The impact of criminalisation on Aboriginal men’s selfhood

Monday, 1 July 2019
Shea Spierings

Indigenous people currently comprise 28% of the prisoner population nationally, with state and territory Indigenous prisoner populations ranging from 9% in Victoria to as much as 84% in the Northern Territory. These statistics evidence the role that criminalisation plays between Aboriginal people and the Australian state. Equally striking is that 90% of Indigenous inmates are men. However, these statistics only tell the structural part of the story. What is not well known, is how such experiences of criminalisation influence Aboriginal men’s understandings of selfhood. The purpose of this project is to address the absence of Aboriginal men’s voices on the impact that criminalisation has on our understandings of who we are. The innovative methodology of this project utilises tools that foreground the voices of Aboriginal men and their closest of kin to constitute a web of personal relations and events with Aboriginal men at the centre. This enables the unpacking of complex processes that influence these men’s perceptions of who they are. This presentation offers the preliminary findings of a PhD thesis that investigates Aboriginal men’s perspectives on the impact that criminalisation has on their selfhood.