'Who you is?' Work and identity in Aboriginal New South Wales

Lorraine Gibson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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Ideas and practices relating to work, productivity and leisure are a source of much disagreement and ill feeling between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Australia. For dominant Western cultures, labour in its most common guise of ‘work’ offers a cogent means through which people come to know themselves and become known to others (Crawford 1985). How does this notion translate to Indigenous social realms? This chapter offers an ethnographically grounded examination of the intersections between work, employment and identity for Indigenous people living in a country town in far western New South Wales, Australia.1 What does it mean to be a productive and valued person within Aboriginal society and in what ways is this tied to and/or antithetical to participation in the mainstream economy? How are Aboriginal people figuring ideas of work and productivity as a means to forging a particular identity? This chapter explores the tacit and reflexive cultural import of these questions and some of their lived effects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIndigenous participation in Australian economies
Subtitle of host publicationhistorical and anthropological perspectives
EditorsIan Keen
Place of PublicationCanberra
PublisherANU E Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781921666865
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Copyright retained by author(s). Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author and according to publisher conditions. For further reproduction rights please contact the publisher at http://epress.anu.edu.au/.


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