In 1991 Australia instigated a national reconciliation project between indigenous and non-indigenous people. Despite being the longest-running reconciliation process, there has been no authoritative study of Australian reconciliation to date. Reconciliation and Colonial Power is the first book to analyze Australian reconciliation as a process, filling a significant gap in theoretical and empirical understanding. Damien Short offers a sociological interpretation of this process which suggests that, rather than being a genuine attempt at atonement, Australian reconciliation is perhaps better understood as the latest stage in the colonial project. He considers the relevance of acknowledgement and apology, restitution and rights, nation building and state legitimacy to the reconciliation project. This work compliments the burgeoning literature on reconciliation theory and practice and provides fertile material for comparisons with reconciliation processes in other countries such as Chile and South Africa.
'In this major contribution to the emerging field of the sociology of rights, Damien Short offers a concise but comprehensive criticism of the impact of colonialism on the spirit of the Aboriginal people, reaching out to draw valuable comparisons with other colonial realities in Canada, New Zealand and the US. A remarkable and compassionate achievement in historical and political sociology, Reconciliation and Colonial Power is a substantial contribution to our understanding of the roots of contemporary injustice and the failure of legal interventions to produce significant political change.' Bryan S. Turner, National University of Singapore 'Reconciliation and Colonial Power is an excellent piece of work. It's radically truthful and cuts to the heart of the problem from an indigenous perspective, and that of a settler with open eyes and honest conscience. Damien Short draws on a wide range of primary and secondary sources to support his argument that Australia's reconciliation process was fundamentally flawed. He provides a much needed critique of the process and in the final chapter he sets out his own vision for decolonization and justice.' Taiaiake Alfred, University of Victoria, Canada 'An incisive and important account of recent Australian efforts to achieve reconciliation with indigenous peoples in that country. One of the great merits of this book is that the author has listened to aboriginal people and their evaluation of the reconciliation process. His analysis demonstrates why reconciliation cannot be achieved without attending to historical and continuing injustice.' Peter H. Russell, University of Toronto, Canada 'Damien Short provides a highly informative account of the emergence, unfolding and eventual failure of the official Australian reconciliation process between 1991 and 2001, with particular emphasis on the fate of native title after Mabo and Wik and the impact of the Stolen Generations Report. This book is a powerful indictment of Australia