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Climate change and non-Indigenous belonging in postcolonial Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Emily PotterEmily Potter
The constitution of climate change as an ‘emergency’ invites an appeal to sovereign
power that is troubling in the context of Australia’s colonial history. Climate change is
an unsettling and dispossessing force that, while unprecedented in many ways, can be situated among a series of environmental and social crises that have shaped a discourse of anxious or insecure non-Indigenous belonging in this country. This discourse seeks to render non-Indigenous Australian place as secure and absolute, and understands environmental change as a threat to this goal. This threat appeals to an emergency framing, and in turn to a reassertion, in line with the insights of Agamben, of an exclusive sovereignty that rehearses the foundational dispossessions of colonization. At the same time, climate change is initiating new ways of conceptualizing human relations with place that challenge the value of sovereign status. It enacts realities that refuse a singular emergency and instead generate community from a reorientation of places, times and more-than-human relations. Thought in this way as a creative force that is shaping communities and environments, climate change becomes a source of critical insight for the possibilities of a decolonized future.

History

Journal

Continuum

Volume

27

Season

Special Issue: Cultural Reorientations and Comparative Colonialities

Pagination

30-40

Location

Melbourne, Vic.

ISSN

1030-4312

eISSN

1469-3666

Indigenous content

This research output may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. We apologise for any distress that may occur.

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2013, Taylor & Francis

Issue

1

Publisher

Routledge