STOP in the Name of Who's Law? Driving and the Regulation of Contested Space in Central Australia

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Journal Article
Social & Legal Studies, 2013, 22 (1), pp. 43 - 66
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This article emerges from a study of the incidence of Indigenous driving offending conducted by the authors in the Northern Territory (NT) from 2006 to 2010 on two central Australian communities. It demonstrates how new patterns of law enforcement, set in train by an `Emergency Intervention in 2007, ostensibly to tackle child sexual abuse and family violence, led to a dramatic increase in the criminalisation of Indigenous people for driving-related offending. We suggest that the criminalisation of driving-related offending was part of a neocolonial turn in the NT through which the state sought to discipline, normalise and incorporate as yet uncolonised, or unevenly colonised, dimensions of Indigenous domain into the Australian mainstream. In terms of methodology, we adopted a mix of quantitative and qualitative approaches, blending criminal justice and policing data with insights from criminological, anthropological and postcolonial theory. We argue that running together the insights from different disciplinary traditions is necessary to tease out the nuances, ambiguities and complexities of crime control strategies, and their impact, in postcolonial contexts.
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