Savagery and civilisation: From terra nullius to the 'tide of History"

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Title Savagery and civilisation: From terra nullius to the 'tide of History"
Author Buchan, Bruce Alexander; Heath, Mary
Journal Name Ethnicities
Editor Stephen May
Year Published 2006
Place of publication Thousand Oaks, California
Publisher SAGE
Abstract This article argues that the colonization of Australia was justified by denying that Indigenous peoples possessed recognizable societies, law, property rights or sovereignty. This denial, in turn, rests upon the supposition that Indigenous Australians were living in a 'savage', pre-civilized state: the state of nature of liberal theory. Such concepts, deeply embedded in western political thought, informed the view that Australia was a terra nullius or unowned land. Consequently, the contrast between 'savagery' and its counterpart, 'civilization' formed a critical element of colonial arguments that Australia could be colonized without either a war of 'conquest', or making a treaty. We argue here that more than 14 years after the rejection of terra nullius in Australian law, its legacy and the assumptions that underpinned it persist in the concepts more recent debates deploy as well as in the concept of terra nullius that some of these debates rehabilitate.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Publisher URI
Alternative URI
Volume 6
Issue Number 1
Page from 5
Page to 26
ISSN 1468-7968
Date Accessioned 2007-02-26
Language en_AU
Research Centre ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security
Faculty Faculty of Arts
Subject PRE2009-Political Theory and Political Philosophy
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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