Journal article

Indigenous family life in Australia: A history of difference and deficit

Laura Dunstan, Belinda Hewitt, Sana Nakata

Australian Journal of Social Issues | Wiley-Blackwell | Published : 2020


Indigenous family life has been a key target of family and child policies in Australia since colonisation. In this paper, we identify four main policy eras that have shaped the national and state policy frameworks that have impacted Indigenous families: the protectionism, assimilation, self‐determination and neoliberalism eras. Our analysis of these national and state policy frameworks reveals an enduring and negative conceptualisation of Indigenous family life. This conceptualisation continues to position Indigenous families as deficient and dysfunctional compared with a white, Anglo‐Australian family ideal. This contributes to the reproduction of paternalistic policy settings and the racia..

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