Introduction: Locating an Australia-wide anthropology

Gillian Cowlishaw*, Lorraine Gibson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Citation (Scopus)


Ethnographic research concerning Aboriginal social life in the earlier settled areas of the continent has formed a minor strand within the body of Australian anthropological research. Yet these studies speak directly to the current national discourse concerning distressing conditions in many Aboriginal communities in the north. The kind of anthropology generated in South East Australia has always sought to do more than simply depict particular collective worlds-it also addresses how they are made, particularly in conditions of upheaval, relocation and engagement with state institutions and the nation's ideologies. By drawing attention to one kind of border, that between cultural/social worlds we hope to overcome another boundary, that between ethnographies of the north and the south. To this end, we draw attention to the process of boundary making that has been a crucial dynamic within the changing historical and social configurations that have shaped Aboriginal experiences of the social world. Thus, instead of reporting on the significance of cultural characteristics, this collection shifts attention to relationships with others, with the state and the encompassing society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-14
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Australianist anthropology
  • Borders
  • Located anthropology


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