On gammon, global noise and indigenous heterogeneity: Words as things in Aboriginal public culture

Daniel Fisher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

'Gammon', a term derived from English and which can be glossed in Aboriginal Australia as meaning fake, cheap or broken, is shared across varieties of Aboriginal English and has become affectionately revered as icon of an intra-Aboriginal public culture. The shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines gammon as the distraction proffered as one's pockets are picked and, more generally, as humbug or nonsense - glosses which capture the playful dissimulation and 'put-ons' of which gammon consists in northern Australia. This article details the correspondence between gammon as a style of intra-Aboriginal verbal play, neoliberal critiques of past Aboriginal policy and transnational concerns with authenticity in musical popular culture. I argue that Gammon's mediatized resonance speaks at once to a colonially derived Aboriginal social complexity, recent, neoliberal shifts in the framework of Aboriginal government, and to discourses of the real in popular musical media.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-286
Number of pages22
JournalCritique of Anthropology
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Aboriginal Australia
  • Aboriginal English
  • hip hop
  • indigenous media
  • music
  • neoliberalism
  • performance

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