As two Aboriginal women from the lands now known as Australia, we seek to combine our disciplinary knowledges of education and community development to offer an Indigenous autoethnographic account on the tensions involved when working for our communities, yet within systems and structures of whiteness. To do this, we draw on whiteness studies to conceptualise the ‘disembodied expert’. Expertise becomes ‘disembodied’ when it is decoupled from the knower’s standpoint, ontology, and raced and gendered corporeal form, particularly the feet that connect to Land and Mother beneath. This detachment results in a severing of accountability to community, ancestors, and Country. We propose the action of ‘refusal’ as an everyday assertion of agency within systems such as the Indigenous Affairs and human rights industries that tend to privilege ‘disembodied experts’.
- disembodied expert
- Indigenous autoethnography