Being/nothing: native title and fantasy fulfilment

Katherine Biber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper proceeds from the idea that the nation is a fantasy, an imaginary zone through which identity, belonging and control are mediated. I explore the consequences of imagining the nation in this way by reading the formative Australian cases through which Native title jurisprudence developed in this country. Those cases - Mabo, Wik and Yorta Yorta - and the public discourses surrounding them reveal the competing national fantasies at stake in disputes over property, recognition and co-existence. Using the theoretical writing of psychoanalytic scholars Slavoj Žižek and Julia Kristeva, and the critique of nationalist practices from the work of Benedict Anderson and Ghassan Hage, I interrogate what it means to possess the nation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalIndigenous law journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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