Living with work in a remote Aboriginal Community

McRae-Williams, Eva (2011) Living with work in a remote Aboriginal Community. In: North Australian Political Economy: Issues and Agendas. Charles Darwin University Press, Darwin. ISBN 9780980864106

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In her chapter McRae-Williams analyses the world of work. She notes how work pervades the organisation of western society and creates individual value, status and identity. She then goes on to analyse Aboriginal attitudes to work. These are found to be somewhat confused in their understandings of what western notions of work entail. But she says that these attitudes are subordinate to the overriding importance of relatedness in Ngukurr Aboriginal society. This means that the people of Ngukurr do not give a primary emphasis to work (in its western context and meaning). Instead they have broader definitions of work that could be encapsulated as ways of being in the world. So work includes social dealings, family relations, even funerals,in an Indigenous schema that transcends the private–public worlds of family–work dichotomy in which non-Aboriginal Australians act. This chapter forms an interesting counter-point to the chapter by Welters. McRae-Williams’ similarly shows that current governmental employment strategies, which either assume or attempt to impose mainstream attitudes to work, will probably fail. That is not to even consider the incongruity of attempting to establish conventional employment in an area where there is no economy in the orthodox sense.

Item Type: Book Section
Field of Research (2008): 16 Studies in Human Society > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
16 Studies in Human Society > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169902 Studies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Society
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 19 May 2011 03:40
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2015 04:14

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