Neoliberal Indigenous Policy in Australia: Government, Sovereignty and Colonialism

Elizabeth Strakosch (2011). Neoliberal Indigenous Policy in Australia: Government, Sovereignty and Colonialism PhD Thesis, School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies, The University of Queensland.

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Author Elizabeth Strakosch
Thesis Title Neoliberal Indigenous Policy in Australia: Government, Sovereignty and Colonialism
School, Centre or Institute School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-04
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Total pages 238
Total black and white pages 238
Subjects 16 Studies in Human Society
Abstract/Summary Neoliberalism is a powerful and influential assemblage of political ideas. Since emerging as a counter-discourse to the dominant social welfare paradigm in the 1970s, it has come to structure political relations in many areas of contemporary life. Neoliberal logics rely on a language of economic insecurity as justification for comprehensive reforms to increase competitiveness, efficiency and responsibility. In Australian Indigenous policy, neoliberalism has had a major impact, but there has been limited study of its role in this area of policy-making. This thesis traces neoliberal policy development between 2000 and 2007, and undertakes empirical work to build an integrated picture of this crucial transformative period. It also seeks to critically analyse the political impact of neoliberal policy making in a settler colonial context, and this involves taking into account the challenging dynamics of both neoliberalism and colonialism. This thesis draws upon post-Foucauldian governmentality scholarship in order to navigate neoliberal logics. Governmentality traces the multiple, diffuse and indirect logics of government that aim to foster the objects of rule towards their own diverse ends, and contests the traditional focus on centralised sovereign authority. However, the political dynamics of Australian Indigenous policy-making also require attention to these sovereign dimensions of liberal rule. In settler colonial contexts, policy making becomes a site of cultural encounter and political struggle. While the indirect practices of government are central to neoliberal policy processes, sovereignty lies at the heart of settler colonial relationships. Neoliberal Indigenous policy constitutes an important site where these two apparently opposing modes of political power intersect. This thesis explores the operation of government and sovereignty in this policy area, and argues that the two modes of power are mutually constitutive. Neoliberal Indigenous policy operates via the diffuse rhetoric of government, and effectively „depopulates‟ the recognisible sovereign spaces where colonial relationships are visible and contested. Instead, it presents itself as working in voluntary partnership with Indigenous subjects for their own ends. However, it continues to enact settler sovereignty, all the more powerfully because this enactment is submerged. The thesis ultimately explores the intertwinement of „power over‟ and „power through‟ the subjects of liberal authority in colonial contexts.
Keyword indigenous policy, australian politics, neoliberalism, settler colonialism, governmentality, sovereignty

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Created: Thu, 11 Aug 2011, 13:32:50 EST by Ms Elizabeth Strakosch on behalf of Library - Information Access Service