Duelling paradigms: Australian Aborigines, marn-grook and football histories

Chris Hallinan, Barry Judd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Australian Football League (AFL) boasts a significant over-representation of players from Indigenous Australian backgrounds. On this basis the AFL has come to represent itself as a leading national authority on anti-racism in sports and as a key supporter of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia. In contracting an official history of Australian football, the AFL's volume reveals the limits of a historical analysis that presents itself as neutral and objective, but is epistemologically constrained and axiologically tilted within a whitestream view of both Australia and Australian football. We explore the limits of the official history, the debates surrounding it and the inevitable, limited and ethnocentric conclusions delivered by official historians. We conclude that the Australian football ‘history wars’ is yet another example of how contemporary discourses of race and culture reflect broader Australian struggles to accept Indigenous people as active and intelligent human subjects who have a rightful place in contemporary society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)975-986
Number of pages12
JournalSport in Society
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


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