Feelings in the heart: Aboriginal experiences of land, emotion, and kinship in Cape York Peninsula

Hafner, Diane (1999). Feelings in the heart: Aboriginal experiences of land, emotion, and kinship in Cape York Peninsula PhD Thesis, Tropical Health Program, The University of Queensland.

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Author Hafner, Diane
Thesis Title Feelings in the heart: Aboriginal experiences of land, emotion, and kinship in Cape York Peninsula
School, Centre or Institute Tropical Health Program
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1999
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Total pages 366
Language eng
Subjects 200201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies
Formatted abstract
In this thesis I address the recent experience of social and political change among a group of Aboriginal people, the Lamalama, on Cape York Peninsula, Australia. The thesis compares the present situation with what is known of the pre-colonial society and its structural forms, and evaluates the role of affect in contemporary social organisation.

Colonisation of the wider region, and its aftermath of pastoral expansion and administrative control, have impacted on northern Aboriginal groups, and the Lamalama did not escape its effects. The appropriation of the landscape through this expansion into indigenous spaces is seen as the central motif in later historical and social change. Today, the Lamalama live in both bush and town, and their identity is tied to both locations. Land and kinship are the central themes of Lamalama life, and certain places are of particular importance to the core group of Lamalama people I discuss. These are, chiefly. Port Stewart and its surrounds, where they have established an outstation community.

Past practice remains an important reference point for the Lamalama as the source of cultural knowledge. The thesis seeks to explain how the Lamalama use affect to negotiate the distance between the inner feelings of the individual, and external manifestations of emotion, to construct meanings between social actors. Social dramas, which illustrate these processes, and thus impact on group identity, are detailed and analysed. The integration of social structure and practice that characterised the past differs to contemporary social process. Present practice is typified by greater flexibility in the negotiation of identity, and emotion is demonstrated to be the means by which personal objectives, social structures, and jural rules are accommodated.
Keyword Lamalama (Australian people)
Aboriginal Australians -- Land tenure
Aboriginal Australians -- Kinship
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Document type: Thesis
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