A Third space social enterprise

closing the gap through cross-cultural learning

Martin Brueckner, Rochelle Spencer, Gareth Wise, Banduk Marika

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Australian government policy envisages that pervasive socio-economic disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians be overcome by economic mainstreaming. Critics, however, consider the political attempt at 'Closing the Gap' between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to be ineffective in the absence of material improvements in Indigenous welfare statistics. At issue also are the colonial mindsets and structures that have given rise to Indigenous disadvantage in the first place and the fact that economic mainstreaming largely occurs on the terms of the colonisers to enable the participation of Aboriginal people in the formal economy, which is itself a construct of the privileged. It is in this context that this paper employs a Bhabhaian perspective, exploring the work of an Indigenous social enterprise operating in north-east Arnhem Land, an organisation that is understood here as a 'third space' for cross-cultural learning. The third space enterprise is presented as an alternative pathway for Indigenous economic participation, one that is without the assimilation pressures commonly associated with the Closing the Gap policy approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-32
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian Aboriginal Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

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    Brueckner, M., Spencer, R., Wise, G., & Marika, B. (2016). A Third space social enterprise: closing the gap through cross-cultural learning. Australian Aboriginal Studies, 2016(2), 18-32.