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Agency, contingency and census process: Observations of the 2006 Indigenous Enumeration Strategy in remote Aboriginal Australia

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Book Series: CAEPR Monograph ISBN: 9781921313592 Year: DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_458796 Language: English
Publisher: ANU Press
Subject: Sociology
Added to DOAB on : 2012-06-14 11:46:24
License: ANU Press

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The Indigenous Enumeration Strategy (IES) of the Australian National Census of Population and Housing has evolved over the years in response to the perceived ‘difference’ of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. Its defining characteristics are the use of locally recruited, mostly Indigenous collector interviewers, and the administration of a modified collection instrument in discrete Indigenous communities, mostly in remote Australia. The research reported here is unique. The authors, with the assistance of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, were able to follow the workings of the IES in the 2006 Census from the design of the collection instrument to the training of temporary census field staff at the Northern Territory’s Census Management Unit in Darwin, to the enumeration in four remote locations, through to the processing stage at the Data Processing Centre in Melbourne. This allowed the tracking of data from collection to processing, and an assessment of the effects of information flows on the quality of the data, both as input and output.

This study of the enumeration involved four very different locations: a group of small outstation communities (Arnhem Land), a large Aboriginal township (Wadeye), an ‘open’ town with a majority Aboriginal population (Fitzroy Crossing), and the minority Aboriginal population of a major regional centre (Alice Springs). A comparison between these contexts reveals differences that reflect the diversity of remote Aboriginal Australia, but also commonalities that exert a powerful influence on the effectiveness of the IES, in particular very high levels of short-term mobility. The selection of sites also allowed a comparison between the enumeration process in the Northern Territory, where a time-extended rolling count was explicitly planned for, and Western Australia, where a modified form of the standard count had been envisaged.

The findings suggest that the IES has reached a point in its development where the injection of ever-increasing resources into essentially the same generic set and structure of activities may be producing diminishing returns. There is a need for a new kind of engagement between the Australian Bureau of Statistics and local government and Indigenous community-sector organisations in remote Australia. The agency and local knowledge of Indigenous people could be harnessed more effectively through an ongoing relationship with such organisations, to better address the complex contingencies confronting the census process in remote Indigenous Australia.

Transgressions: critical Australian Indigenous histories

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Book Series: Aboriginal History Monograph ISBN: 9781921313431 Year: Pages: 249 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_459741 Language: English
Publisher: ANU Press
Subject: Anthropology --- History
Added to DOAB on : 2012-06-14 11:46:24
License: ANU Press

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This volume brings together an innovative set of readings of complex interactions between Australian Aboriginal people and colonisers. The underlying theme is that of ‘transgression’, and Michel Foucault’s account of the necessary dynamic that exists between transgression and limit. We know what constitutes the limit, not by tracing or re-stating the boundaries, but by crossing over them. By exploring the mechanisms by which limits are set and maintained, unexamined cultural assumptions and dominant ideas are illuminated. We see the expectations and the structures that inform and support them revealed, often as they unravel. Such illuminations and revelations are at the core of the Australian Indigenous histories presented in this collection.

Culture and Translation: recovering he legacy of R.H Mathews

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ISBN: 9781921313257 Year: Pages: 267 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_458929 Language: English
Publisher: ANU Press
Subject: Sociology
Added to DOAB on : 2012-06-14 11:46:24
License: ANU Press

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R. H. Mathews (1841-1918) was an Australian-born surveyor and self-taught anthropologist. From 1893 until his death in 1918, he made it his mission to record all ‘new and interesting facts’ about Aboriginal Australia. Despite falling foul with some of the most powerful figures in British and Australian anthropology, Mathews published some 2200 pages of anthropological reportage in English, French and German. His legacy is an outstanding record of Aboriginal culture in the Federation period. This first edited collection of Mathews’ writings represents the many facets of his research, ranging from kinship study to documentation of myth. It include eleven articles translated from French or German that until now have been unavailable in English. Introduced and edited by Martin Thomas, who compellingly analyses the anthropologist, his milieu, and the intrigues that were so costly to his reputation, Culture in Translation is essential reading on the history of cross-cultural research.

The translations from the French are by Mathilde de Hauteclocque and from the German by Christine Winter.

Customary Land Tenure and Registration in Australia

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Book Series: Asia-Pacific Environment Monograph ISBN: 9781921313271 Year: Pages: 306 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_458933 Language: English
Publisher: ANU Press
Subject: Anthropology
Added to DOAB on : 2012-06-14 11:46:24
License: ANU Press

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The main theme of this volume is a discussion of the ways in which legal mechanisms, such as the Land Groups Incorporation Act (1974) in PNG, and the Native Title Act (1993) in Australia, do not, as they purport, serve merely to identify and register already-existing customary indigenous landowning groups in these countries. Because the legislation is an integral part of the way in which indigenous people are defined and managed in relation to the State, it serves to elicit particular responses in landowner organisation and self-identification on the part of indigenous people. These pieces of legislation actively contour the progressive evolution of landowner social, territorial and political organisation at all levels in these nation states. The contributors to this volume provide in-depth anthropological case studies of social structural and cultural transformations engendered by the confrontation between states, developers and indigenous communities over rights to customarily owned land.

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