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Blackfella business whitefella law: political struggle and competition in a South-East Arnhem Land Aboriginal community.

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posted on 2022-03-28, 13:33 authored by John Edward Bern
Chapter 1 outlines the political structure of Ngukurr and presents the methodological foundation of the analysis. I follow this with a discussion of the political organisation of traditional Aboriginal society and the place of Aboriginal and European modes of categorisation in the organisation of the Village. Chapter 2 outlines the ecological, and demographic background, the organisation of the Settlement economy, the main categories of kinship organisation, and the cycle of daily life. Chapters 3 and 4 present the history of Ngukurr, the contemporary Settlement structure of domination, and the categories of political organisation within the Village. Chapter 3 focuses on the developments in Australian society which have affected the indigenous population, while in Chapter 4 the changes occurring within the indigenous population are the centre of attention. The public arenas utilised to discuss the organisation of the Settlement and the Village are classified and analysed in Chapter 5. Chapters 6 and 7 present the the major events of political competition. Chapter 6 deals with the competition occurring in the context of traditional religion, which is classified on the bases of acquisition of property, maintenance of authority positions, and inter community relations. Chapter 7 deals with the competition occurring in relations between the Village and the Government and its local representatives. This competition is analysed as the actions of a subordinate category resisting and reacting to a situation of domination. Chapter 8 concludes the thesis with an examination of the contradiction inherent in Village political practice and its consequences for the formulation and pursuit of land rights.



Bibliography: leaf 483-490 Degree conferred 1976.

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (Ph. D.) , Macquarie University, Sydney

Department, Centre or School

Department of Anthropology

Year of Award



Copyright John Edward Bern 1974. Copyright disclaimer: This thesis was digitised for the purposes of Document Delivery. Macquarie University ResearchOnline attempted to locate the author but where this has not been possible; we are making available, open access, the thesis which may be used for the purposes of private research and study. If you have any enquiries or issues regarding this work being made available please contact Macquarie University ResearchOnline -




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