An urban frontier: respatializing government in remote Northern Australia

Daniel T. Fisher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This essay draws on ethnographic research with Aboriginal Australians living in the parks and bush spaces of a Northern Australian city to analyze some new governmental measures by which remoteness comes to irrupt within urban space and to adhere to particular categories of people who live in and move through this space. To address this question in contemporary Northern Australia is also to address the changing character of the Australian government of Aboriginal people as it moves away from issues of redress and justice toward a state of emergency ostensibly built on settler Australian compassion and humanitarian concern. It also means engaging with the mediatization of politics and its relation to the broader, discursive shaping of such spatial categories as remote and urban. I suggest that remoteness forms part of the armory of recent political efforts to reshape Aboriginal policy in Northern Australia. These efforts leverage remoteness to diagnose the ills of contemporary Aboriginal society, while producing remoteness itself as a constitutive feature of urban space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-166
Number of pages28
JournalCultural Anthropology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Anthropology of media
  • Indigenous Australia


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