Indigenous Agency and Mineral Development: A Cautionary Note
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There is a tendency in recent literature to emphasise the transformative power of Indigenous agency, particularly in relation to resource development projects on Indigenous lands. This paper, utilising a case study of mineral development in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia, argues that while Indigenous agency proved a critical factor in determining the outcomes for Indigenous people, given the findings from this case study, it is perilous to overstate the transformative capacity of Indigenous agency in the face of the fundamental structural realities of mineral development in a capitalist economy, particularly the structural power of the state. The analysis of the structural power of the state in this paper also focuses upon the discursive forces that can undermine Indigenous agency, and reinforce the structural power of the state. The paper calls for caution in overstating the transformative power of Indigenous agency in light of these findings.
Canadian Political Science Conference 2009 Papers
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