Reconciliation or Identity in Australia

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The struggle by indigenous peoples to assert their rights against the continuing oppression of colonial societies is the source of much contemporary global conflict. Liberaldemocratic states like Australia have managed to contain open violence in that struggle, increasingly by shifting it into a seemingly larger debate about national identity. This article evaluates the Australian debate about Aboriginal reconciliation, drawing on work in political theory to suggest that even a generous revisiting of national identity will impair the selfdetermination of the country's indigenous peoples. The possibility that reconciliation could be a process of justice is overwhelmed by an emphasis on positive nationalism.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology

Publication date: November 1, 2000

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