The racialisation of feeling in the Northern Territory's Aboriginal Australia: Anger and Aboriginal Contact with the Law

Sarah Cefai

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Paper published in Proceedings

    Abstract

    This paper addresses the question: What is at stake in reframing ‘social problems’ as problems of feeling? In the Northern Territory, the political discourse on ‘social problems’, such as the prevalence of criminal offences involving alcohol, is commonplace in representations of Aboriginal Australia. This political discourse problematizes Indigenous, alcohol-related crime, by measuring the success or failure of state sponsored intervention. This paper argues that this discourse fundamentally misrepresents the ‘social problem’ of the Aboriginal consumption of alcohol because it averts the existence of feelings. Further, I claim that the aversion of (and to) feeling is embedded in the politics of race in the Australian imaginary. In order to understand how the discourse on ‘social problems’ functions, I draw attention to what I call the ‘institutionalisation of feeling’ and the ‘racialisation of feeling’. Drawing on examples from policy, political talk, and academic representation, I endeavour to show how the institutionalisation and racialisation of feeling are interconnected processes that colour multiple aspects of Aboriginal contact with the law. I therefore contend that what is at stake in reframing ‘social problems’ as problems of feeling is the capacity to critically analyse the social construction of racist thought.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDirections and Intersections
    Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 2011 Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association and Indigenous Studies Research Network Joint Conference
    EditorsDamien W. Riggs, Clemence Due
    Place of PublicationAust
    PublisherAustralian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association
    Pages54-69
    Number of pages16
    Volume1
    Edition1
    ISBN (Print)978-0-646-56682-5
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    EventDirections and Intersections - Surfers Paradise
    Duration: 7 Dec 20119 Dec 2011

    Conference

    ConferenceDirections and Intersections
    Period7/12/119/12/11

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  • Cite this

    Cefai, S. (2011). The racialisation of feeling in the Northern Territory's Aboriginal Australia: Anger and Aboriginal Contact with the Law. In D. W. Riggs, & C. Due (Eds.), Directions and Intersections: Proceedings of the 2011 Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association and Indigenous Studies Research Network Joint Conference (1 ed., Vol. 1, pp. 54-69). Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association.