Trapped in the Gap: Doing Good in Indigenous Australia

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Berghahn Books, Feb 1, 2015 - Social Science - 214 pages

In Australia, a ‘tribe’ of white, middle-class, progressive professionals is actively working to improve the lives of Indigenous people. This book explores what happens when well-meaning people, supported by the state, attempt to help without harming. ‘White anti-racists’ find themselves trapped by endless ambiguities, contradictions, and double binds — a microcosm of the broader dilemmas of postcolonial societies. These dilemmas are fueled by tension between the twin desires of equality and difference: to make Indigenous people statistically the same as non-Indigenous people (to 'close the gap') while simultaneously maintaining their ‘cultural’ distinctiveness. This tension lies at the heart of failed development efforts in Indigenous communities, ethnic minority populations and the global South. This book explains why doing good is so hard, and how it could be done differently.

 

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Every word of this book was relatable and thought provoking. I cannot recommend it enough.

Contents

Introduction
1
Chapter 1 Studying Good
21
Chapter 2 The Culture of White Antiracism
31
Chapter 3 Tiwi Long Grassers
57
Chapter 4 Welcome to Country
87
Chapter 5 Mutual Recognition
109
Chapter 6 White Stigma
131
Conclusion
159
References
173
Index
193
Copyright

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About the author (2015)

Emma Kowal is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Deakin University, Melbourne. She has also worked as a doctor and public health researcher in Indigenous health settings. She has published widely on Australian postcolonialism, whiteness and anti-racism, is co-editor of Moving Anthropology: Critical Indigenous Studies, and is an editor of the journal Postcolonial Studies.

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