Post-disciplinary Responses to Positivism’s Punitiveness

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Global Indigeneity, 2018, 3 (1), pp. 1 - 33 (34)
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This article posits a post-disciplinary framework to offer an alternative to the epistemological premise of positivist criminology. We seek to destabilise the punitive, deficit analysis of Indigenous people by Western, positivist Criminology. Instead, we look towards Indigenous strengths and resilience to counter deficit narratives about Indigenous people that have served to over-criminalise and over-incarcerate Indigenous peoples since colonisation. In doing so, we argue that positivist disciplinary knowledge is complicit in undermining Indigenous knowledges. We provide a case study that contrasts an institutional approach to researching ‘grog trials’ with the approach of the Tangentyere Research Hub, our ongoing research partner in Alice Springs (Central Australia). Our case study demonstrates the benefits of Tangentyere’s reliance on local Indigenous knowledges and perspectives, rather than disciplinary assumptions, for empowering, strengthening and supporting Indigenous communities and self-governance. In attempting to decolonise criminology, we advance a postdisciplinary approach that highlights questions of Indigenous wellbeing and its relationship with Indigenous self-determination over inquiries into Indigenous crime and the punitive role of the state.
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