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Native Title in Australia


  • Page extent: 304 pages
  • Size: 229 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.45 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521011907)

Native title has often been one of the most controversial political, legal and indeed moral issues in Australia. Ever since the High Court's Mabo decision of 1992, the attempt to understand and adapt native title to different contexts and claims has been an ongoing concern for that broad range of people involved with claims. In this book, originally published in 2003, Peter Sutton sets out fundamental anthropological issues to do with customary rights, kinship, identity, spirituality and so on that are relevant for lawyers and others working on title claims. Sutton offers a critical discussion of anthropological findings in the field of Aboriginal traditional interests in land and waters, focusing on the kinds of customary rights that are 'held' in Aboriginal 'countries', the types of groups whose members have been found to enjoy those rights, and how such groups have fared over the last 200 years of Australian history.

• A comprehensive account of Aboriginal land tenure systems using a historical perspective • Introduces the non-specialist reader to a complex field in clear language • Offers anthropological and legal specialists critical analyses of the topics at the heart of proof and recognition of native title


List of figures; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Map; 1. Kinds of rights in country; 2. Local organisation before the land claims era; 3. Aboriginal country groups; 4. Atomism versus collectivism; 5. Underlying and proximate customary titles; 6. The system question; 7. Kinship, filiation and Aboriginal land tenure; 8. Families of polity; Notes; References; Index.


Review of the hardback: '… it is good to have this comprehensive oeuvre. Anthropologists engaged in native title work will find it indispensable.' Anthropos

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