Cultural basis of Aboriginal health policy in the Northern Territory, Australia

  • Hong Yi Liu

    Student thesis: Professional Doctorate - CDU


    Debate about the problems in health care service is driven more by ideology. The crux of such problems, in a view of ideology, is a narrowed definition for the individual based, disease oriented health; and a policy model for the professional driven, bureaucratic decision system. There is no easy solution to the problems of Aboriginal health service because they have widespread roots deeply in different cultural structures. This study explored the impact of dominant culture on Aboriginal health policy from structural perspective. The researcher believes that any existence must rely on a certain explicit or implicit structure. Policy, as an intellectual product, is a form of cognition of the ruling paradigm.

    The analysis provided in this thesis is partly based on a project of action research. It concludes that the cultural basis of Aboriginal health policy in the Northern Territory should be 'holistic view of health' and 'cultural appropriateness and effectiveness'. The former is regarded as an epistemology addressing the health needs of Aborigines. The latter is a methodology in Aboriginal health service. The researcher found that there is no Aboriginal health policy independently. Current policy is just a version of non-Aboriginal policy of the dominant culture. The development of policy has to match cognition. Policy itself has no problems of 'right' or 'wrong'. The problems, such as policy effectiveness or cultural appropriateness, derive from a structured cognition which reflects the accuracy of cognition of policy makers. Therefore, it is necessary to propose a conceptualization of structured cognition for both further research and other cross-cultural studies.
    Date of AwardNov 1999
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorPeter Blunt (Supervisor), Ram Vemuri (Supervisor) & Sajid Anwar (Supervisor)

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