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Governing pluralistic liberal democratic societies and metis knowledge: the problem of Indigenous unemployment


Di Giorgio, AV and Habibis, D, Governing pluralistic liberal democratic societies and metis knowledge: the problem of Indigenous unemployment, Journal of Sociology Article Epub ahead of print. ISSN 1440-7833 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 The Author

DOI: doi:10.1177/1440783318766676


High rates of unemployment among Indigenous Australians in comparison to non-Indigenous Australians have been rendered a public policy problem by successive Australian governments. The solutions are often coercive forms of neoliberal governance. However, where Indigenous people are driven by different motivations, ideas and aspirations in relation to work, Indigenous employment policies face the issue of epistemological dissonance. This article aims to contribute to understandings of unsuccessful Indigenous employment policy outcomes by introducing a new conceptualisation of policy and governance limitations and social action. An overview of governmentality literature is coupled with a review of the concept of metis knowledge – a form of know-how that comes from contextualised, practical experience – and its role in limiting the aims of governance. Indigenous employment policy that governs through pedagogical technologies applied to the Indigenous workforce demonstrates this limitation through its assumptions that the metis knowledge required to become ‘work-ready’ can be transferred unproblematically.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Indigenous, employment, governance, Indigenous policy, pedagogy
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Urban sociology and community studies
Objective Division:Indigenous
Objective Group:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community services
Objective Field:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community services not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Di Giorgio, AV (Mr Alexander Di Giorgio)
UTAS Author:Habibis, D (Associate Professor Daphne Habibis)
ID Code:125924
Year Published:2018
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (LP130100622)
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2018-05-15
Last Modified:2018-12-03

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