Accepted paper:

Horizons of healing: modes of power in seeking solace and hope through Australia's Stolen Generation's reparation campaigns

Author:

Fiona Murphy (Queen's University Belfast)

Paper short abstract:

The focus of this paper is to chart through ethnographic vignettes how the lives of members of Australia's Stolen Generations are perceived as becoming more liveable through political and social movements such as campaigns for (financial and symbolic) reparations.

Paper long abstract:

There is a long history in Australia of Indigenous Australians being removed from their families to be institutionalised or adopted under the guise of assimilation policies (the Stolen Generations). With the tabling of the Bringing Them Home report (1997) -which was the result of an inquiry into these forcible removals- the Stolen Generations - have been collectively pursuing different forms of reparation. This paper asks how such campaigns for reparation can engender a particular kind of 'hopefulness' that sees these movements as potentially capable of bringing forth a remedy to suffering and trauma, "the sense that one may become other or more than one presently is or was fated to be" (Jackson 2011:xi). This, however, is a fraught space of possibility and hopefulness that is structured by political forces and societal movements where members of the Stolen Generations struggle daily to make their lives more liveable. For some members of the Stolen Generations such movements enliven, even politicise their lives in ways that bring solace, even healing. For others, however, the collective, political nature of such movements can become limiting horizons of possibility or censure (e.g. an apology not on their terms), even further- disabling, in the sense that they find themselves unable to move beyond their experience or story of removal. The focus of this paper is thus ultimately to chart through ethnographic vignettes how such lives are perceived as becoming more liveable through political and social movements such as campaigns for (financial and symbolic) reparations.

panel P121
Mobility, power and possibility: the search for liveable lives [ANTHROMOB]