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People and Change in Indigenous Australia$
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Diane Austin-Broos and Francesca Merlan

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824867966

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824867966.001.0001

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The Role of Allocative Power and Its Diminution in the Constitution and Violation of Wiradjuri Personhood

The Role of Allocative Power and Its Diminution in the Constitution and Violation of Wiradjuri Personhood

Chapter:
(p.97) Chapter 5 The Role of Allocative Power and Its Diminution in the Constitution and Violation of Wiradjuri Personhood
Source:
People and Change in Indigenous Australia
Author(s):

Gaynor Macdonald

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824867966.003.0006

This paper explores the role of allocative power in constituting Wiradjuri personhood, in turn enabling practices they refer to as caring and sharing. New South Wales is one of Australia’s most developed states, and Wiradjuri people have undergone immense change since colonization began in the 1820s. What changed, why and how, has only recently become a focus for anthropology, partly in response to recent social stress. Enduring unemployment, reliance on social service benefits, and centralized control of their modest resource base has undermined Wiradjuri ways, introducing unanticipated contradictions. Experienced by some as opportunities, for many it became more difficult to address their experienced world and to sustain a known social order. Concerns voiced by Wiradjuri people often targeted other community members rather than changes they had little control over. A key to understanding both the concerns and why these were personalized lies in the way the allocative power essential to the expression of caring and sharing had been challenged by state programs ostensibly designed to achieve social justice and development. To explore the impact of changes introduced from the 1970s, I integrate an historical with a social analysis, drawing on my observations of Wiradjuri interactions over more than 30 years.

Keywords:   personhood, allocative power, demand-sharing, social stress, Wiradjuri Aboriginal people

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