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Introduction: Holding the Discipline of Sociology to Account

posted on 2023-05-22, 20:16 authored by Margaret WalterMargaret Walter, Kukutai, T, Henry, R, Gonzales, AA
This chapter sets out the rationale for the Handbook. Included are explanations of the central premise of Indigenous lifeworlds, how this concept is sociologically applied across the separate chapters, and the Handbook’s organizing structure. The chapter also includes a critique of how Indigenous Peoples are seen, understood, and represented within the discipline, leading in turn to the identification of sociology’s irreconcilable flaw: a studied and deeply embedded blind spot to colonization and colonialism. This critique leads the editors to question the validity of what sociology offers in the study of societies. This question has direct relevance to Anglo-colonized nations - Australia, Canada, the United States, and Aotearoa New Zealand - but also has global salience. Over the last 500 years, most modern nation-states have been either the perpetrators (and beneficiaries) or sites of colonization (or both). Yet the omission from most national narratives of their past and continuing benefitting from the dispossession of Indigenous Peoples is reproduced within the discipline’s studied blindness to colonization as the genesis and ongoing foundation of the structure and function of society. Any discipline whose approach is based on a societal delusion, the authors argue, especially one where the justification for its very existence is the scientific observation and explanation of that same society, might not be worthy of the title.


Publication title

The Oxford Handbook of Indigenous Sociology


M Walter, T Kukutai, AA Gonzales, and R Henr




School of Social Sciences


Oxford University Press

Place of publication

United Kingdom



Rights statement

Copyright 2022 Oxford University Press

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge