Paper short abstract:
In recent decades, Aboriginal peoples have increasingly become reengaged in forms of bushfire management in northern and southern Australia. This paper reflects on discursive framings around two engagements to generate insights into their imaginaries of development.
Paper long abstract:
In recent decades, Aboriginal peoples have increasingly become reengaged in forms of bushfire management in both northern and southern Australia. The economic relationships underlying these engagements with Country are diverse and fluid, with no one model yet becoming the norm. But while Aboriginal peoples engaged in bushfire management may sometimes be acting as employees of settler state agencies, or employees of Aboriginal organisations, or private contractors, these realities do not well explain how those involved imagine the immediate and longer-term meaning of their work. Drawing on fieldwork in southeast Australia and the Northern Territory, this paper reflects on the discursive framings placed around Aboriginal bushfire management initiatives, focusing in particular on ideas of revitalisation, restoration and experimentation. To what extent does the recent intensification of Aboriginal bushfire management initiatives in Australia, often framed as a 'return,' also involve the return or revival of familiar imaginaries of economic and social development?
Development interventions both vivifying and mortiferous: replacement, ruination and revitalisation in ecological and cultural systems