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.
|Title of host publication||Directions and Intersections|
|Subtitle of host publication||Proceedings of the 2011 Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association and Indigenous Studies Research Network Joint Conference|
|Editors||Damien W. Riggs, Clemence Due|
|Place of Publication||Aust|
|Publisher||Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association|
|Number of pages||16|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|
|Event||Directions and Intersections - Surfers Paradise|
Duration: 7 Dec 2011 → 9 Dec 2011
|Conference||Directions and Intersections|
|Period||7/12/11 → 9/12/11|
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.