Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 15 Issue 6 (November/December 2005), Pages 425-512

The psychic life of colonial power: racialised subjectivities, bodies and methods (pages 461-477)


Ongoing histories of racism in colonial nations such as Australia challenge us as academics to consider how we understand racism and its role in practices of both privilege and oppression. In this article we as two non‐indigenous people living in Australia attempt to work through issues of collective responsibility by focusing on what we believe are three key issues in the study of racism: 1) methodology and researcher subjectivity, 2) subjectification as a practice of racialisation and 3) racialised embodiment and its relation to power. In exploring these three issues we utilise theoretical interpretations of subjectivity and embodiment alongside a brief examination of a speech by Prime Minister Howard in order to elaborate our claim that racism is foundational to white subjectivities in Australia. By examining colonial violence and our relation to it, we seek to develop a framework within which psychological research on racism in Australia may disturb white claims to belonging by continuing to explore how racism works in the service of the ‘good nation’. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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