‘Having to say everyday … I’m not black enough … I’m not white enough’. Discourses of Aboriginality in the Australian education context
(2017) Race Ethnicity and Education, 20 (6), pp. 737-751.
This paper interrogates discourses of Aboriginality about, and by, early career Aboriginal teachers as they negotiate their emergent professional identity in specific Australian school contexts. These discourses position the respondents via their ethnic and cultural background and intersect with self-positioning. This relates to the desire to be positioned as teacher rather than (only) as an ‘Aboriginal’ teacher. Consequently, the over-determination of Aboriginality includes such suppositions as the ‘think-look-do’ Aboriginality with a ‘natural’ connection to community, the ‘good’ Aboriginal teacher who fixes Aboriginal ‘problems’, the Aboriginal teacher as ‘Other’, and [the notion that] ‘Aboriginal work’ as easy, not real work and peripheral to core business. Through qualitative methodology, eleven Aboriginal teachers from the University of Sydney were interviewed. They were able to construct stories of early career teaching and the data was analysed to explore how the participants interpreted, accepted and/or resisted various discourses in their efforts to be agentic and resilient and to make a difference for the Aboriginal students they teach. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Aboriginal teachers; discourses; Foucault; narrative; relationships of power; teacher identity