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Belonging Together: Dealing with the politics of disenchantment in Australian Indigenous policy


Belonging together provides a unique overview of the trajectory of current Indigenous policy, with Sullivan advancing a new consolidated approach to Indigenous policy which moves beyond the debate over self-determination and assimilation. Instead, he suggests that the interests of Indigenous peoples, settlers and immigrants are fundamentally shared, and proposes adaptation on both sides, but particularly for the descendants of settlers and immigrants, to allow them to embrace the framing of their identity by an Indigenous presence.

Sullivan is also critical of the remote control of Indigenous lives from metropolitan centres, with long lines of bureaucratic oversight that are inherently maladaptive and inefficient. Instead, he proposes regional measures for policy implementation and accountability.

Belonging together’s empirical studies of current policy implementation are an important contribution to the anthropology of policy and public administration.

Dr Patrick SullivanDr Patrick Sullivan’s work within Indigenous organisations has involved practical research and advice on issues of land use and distribution, community control of development, and governance. He is currently Research Fellow in Indigenous Regional Organisation, Governance and Public Policy at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and Adjunct Professor at the National Centre for Indigenous Studies (ANU).

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