Articulating culture(s): being black in Wilcannia
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 18:40 authored by Lorraine Douglas Gibson
Dominant society discourses and images have long depicted the Aboriginal people of the town of Wilcannia in far Western New South Wales as having no 'culture'. In asking what this means and how this situation might have come about, the thesis seeks to respond through an ethnographic exploration of these discourses and images. The work explores problematic and polemic dominant society assumptions regarding 'culture' and 'Aboriginal culture', their synonyms and their effects. The work offers Aboriginal counter-discourses to the claim of most white locals and dominant culture that the Aboriginal people of Wilcannia have no culture. In so doing the work presents reflexive notions about 'culture' as verbalised and practiced, as well as providing an ethnography of how culture is more tacitly lived. -- Broadly, the thesis looks at what it is to be Aboriginal in Wilcannia from both white and black perspectives. The overarching concern of this thesis is a desire to unpack what it means to be black in Wilcannia. The thesis is primarily about the competing values and points of view within and between cultures, the ways in which Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people tacitly and reflexively express and interpret difference, and the ambivalence and ambiguity that come to bear in these interactions and experiences. This thesis demonstrates how ideas and actions pertaining to 'race' and 'culture' operate in tandem through an exploration of values and practices relating to 'work', 'productivity', 'success', 'opportunity' and the domain of 'art'. These themes are used as vehicles to understanding the 'on the ground' effects and affects of cultural perceptions and difference. They serve also to demonstrate the ambiguity and ambivalence that is experienced as well as being brought to bear upon relationships which implicitly and explicitly are concerned with, and concern themselves with difference.
Alternative TitleBeing black in Wilcannia
Table of ContentsIntroduction: coming to Wilcannia -- Wilcannia: plenty of Aborigines, but no culture -- Who you is? -- Cultural values: ambivalences and ambiguities -- Praise, success and opportunity -- "Art an' culture: the two main things, right?" -- Big Murray Butcher: "We still doin' it" -- Granny Moisey's baby: the art of Badger Bates -- Epilogue.
NotesBibliography: p. 257-276
Awarding InstitutionMacquarie University
Degree TypeThesis PhD
DegreeThesis (PhD), Macquarie University, Division of Society, Culture, Media & Philosophy, Department of Anthropology
Department, Centre or SchoolDepartment of Anthropology
Year of Award2006
Principal SupervisorKirsten Bell
Additional Supervisor 1Jeremy Beckett
Additional Supervisor 2Jennifer Biddle
RightsCopyright disclaimer: http://www.copyright.mq.edu.au Copyright Lorraine Douglas Gibson 2006.
JurisdictionNew South Wales
Extentxii, 276 p. ill
Former Identifiersmq:6987 http://hdl.handle.net/1959.14/70724 1354796
Aboriginal AustraliansArt, Aboriginal AustralianWilcannia (N.S.W.) -- Race relationsAboriginal Australians -- New South Wales -- WilcanniaArt, Aboriginal Australian -- New South Wales -- WilcanniaAboriginal Australians -- New South Wales -- Wilcannia -- Ethnic identityAboriginal Australians -- New South Wales -- Wilcannia -- Economic conditionsAboriginal Australians -- New South Wales -- Wilcannia -- Social life and customsAboriginal Australians -- New South Wales -- Wilcannia -- Social conditions