboriginal people from wider society.
I examine three case studies of community development projects that spend monies generated by the use of Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory for mining and a national park; and through these studies how Aboriginal self-determination policy and legislation have acted to entrench localism and destabilise the basis for an Aboriginal civil society suitably supported from outside. The examination points to ways in which improvements might be made in Aboriginal communities with the appropriate approach to development.