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Love and the stranger: Intimate relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in a very remote Aboriginal town, northern Australia
journal contributionposted on 2015-04-01, 00:00 authored by Cameo Dalley
© 2015 Australian Anthropological Society. Intimate relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people have generally been pursued within the transactional modalities afforded by economy and kinship (e.g. Hamilton 1972; Tonkinson 1990; Redmond 2005). A parallel anthropological literature (e.g. Myers 1979; Venkatesan et al. 2011), however, has critiqued these emphases, and has instead highlighted the need to consider the emotional experiences of individuals. One of the types of individuals considered here is the stranger, a figurative character that Simmel (1950: 403) described as 'no owner of soil'. In this paper I explore the experiences of one of these strangers, 'Andrew', a non-Aboriginal man who was the partner of an Aboriginal woman and living in the remote Aboriginal town of Mornington Island in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria. In interpreting Andrew's experiences, I argue for an analytic frame based on understanding how transformative personal encounters including love can bring together and sustain relationships between those of (sometimes) vastly different socio-cultural backgrounds.