University Of Tasmania

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Exploring and researching the indigenous life course

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-22, 06:03 authored by Margaret WalterMargaret Walter
This paper addresses the question of how the life course approach can be applied to understand the experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. A life course approach explainslife trajectories within the structural, social, and cultural contexts in which lives are lived. One problem for life course researchers focused on Indigenous populations is data limitations. Available Indigenous data cannot, and do not, yield meaningful portraits of the embodied realities of Indigenous lives. A second problem is the tendency to a deficit approach which always constructs Indigeneity as the problem. One new approach is the concept of a lifeworld and an understanding of life course as circular, not linear and deeply embedded within a historical context of decolonisation, marginalisation and disadvantage. Going forward Indigenous life course research must be framed by Indigenous lived realities, which are distinct from non-Indigenous lived realities. And Indigenous life course research must be Indigenous led. It may also be the right time to successfully advocate for the creation and curation of more relevant Indigenous data sources in Australia, to support a new approach.


Australian Research Council


Publication title

Life Course Centre Working Paper Series




School of Social Sciences


Institute for Social Science Research, the University of Queensland

Place of publication


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge

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