Revisiting the citizen-subject of Aboriginal (central) Australia through the current neo-liberal paradigm of good governance
(University of Queensland)
Paper short abstract:
That the enactment of human rights operates through paradox is now well understood in political philosophy. This paper will explore how several of these paradoxes operate in remote central Australia in relation to the State's expectation of the agentic citizen.
Paper long abstract:
That the enactment of human rights operates through paradox is now well understood in political philosophy. This paradox is sharply defined in Aboriginal Australia where the governing of Aboriginal peoples was initially predicated on the denial of citizenship rights, now citizenship is itself the mechanism for neo-liberal reform via the paradigms of "good governance" as embodying democracy and elements of human rights (per Hindess 2002). Similarly to international post-colonial and developing States, this governance discourse has become the vehicle through which to channel the political moralities of responsibilisation, representation and accountability to remote Aboriginal communities. This paper will explore the ways in which this instrumentalist discourse of good (corporate) governance operates in the space of human rights as a poor cousin. While I'm wary of submitting to a triumphalist human rights vision, political activists and development theorists understand the potential of human rights as emancipatory; as a pedagogy for the oppressed through consciousness raising about structural oppressions. In contrast the discourse sponsored by the state is coercive, intolerant of pluralism, dismissive of recognition and substantive rights in their language of entailment and obligation. Nevertheless, both discourses rest to varying degrees on the agentic or public citizen, as Ranciere states; "the Rights of man are the rights of those who make something of that inscription" (2004). This perhaps definitive paradox can be found in the tensions inherent in the self-community and the public-private distinctions and will be examined through a consideration of the Anangu politico-moral discourse of shame (kunta : kuntarringu).
The moral economy of citizenship in late liberalism