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Kinship and conflict : a study of an aboriginal community in northern Arnhem Land

CollectionsANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: Kinship and conflict : a study of an aboriginal community in northern Arnhem Land
Author(s): Hiatt, L. R.
Date published: 1965
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University
This is a study of kinship and conflict among a group of Aborigines who only recently abandoned their nomadic existence to live on a government settlement. Given the current rate of change in Australia, it will be among the last first-hand accounts of traditional Aboriginal social life. The book has two main aims. The first is to correct the impression that Aborigines are automata mechanically following tribal law in everything they do, or, as it has been put recently, 'algebraic electronic computets ticking away with no problem to solve. The second is to present for the first time a systematic analysis of disputes in an Aboriginal community, most of them over women. Far more is known, and written, about Australian social organizations than about clashes of interest within them. The author demonstrates clearly that a better knowledge of the second subject might have prevented misunderstandings about the first. The fact that this is a work of scholarship does not prevent the essential drama of these complex situations from showing through. The author's use of diagram to illuminate the different relationships is particularly useful.


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