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Australian housing policy, misrecognition and Indigenous population mobility

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 17:00 authored by Daphne HabibisDaphne Habibis
Policy initiatives in remote Indigenous Australia aim to improve Indigenous health and well-being, and reduce homelessness. But they have raised controversy because they impinge on Indigenous aspirations to remain on homeland communities, require mainstreaming of Indigenous housing and transfer Indigenous land to the state. This paper uses recognition theory to argue that if policies of normalization are imposed on remote living Indigenous people in ways that take insufficient account of their cultural realities they may be experienced as a form of misrecognition and have detrimental policy effects. The paper examines the responses of remote living Indigenous people to the National Partnerships at the time of their introduction in 2009–2010. Drawing on interview and administrative data from a national study on Indigenous population mobility, the paper argues although the policies have been welcomed, they have also been a source of anxiety and anger. These feelings are associated with a sense of violated justice arising from experiences of misrecognition. The paper argues this can lead tenants to depart their homes as a culturally sanctioned form of resistance to state control. This population mobility is associated with homelessness because it takes place in the context of housing exclusion. Policy implications include developing new models of intercultural professional practice and employing a capacity-building approach to local Indigenous organisations.


Publication title

Housing Studies










School of Social Sciences


Taylor and Francis

Place of publication


Rights statement

Copyright 2013 Taylor & Francis

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community services not elsewhere classified