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date: 07 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter draws on the examples of the Australian Government’s military intervention in indigenous communities in Australia’s Northern Territory and the report on child sexual abuse that the Government used to legitimate that intervention—in spite of opposition from the report’s authors—in order to examine the destructive effects of such temporal categories as ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’. The chapter argues that the familiar opposition between the ‘modern’ world and ‘traditional’ communities leads far too easily to the perception that the latter must be in danger of breaking down, with destructive consequences for the individuals concerned, as a result of interaction with the former.

Keywords: Modern, traditional, indigenous peoples, Australia, universal history

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