BARRA BAWUJI MARRIRRU, LHABA ANYMAYA, ANYNGKARRIYA KI-AWARAWU! STOP! BE QUIET! LISTEN TO COUNTRY! A Yanyuwa Informed and Critical Reflection on Place, Belonging, Culture and Sustainable Futures

Steve Johnson (2011). BARRA BAWUJI MARRIRRU, LHABA ANYMAYA, ANYNGKARRIYA KI-AWARAWU! STOP! BE QUIET! LISTEN TO COUNTRY! A Yanyuwa Informed and Critical Reflection on Place, Belonging, Culture and Sustainable Futures PhD Thesis, School of Social Science, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Steve Johnson
Thesis Title BARRA BAWUJI MARRIRRU, LHABA ANYMAYA, ANYNGKARRIYA KI-AWARAWU! STOP! BE QUIET! LISTEN TO COUNTRY! A Yanyuwa Informed and Critical Reflection on Place, Belonging, Culture and Sustainable Futures
School, Centre or Institute School of Social Science
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-08
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Professor David Trigger
Associate Professor John Bradley
Total pages 346
Total colour pages 21
Total black and white pages 325
Language eng
Subjects 16 Studies in Human Society
Abstract/Summary This thesis draws on a lifetime of experiences living and working with Aboriginal Australians. The questions posed are framed against this background, with research focusing primarily on the Northern Territory, in the context of relationships forged there over years, with the Yanyuwa people living in and around Borroloola in the south west Gulf of Carpentaria. Arguments presented throughout, suggest that in the troubled history between Indigenous and non Indigenous Australians, many things have changed over time while many more have not. Some constants remain: for one, the sense of deep attachment to and affinity for country that many Yanyuwa (and other Indigenous) people still express through rich kinship narratives, song, ceremony and ritual; for another, an overriding tendency amongst many external experts and commentators – in current settings both Indigenous and non Indigenous – to dismiss or sweep aside these rich narratives in the quest for hard and fast material truths. Throughout this document, I will argue from a Yanyuwa informed perspective that this contest originates in disparate perceptions of the relationship between people and place. These initial observations lead to a wide ranging critique of Western philosophy, science and ultimately modernity at large. In developing this critique, Yanyuwa perceptions of landscape are key enablers, but so too are some of the concepts found within those traditions subject to critical scrutiny. Many physical scientists speak of a conscious modesty within Western philosophy and science. This modesty also finds expression in the social sciences; notably in the long standing anthropological axiom “through the study of others we may learn more about ourselves” and more recently in a growing trend towards reflexive cross-cultural studies. Out of this blend emerge areas of complementarity as well as contest – Indigenous and non Indigenous – and examples of both are presented throughout the text. In the final analysis though, evidence presented from either side of the “cultural divide”, suggests that this „conscious modesty‟ may be dissipating in the face of a materially based, market driven “species of reason” that acknowledges no human potential other than its own and in terms of environmental sustainability appears eminently unreasonable. This contention underpins the entire thesis. For many Yanyuwa people evidence of this flawed reasoning is littered across the landscape and clearly evident in the human alienation pervading both Indigenous and non Indigenous social realms. These critical commentaries challenge the taken for granted assumptions and ensuing “blind spots” that perpetuate such reasoning, and cast them as akin to a loss of the capacity to listen, hear, sing for and join in with country; in translation, to lose sight of the interdependence that binds human and environmental futures, hard and fast.
Keyword human ecology, kujika, ardirri, enchantment, people, place, modernity, sustainability, environment
Additional Notes 18,19,22,46,47,50,52,53,54,56,61,67,77,78,80,83,138,145(landscape),155,239,283

 
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