Managing Indigeneity, Cultivating Citizens: Reconciliation Action Plans in Australian Organizations
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CitationLloyd, Charlotte. 2019. Managing Indigeneity, Cultivating Citizens: Reconciliation Action Plans in Australian Organizations. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractAt its core, this dissertation is concerned with the widespread failure of liberal democratic citizenship to uphold rights and facilitate social membership for ethno-racial minority groups and Indigenous peoples. Specifically, this dissertation takes stock of Australian reconciliation, in particular its flagship Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) program, after a quarter of a century of formal, state-sponsored reconciliation. On one hand, the wide spectrum of opinions about reconciliation as a failure versus an ongoing national project presents an interesting sociological puzzle— how do some social actors come to partner with the state on conciliatory citizenship project of reconciliation whereas others reject reconciliation as a framework for intergroup relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people? At the same time, my dissertation presents a clear and rigorous analysis of state-driven reconciliation: how does Australian reconciliation ask citizens to conceptualize and practice citizenship and Australian identity? And how does reconciliation imagine, enable and constrain relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians? Above all this dissertation strives to lay a strong empirical foundation for debates about the future of Australian reconciliation in the post-Uluru era.
The dissertation introduces citizenship project as a useful concept for understanding and comparing large-scale collaboration between the state, other collective social actors, and individuals to change an existing citizenship regime in accordance with a set of socio-political ideals. I find that the conciliatory norms and narratives of Australia’s reconciliation citizenship project promote the acknowledgement and celebration of Indigenous history, culture and people in public life and emphasize voluntary, private action to ameliorate Indigenous / non-Indigenous socio-economic inequalities. At the same time, I find that Australia’s conciliatory citizenship project obscures the role of political and economic structures in ongoing racialized hierarchies and has constrained structural reform as a strategy for combatting racialized injustice. I further argue that conciliatory norms and priorities of the Australian citizenship project of reconciliation are so thoroughly institutionalized that they will continue to influence Australian conceptualizations of Indigenous / non-Indigenous difference and aspirations for intergroup relations for many years, easily decades, to come. I base these claims on a rigorous empirical study involving 70 semi-structured interviews, over 100 contact hours with case study organizations and extensive documentary research on Australia’s globally unique RAP project.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42013077
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