Waging paperfare: Subverting the damage of extractive capitalism in Kakadu

Waging paperfare: Subverting the damage of extractive capitalism in Kakadu Journal Article


  • Author(s): Lea, Tess, Howey, Kirsty, O'Brien, Justin
  • Published: 2018

Abstract: Drawing on campaigns waged and administrative burdens managed by the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (GAC) in Kakadu National Park to manage the effects of existing uranium mining and further proposed mining, this article draws attention to some of the techniques and coalitions that GAC has created to manage its would-be managers. It uses the case of monitoring the operations and particularly the rehabilitation of the Ranger Uranium mine and of halting the opening of a second mine, known as Jabiluka, to consider the less conspicuous paperwork battles that take place amid and in the aftermath of these public battles. In considering these contests, we argue that the double valency of holding to account needs to be considered, to avoid dichotomising Indigenous people as either co-opted by or opposed to administration, a bifurcation which fails to recognize the complexity and inevitability of contemporary Indigenous management regimes. This is neither a celebration of Indigenous counter-administration, nor a false positing of Aboriginal alternatives to institutionalized worlds. Concluding, we note that when the organizational toil of drawing the locus of power in decision-making towards Aboriginal interests is made apparent, the notion that there is an alternative to institutionalized forces of settler colonialism, represented by Indigenous resistance, is complicated. We mark this organizational work as evidencing the unrelenting nature of administrative violence under active colonization.

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Suggested Citation
Lea, Tess, Howey, Kirsty, O'Brien, Justin, 2018, Waging paperfare: Subverting the damage of extractive capitalism in Kakadu, Journal Article, viewed 30 November 2023, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=13897.

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