Antipodean patrimonialism? Squattocracy, democracy and land rights in Australia

Miller, P 2015, 'Antipodean patrimonialism? Squattocracy, democracy and land rights in Australia', Political Power and Social Theory: Patrimonial Capitalism and Empire, vol. 28, pp. 137-163.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Antipodean patrimonialism? Squattocracy, democracy and land rights in Australia
Author(s) Miller, P
Year 2015
Journal name Political Power and Social Theory: Patrimonial Capitalism and Empire
Volume number 28
Start page 137
End page 163
Total pages 27
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract This paper considers whether the term patrimonialism can be applied to one racially bifurcated aspect of Australian history: the relations between 'squatters' and those with competing civil and property claims. From the perspective of white settlers, the power of pastoralists who acquired use rights over vast stretches of land in late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries represented a challenge to rural settlement, economic development, the right to vote, workers' rights and parliamentary democracy. From the perspective of Aboriginal peoples who held traditional ownership of pastoral lands, squattocracy began with armed conflict and ended with practices aimed at detailed government of their everyday life. More generally, as white settlers consolidated property rights to land, they expropriated Indigenous peoples' capacity to govern themselves. The paper concludes that there have been two distinct histories of patrimonialism in Australia. The Australian colonies were among the pioneers of 'universal' male and later female franchise in the nineteenth century; Aborigines gained (de jure) full citizenship only in the late 1960s. While the squatter's patrimonial rule over white settlers was short-lived, that over some groups of Aboriginal people persisted for more than a century.
Subject Race and Ethnic Relations
Keyword(s) Patrimonialism
Australia
Aborigines
squatters
land rights
pastoral industry
DOI - identifier 10.1108/S0198-871920150000028006
Copyright notice Copyright © 2015 Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN 0198-8719
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