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The perpetuation of prejudice: Representations of Aboriginies in the 'Society and Environment 1' school text and the effect this may have on attitudes toward Aboriginal issues and reconciliation

Mitchener, Mary Louise (2003) The perpetuation of prejudice: Representations of Aboriginies in the 'Society and Environment 1' school text and the effect this may have on attitudes toward Aboriginal issues and reconciliation. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Many Australians are unaware that Aboriginal people have only been citizens in their own land since 1967. This thesis examines how modem prejudice, a subtle form of discrimination, can be invisible to non-Indigenous Australians. Lack of accurate information about Aboriginal culture maintains urban myths about Aboriginal social structures. The year 8 School text, prescribed for Studies of Society and Environment by the Western Australian Curriculum Council, exhibits a museum or 'tea towel' approach in its representations of Aboriginal people and culture. Teacher training courses in Society and Environment do not recommend this approach, and discuss the dangers of reinforcing negative stereotypes when employing this method. There is incongruence between the efforts of the Department for Education, Employment and Training, the way teachers are trained and this text as a classroom teaching tool. This thesis aims to explore the symbiotic relationship between Australian politics and education. A psychological perspective illustrates underlying dynamics of attitude formation and prejudice. By 'othering' representations of Aborigines as 'noble savages', it may effect non-Indigenous attitudes toward Aboriginal issues and hinder a co-existence, true Reconciliation.

Publication Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: repository@murdoch.edu.au. Thank you.
Supervisor: Trees, Kathryn
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/41277
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