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A Different Inequality
A Different Inequality

A Different Inequality

The Politics of Debate About Remote Aboriginal Australia


224 Pages, 5 x 8

Formats: Trade Paper, EPUB

Trade Paper, $27.95 (US $27.95) (CA $30.95)

Publication Date: November 2011

ISBN 9781742370491

Rights: US, CA, CN, KR & TW

Allen & Unwin (Nov 2011)


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An exploration of why both the right and left of politics have so failed remote Aboriginal Australians, and why until policymakers and researchers take into account both cultural difference and inequality, we will not come anywhere near closing the gapGreat beauty is juxtaposed with seemingly endless grief in remote Aboriginal Australia. Communities which produce magnificent art and maintain ancient ways also face extremes of social stress. Why does our society seem to get it so wrong for remote Aboriginal communities? Why, despite decades of consultation and policy shifts, can't governments introduce initiatives that will really close the gap? Why do critics and scholars alike struggle to make sense of the situation? Diane Austin-Broos looks beyond the dire living conditions, lack of employment opportunities, misspent funds, and wrangles over resources, to ask where the obstacles really lie. Drawing on her extensive experience as an anthropologist, she identifies a polarization in the debate about these communities which leads to either ineffective policies or paralysis. She argues that until we find ways to acknowledge both cultural difference and inequality, we will not overcome this impasse. The way forward can't be a trade-off between land rights and employment, but needs to encompass both. This is a unique insight which will reshape not only the debate about remote Aboriginal communities, but also what happens on the ground.


"A must read for anybody with a serious interest in understanding the current conflicted views about remote Aboriginal futures."  —Nicolas Peterson, professor of anthropology, Australian National University

"In this insightful and different book Austin-Broos challenges us all."  —Bob Gregory, professor of economics, Australian National University

"A very instructive study, illustrating the importance of turning the anthropological perspective not only on anthropology but on public and political discussions that employ 'anthropological' ideas and information." — Anthroplogy Review Database

Author Biography

Diane Austin-Broos is a professor of anthropology at the University of Sydney. She is the author of Arrernte Present, Arrernte Past. Fred R. Meyers is a professor of anthropology at New York University, and the author of The Empire of Things and Painting Culture. He lives in New York City.