The Hybrid Economy Topic Guide

The Hybrid Economy Topic Guide Report

  • Author(s): Susie Russell
  • Published: 2011
  • Publisher: Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences, Australian National University

Abstract: Over the past ten years, Jon Altman has theorised a model of economic practice known as the hybrid economy, and has developed its implications in his own writings and in collaboration with others. The hybrid economy model is one means of recognising the existence of and interdependencies between diverse and distinctive kinds of economic activity undertaken by Indigenous people in remote and regional Australia. To the conventional two sector conceptualisation of the economy (market/private and state/ public), Altman adds a third: what he terms the ‘customary’ sector. The customary sector is constituted by non-monetised activities, such as fishing, hunting and gathering, that emerge from and reaffirm dynamic Indigenous connections to country and ways of being. The customary economy is especially salient where the settler-colonial state arrived on Aboriginal lands relatively recently (Altman et al. 2009: 18). For Altman, the customary economy is central to sustainable livelihoods on the Indigenous estate. Altman’s hybrid economy model was originally based on observations of productive regimes on Kuninjku outstations/homelands in western Arnhem Land thirty years ago. The model has been developed primarily with reference to change and continuity in the Kuninjku economy. However, the hybrid economy has also been used to examine other regional and remote Aboriginal contexts.

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Susie Russell, 2011, The Hybrid Economy Topic Guide, Report, viewed 30 November 2023,

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