From Indigenous Cultural Recognition to Economic Mainstreaming: A Case Study of Indigenous Australian Communities

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Significant (2007) policy prescriptions were proposed solutions for the social problems of Australian remote Indigenous communities. These are contiguous with certain descriptions of contemporary neoliberal policy orthodoxy. Though these ideas are viewed by advocates as constituting a ‘new’ approach to Indigenous affairs they resemble policy approaches which have encouraged Indigenous assimilation into a 'mainstream' society. Such an approach seems like common-sense from within this mainstream neoliberal world-view, but when viewed critically is epistemologically flawed, culturally chauvinistic, and contains within it the seeds of more rather than less problems. This paper examines contemporary views of Australian Federal Government policy intentions for remote Indigenous Australians. It critiques some specific value-based interpretations of Indigenous behavior and the processes which are assumed strategies for behavioral change. The paper highlights logical issues in such policy approaches and ends in some general recommendations for social policy.

Keywords: Social Policy, Indigenous, Ideology, Policy Analysis
Stream: Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Studies, Humanities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: From Indigenous Cultural Recognition to Economic Mainstreaming

Dr. Lester J. Thompson

Lecturer, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology
Yeronga, QLD, Australia

Lester Thompson is a lecturer and teaching fellow at the Queensland University of Technology (Australia). He currently teaches Human Service Work students about social issues and organisational analysis in the School of Humanities and Human Services. He has many years experience working as a Social Worker with Australia's Indigenous peoples. He has also worked in social policy administration and then as an academic analysing and writing about Indigenous assistance policy in Australia. His current interests relate to social policy analysis, human social need theory, the organisational context of practice and motivating factors in the helping professions.

Dr. Richard Hil

Tweed Heads, NSW, Australia

Ref: I08P0611