Teaching an Indigenous Sociology: A response to current debate within within Australian sociology

Teaching an Indigenous Sociology: A response to current debate within within Australian sociology Thesis

Faculty of Education & Arts

  • Author(s): Butler, Kathleen
  • Published: 2009
  • Publisher: University of Newcastle
  • Volume: PhD

Abstract: Since the 1970’s, there has been a growing impetus in Australian education to include Aboriginal issues across the full range of educational settings, from pre-school to tertiary levels. In practice, the provision of an Aboriginal perspective has often lead to socio-cultural constructions of Aboriginal people that tend to reflect, rather than contest, hegemonic understandings of Aboriginal people and culture. In doing this some fundamental misconceptions are continuing to have currency within mainstream Australia, becoming more entrenched due to the ascribed legitimacy of the educational institutions. The discipline of sociology has recently self-identified an absence in its scholarship related to provision of comment on Aboriginal issues. The challenge for the future is to find meaningful alternatives that allow for the diversity of Aboriginal cultures and histories to be interpreted through a multiplicity of cultural subjectivities. Given the diversity of both Aboriginal cultures and the student cohorts examining them, an essentialising curriculum based on the inclusion of Aboriginal content is ultimately unhelpful. Rather, the development of critical pedagogies actively seeking a localised praxis is of far greater utility. This thesis considers the author’s pedagogical approach to teaching Aboriginal perspectives within the mainstream discipline of sociology at a regional university in New South Wales, Australia. Methodologically, the thesis is framed on a syncretic model between the Western mode of auto-ethnography and the Indigenous narrative tribalography. It includes a deeply reflexive component that aims to illustrate the way the Aboriginal lived experience can inform teaching, as well as a more standard textual engagement with academic literature and debate. Specific focus will be applied to consideration of The Dreaming as a foundational Aboriginal philosophy.

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Suggested Citation
Butler, Kathleen, 2009, Teaching an Indigenous Sociology: A response to current debate within within Australian sociology, Volume:PhD, Thesis, viewed 19 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=4516.

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