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From academic heritage to Aboriginal priorities : anthropological responsibilities

Barbara Glowczewski

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1Throughout my 34 years of involvement with Aboriginal people across Australia, I have regularly chosen to respond to Aboriginal priorities against a certain academic heritage, illustrated by the refusal of some colleagues – in France or Australia – to recognise the importance of women’s agency in the society, the impact of history on Aboriginal ritual life and cosmology, the continuity of their culture in new forms of creativity, the respect of ethical protocols, the discrimination and social injustice suffered by Indigenous people and the legitimacy of their political struggles.

2In the mid 1970’s, no French scholar was doing fieldwork with Aboriginal people : students were introduced to Australia through classic studies on religion, totemism and kinship by Durkheim and Lévi-Strauss. The museum of African and Oceanian Arts was displaying sound documentation of the beautiful collection of bark paintings collected by Kupka in Arnhem Land, and research libraries offered monographies in English. In 1978, Lalai Dreamtime, a film shot with traditional rock art owners of the Kimberley, was awarded by the festival of Cinéma du Réel in Paris. The film maker, Michael Edols, and his team told me that an Aboriginal federation of Land Councils had been established with an Aboriginal ambassador in London : Shorty O’Neil. I went to London where I was briefed on the history of Aboriginal strikes and resistance, and given the advice to write to a Land Council to ask for a permit to do a field study in an Aboriginal settlement. I wrote to the Central Land Council in Alice Spring and was invited to do research in the old Hooker Creek reserve (where Mervyn Meggitt had worked in the 1950’s). The settlement was renamed Lajamanu since the Warlpiri people– with the assistance of some anthropologists (including Nic Peterson) – had just won a land claim on a huge territory of some 600 by 300 kms of desert and some grazier land.

3After my first fieldwork in 1979, I wrote an article in Le Monde (1980) which was titled “Aboriginal people come out of the reserve”, describing the Warlpiri people’s reuse of reclaimed land, their determination to maintain some aspects of their hunter-gatherer life style (like sleeping outside and investing time in rituals), their economic independence as royalty beneficiaries from mining companies who undertook exploration on their land in search of gold. I also mentioned their criticism of the Welfare system and of some Church representatives and administrators who still treated them “like dogs”. Translated in The Guardian (1980), this article pleased neither the missionaries nor some administrators, preventing me from getting a new permit to stay in Lajamanu. Even though permits were given by an Aboriginal organisation and an Aboriginal elected Council, I realized that the so-called “self-management” of Aboriginal communities was in fact overshadowed by a heavy interventionist bureaucracy that was not ready to allow any real Aboriginal self-determination. After defending my PhD thesis (1982), I was sent by a French publisher (Autrement) to do a survey of Aboriginal politics across Australia, and was then invited to come back to Lajamanu : Warlpiri people were full of questions about France, as 12 men were about to fly to Paris to make a huge sand painting at the Museum of Modern Art and dance at the Peter Brook Theatre in October 1983. Despite failure on the part of some of the media to reconcile what they called “stone age” performance with the humour and subtlety of the Warlpiri Statements in the catalogue and on radio, a fascination for Aboriginal people spread across France : many Aboriginal performers, artists, activists and film makers were going to be invited by various festivals, for shows, tours and workshops with all kinds of audiences (Glowczewski & Henry 2011).

  • 1 Weiner’s theory, which she presented in 1981 at the seminar of Maurice Godelier, inspired a chapter (...)

41984 in Lajamanu was a time of hope with intensive ritual activities and exchange between the Central and Western Deserts. Warlpiri did not call ritual activities “culture” yet but “business”. The Lajamanu school had a pioneer bilingual program and acquired a first video camera that was used by the Warlpiri for a film they made for a mining company to save the sacred site of the Granites from destruction. With the instalment of the satellite, the Warlpiri from three communities established the Tanami Network to broadcast their own videos and do teleconferencing with their relatives in jail or hospital. In those days there was no ban on packing trucks with people to travel as I did in a ritual convoy covering thousands of kilometres from Lajamanu to Docker River to witness the ceremonial transfer of the Kajirri initiation cycle. We stopped along the way in Yuendumu, for a women’s ritual (5 women joined our convoy in a Toyota driven by Françoise Dussart, then preparing her PhD). I had witnessed Kajirri 5 years before, in 1979, and with a 16mm camera filmed women’s rituals related to this male initiation cycle. Contrary to Mervyn Meggitt’s monograph Gadjeri (1966) which Stated that in the 1950s this ceremony was restricted to men, I discovered the importance of women during the 5 months of its performance. Both sexes performed their ritual activities in separate spaces but – since I slept in the women’s camp – I could see the women ritual “bosses” (Napanangka and Napangardi) daily discussing with one or two men what Dreaming tracks to celebrate. The women were celebrating Two Women (of Nampijinpa skin) who travelled from place to place with powers extending beyond current female social roles ; men were celebrating two heroes who travelled the same route and had not yet acquired the male social role. The initiation ceremony – with 22 young men in seclusion – was a form of Statement about an ideal sexual androgyny where each gender performs its cosmological autonomy separately, thereby creating a sort of polarity to assure the efficiency of the parallel celebrations. Indeed the women’s ritual role proved to be essential for the reproduction of the society, including the circulation of hairstrings, which struck me as being an example of female inalienable possessions described by Annette Weiner for Melanesia.1 On gender issues and women’s agency, debates were hot with French colleagues.

5My writings in the 1980s demonstrated the Warlpiri ingenuity of resistance through rituals and the dynamics of the Dreaming conceived as a space-time in feedback with the present : I rejected the notion of cyclical time and Aboriginal people as being outside of history, or that of reducing relations between people and their Dreamings to symbolism, that is to define totemism as simple nominalism (Lévi-Strauss, 1962). To me Dreamings were “in becoming” in the sense of Deleuze and Guattari, “devenirs”, through ritual performance and alliances between people, that is they constituted a process of assemblage (agencements) of subjectivisation between people, their totems and places rather than essentialised features of identification : Warlpiri practice exemplified tensions between affect and expression, individual and collective, a network of relations intertwining humans, non-humans and places, in a transformative way, where women and men had a complementary role. But in the 1980s such ideas were not popular in anthropology.

  • 2 The virtual secret realm needs to be actualised in ritual or through the birth of new children and (...)

6French psychoanalyst and philosopher Felix Guattari was struck by my interpretation of Warlpiri data : our discussions and further writings informed the work he elaborated after the publication of Anti-Oedipus with Deleuze (Guattari & Glowczewski 1987, Glowczewski 2011). I had translated two Warlpiri cosmological concepts in the following way : kankarlu, which means “above” and public, as “the actual” and kanunju, which means underneath and secret, as the virtual : men and women have different roles in the constant transformation of virtual into actual and vice versa.2 This analysis allowed me to step away from the exclusive oppositions between real and imaginary, nature and culture, which too often reduces Indigenous people to nature and the notion of the Dreaming to a mythical time. The Dreaming is a space-time matrix with past, present and future potentials : its expressions (the Dreamings as totems) are embodied in places, people and other things but they need to be reactivated through emotions during some rituals, nostalgia in exile and the happiness experienced in return to place, sleeping in special places, and dream revelations of new images and sounds to nourish the rituals. Painting on canvas also participated in this Dreaming enaction (in Varela’s sense).

7A group of women and men from the Warnayaka art centre in Lajamanu recently expressed their view in a forthcoming catalogue :

  • 3 Biddy Nungarrayi Long/Jurrah, Elizabeth Nungarrayi Ross, Judy Napangardi Martin, Lily Nungarrayi Ha (...)

« Without the connection between the land and the person the individual is lost, empty inside, not connected to anyone or anything or the land. If the connection is lost they won’t survive and their identity no longer exists. Jukurrpa is our life first. Jukurrpa connects us to our country. It is Law that makes it our right to our country. We can’t be sent away. »3

  • 4 Guattari’s Schizoanalytical cartographies (published in 1992, not translated in English; but see Ch (...)
  • 5 The Warlpiri found my hypercube a “good game” (Glowczewski 1989, 1991): Aboriginal kinship systems (...)

8Desert people’s “existential territories”4 – a concept from Guattari’s 1992 fourfold cartography – have multiple layers of universes of references and values : not only totemic songs, designs and dances, but also Dreamings redefined through art and negotiations for rights and protection of land, Christianity or digital images. Aboriginal existential territories are in interaction with abstract ideas - kinship and its reconfiguration to satisfy their new needs5 – but also with other abstract machines like the State, various institutions and technologies. Existential territories, universes of value and abstract machines are in a constant transformative relations with the “actually real” the material and energetic social flows which involve land, traditional circulations of food, hair, blood at initiations and death, but also money, mining royalties, the art market, that is the world integrated capital, and multiple effects on the body and the mind of the violent impact of colonisation.

9In 1979, I was lucky to witness a new intertribal secret ceremony (Juluru) that I described in a French article as « a symbolic manifestation of an economic transition », a form of « cargo cult » or « historical cult » (Glowczewski 1983b). The Warlpiri said the ceremony had been dreamt in Western Australia. I found out when going to Broome on the West Coast in 1980 that it was dreamt in 1912, in Port Hedland, just after the sinking of the Koombanah steamer. The ceremony was a re-enactment of violent aspects of historical contact to promote a double Law where the changes imposed by colonisation could be intertwined with the Aboriginal cosmology : it was an attempt to redefine the status of women, young people and “middle men”, defined as people who, through their life experience, were acting as mediators between the traditional society and the State system.

  • 6 Traditional routes of exchange of rituals and goods were documented for the Kimberley by German ant (...)

10Years later, when I lived and worked with coastal people in Broome, the notion of “middle men” was also referred to people of mixed descent who suffered the Stolen Generation : the secret cult Juluru was in a way trying to deal with the spirits of all the dead who were transported by the boat before its wreckage : that is children taken away from their parents to be sent to missions, Aboriginal men chained by the neck to be sent to Rottnest Island prison and lepers deported to leprosariums ; the secret cult was also related to a 3 years Aboriginal strike – from 1946 to 1949 – where 800 Aboriginal pastoral workers walked off from 27 stations in Western Australia (Glowczewski 2002, 2004, Swain 1998, Muecke 2010), twenty years before the Wave Hill strike of the Gurindji. The transfer of the Juluru secret ceremony from the West coast to Central Australia used traditional trade routes, through the Kimberley and Balgo in the Western desert.6

  • 7 Extended discussions with Mowaljarlai in Glowczewski 2004. His drawing was also reproduced by Woodw (...)
  • 8 Before the web came into being, says Latour (1999:15): “the word network, like Deleuze and Guattari (...)

11After the passing of the Mabo Native Title Act in 1992, many conflicts opposed Aboriginal people who had to demonstrate continuity of their culture and land occupation to claim a Native Title in the Tribunal created for that purpose. Hundreds of claims were prepared. A Ngarrinyin man, David Mowaljarlai, had already fought in court for 17 years to challenge the Australian government to recognise not just his clan land but the model of an interconnected society which connected several language groups of the Kimberley plateau with other groups on the coast and in the desert ; he used to draw the sharing system that connected communities through trade routes and “history stories” as the “body of Australia” made up of a grid looking like a knotted fishing net spread across the continent. A version of his map of trade and spiritual connections was published in his book Yorro Yorro in 1993 and he was invited by Unesco in 1996 to call for protection of the rock art of the Kimberley from diamond mining (Glowczewski 2004).7 It is only in 2000, that Alan Rumsey (2000) commented Mowaljarlai’s rhizomatic map of Australia in a discussion about Deleuzo- Guattarian concept of rhizome. I have written elsewhere that rhizomatic or network thinking corresponds to a paradigm shift in the Western world. The perception of a network as an open, dynamic, both discursive and non discursive system only became widely understood once the internet became part of our everyday life with its virtual sites on the web, hyperlinks connecting such sites and cartographies of social networks (Glowczewski 2004, 2013). But, as noticed by Bruno Latour in 1999, many people then still did not understand the transformative power of networks.8

12The totemic cartography bringing together geographical, social and spiritual elements resonates with Felix Guattari’s ecosophy that proposes enmeshing three ecologies : of the environment, of the social and of the mind. Such a resonance between a hunter-gatherer mental and physical mapping and our current technological environment challenges the constant resurgence of evolutionist prejudice. Epistemological delays have had an impact on Aboriginal land claims temporality. For instance, the Ngarrinyin’s arguments were too pioneering, too different from the classic model of the hunter-gatherer stereotype and conventional “land rights” scheme to fit in the legal discussions of the court. It is the Ngarrinyin strong testimony filmed in rock art spiritual places (see Gwion Gwion film by Jeff Doring and his book with Mowaljarlai & al, 2000) that helped them to get their Native Title. But the granting of a Native Title (contrary to the NT Land Rights Act) is not enough to empower Aboriginal people. It often creates new problems that continue to feed anthropologists and lawyers. The strategy of many land claims is to oppose and divide families in court proceedings, instead of trying to defend a general vision which could demonstrate that across clan and language boundaries an interlinked society was reproduced before and after colonisation through exchange routes and new links forged in reaction to forced displacements (Toussaint 2006). To use such an argument would imply a change of paradigm not only in Australia, but in the social sciences generally to understand our world of displacements and new networks (Glowczewski 2005b, 2007, Glowczewski & Henry eds 2011 ; Abeles 2006).

13Before going to Australia, I had read Nancy Munn's Walbiri iconography (1973) and asked her for advice : she wrote back that it was difficult to do research with Aboriginal people in traditional remote communities as they did not want anthropologists to talk publicly about their secret ritual life. She recommended that I work instead in Alice Springs where a new art movement was emerging (Papunya). I was fortunate to be welcomed into Lajamanu and to witness incredible ritual creativity, dream revelations and social experimentation before Lajamanu people started to paint on canvas in 1985, and also to travel to other communities across Australia for intertribal meetings (Dussart 2000, Peterson 2000, Poirier 2005). Right through the 1980’s and 1990’s I was asked not to show my films of women’s rituals to men, even overseas.

14This ethical requirement to respect secrecy involved an anthropological responsibility of constant negotiations as Aboriginal values changed over time. Secrecy is a cosmological priority with political implications : in gender relations, for men and women to assert their own space and rights : as land rights became a public process, sometimes carried through art, some female rituals became public. Similarly ritual secrecy asserts Aboriginal power in relation to other Aboriginal groups and to the representatives of the colonial order and the State that overpowered their traditional life. Today the control of their images, especially through the web is a way to assert a new autonomy as a transformative agency.

15In the mid 1990’s, I developed a multimedia project to return my recordings to the community and test hyperlinks as a tool to map the network organisation of the desert people’s system of knowledge : digital media was ideal to show on an interactive map how totemic stories and songlines were connecting sacred places and how ritual designs painted on the bodies, relevant songs and dances were connected to the Dreaming stories and pathways Warlpiri men and women chose to paint on canvas. After two years of discussions on the selection of what could or could not be shown, the CD-ROM was installed on the new computers of the Lajamanu school and 3 years later, in 2000, a public version called DreamTrackers (Glowczewski 2000) was published by UNESCO, with a licence recognising the intellectual copyright of 50 artists who had contributed to the CD-ROM with their art but also with Dreaming stories and oneiric revelations of new designs to paint on the body, and new ritual songs and dances. The Warlpiri artist and then Warnayaka arts manager, Jimmy Robertson Jampijinpa was invited to launch the CD-ROM by UNESCO in Paris.

16The return of my data to the community and recognition of Indigenous intellectual copyright has been another anthropological responsibility derived from Aboriginal priorities (Glowczewski 2005). The CD-ROM Dream Trackers was used in the school for 10 years until all Macintosh computers were replaced by PCs. Every time I come back to Lajamanu I am asked to reinstall it on public and private computers. After Warlpiri started to use YouTube to post their own short films, they asked me why their data was not on the web. Now most of my Warlpiri audiovisual archives are online – thanks to the online digital source and annotation system developed by Laurent Dousset (, Glowczewski 2013). For two years I have been documenting the data with Australian linguist Mary Laughren and also with some Warlpiri people. Most young people are extremely keen to access old photos and recognize themselves and friends as children, or members of the older generation who are still alive or who are now dead. In fact the last two years saw young Warlpiri organise funerals with framed pictures of the dead brought to the grave and circulated among the mourners. This new ritual has shocked the older people who refuse to go to such funerals as they still respect the taboo on the images of the dead. Inherited funeral practices also continue, which involve the whole community : widows and other bereaved women camp aside with a ban of speech, gifts of goods (including blankets) and circulation of the deceased hair between the relatives. Times are changing, but old and new values are intertwinned in a productive tension : conflicts express what is at stake, and in many Statements, the power of image as embodied in reality is the reason for the various responses to the images of the past and the creative process of making those images live again like in art, be it on canvas or digital. Some Warlpiri families who live now in cities (the diaspora is massive) put photos on play stations that display them randomly day and night : the screen is used as a light in the house, a sort of digital chimney, (as if the succession of past and present faces was recreating the fire of the camp). On the other hand, facebook can be used to enflame fights.

  • 9 Various policies have divested Warlpiri people of many jobs that they had gained thanks to selfdete (...)
  • 10 Wanta Jampijinpa, Pawu-Kurlpurlurnu (Steven Jampijinpa Patrick) 2006 Ngurra-kurlu, YouTube, <www.yo (...)

17New technologies are reactivating old and new relations of power. The enthusiasm and collaboration between generations during the annotation workshop I organised in July 2011 can be seen on the ODSAS website ( But Warlpiri people in Lajamanu cannot access the internet as easily as they used to : many sites are blocked, the connexion slow and expensive. Various recent government policies have disempowered them from having control of some of their own resources. For instance the building the Warlpiri funded partly themselves – through their mining royalties – for their library and e-learning was mostly closed during 2011-2012, the new shire refusing to employ several Warlpiri on a part-time basis to run it.9 The interruption of bilingual programs also saw 25 Warlpiri men and women dismissed from the Lajamanu school when the teaching of Warlpiri – which is the children’s first language – was reduced to half an hour a week. Warlpiri communities have created and continue to fund with their own resources from mining the Warlpiri Triangle (linking Lajamanu with Yuendumu and Willowra) to promote bilingual education – including through the internet – as a stimulus for better school achievements. Internet is also used by young and old artists of the Warnayaka art centre to document their art on canvas and create new digital art. Youtube is invested for cultural and political Statements10.

18For many years I have called Aboriginal people “refugees of the interior”. In 2012, Amnesty International released a report denouncing both the Australian treatment of asylum seekers and the Stronger Futures Bill designed to extend for another ten years the very controversial Northern Territory Emergency Intervention which was imposed in 2007 on 73 Indigenous communities for a 5-year period. In these communities, many Indigenous people and leaders elsewhere, as well as the UN special Rapporteur, have accused this policy not only of being racially discriminatory and therefore racist but also of failing to achieve improvements in the living conditions of Aboriginal people – in terms of their economic situation, health and general wellbeing11. But the legislation was passed and the Bill became law in July 2012 despite the “Stand up for Freedom” campaign launched by some Yolngu people from Arnhem Land. A declaration was then posted on YouTube by Djiniyini Gondarra appealing to “all people to join the fight against this paternalistic, disempowering and deceptive policy that is now spreading to other parts of Australia”12. He Stated that “the government has established a war against democracy” and that other Northern Territory communities such as the Warlpiri have joined the fight. Gondarra and his positions are not shared by all but 2011 saw the creation in the Northern Territory of an Aboriginal party, First Nations by Japarta Ryan, a former member ot the Australian Labor Party and the grandson of Indigenous activist Vincent Lingiari. It was supported by many Warlpiri in Lajamanu (and gained up to 17 % of the vote in some Northern communities). On the other hand, a Warlpiri woman, Bess Price, ex Labor, won the election for the Country Liberal Party in the region and supported the NT Intervention13. Political anthropology is desperately needed in Australia to grasp the new responses to decades of Aboriginal disenchantment and injustice (Langton 2008, 2011).

  • 14 From 2006 till 2008, further fieldwork was conducted by Lise Garond who wrote a PHD in joint cosupe (...)

19In 2004, when I was a guest researcher at James Cook University in Queensland, the violent death in custody of Cameron Doomadgee occurred on Palm Island, and sparked a riot with some 20 Aboriginal men and women committed to a hearing in the Townsville Court House. For months in 2005 I followed their committal hearing in court and the long campaign for an inquest that led to the policeman held responsible, Chris Hurley, being brought to trial14. Hurley was found not guilty because of a lack of witnesses but there was no lack of evidence about the cause of Doomadgee’s death (his liver was split in two) which took place less than an hour after he was taken to the police station for singing drunkenly in the streets. The sentences of the rioters ranged from prison terms of several months to 6 years. Lex Wotton – with whom I wrote the book, Warriors for peace (2008), about the events on Palm Island following Doomadgee’s death – received the maximum sentence. Wotton was released after two years’ imprisonment in 2010, but a ban of four years was imposed on him preventing him from speaking to the media and in public. His parole board made an exception to this ban in allowing him to speak publicly at a press conference he gave at Palm Island in July 2011 and again a few months later at a human rights convention organised by James Cook University.

20A newspaper reported that Aboriginal Dr Chris Sarra “drew cheers from a crowd of 130 as he labeled Mr Wotton 'his inspiration” during an opening speech at the First Nations Pathways Conference at JCU : "It's easy for people like me to challenge injustice from the safe confines of higher education or a newspaper column," Dr Sarra said. "You and the people on Palm Island put your lives on the line to stand up for what was right”15. In 2012 the High Court refused to lift the ban on Lex Wotton’s speaking in public or in the media. Lawyers have labelled the ban as racist : is the State afraid of an Aboriginal man who says : “we don’twant two laws, one White, one Black, we want one law for all, we want to live in peace” ? (Statement I filmed in 2005 and put online on the French website of Audiovisual archives in Social Sciences : AAR). Lex Wotton triggers “moral panic” for finding strong words and arguments to express the painful history of his stigmatised island and to criticise the difference in justice applied to Black and White in Australia, the criminalisation of Indigenous peoples (Cunneen 2007) and the deafness of institutions which do not listen to Indigenous propositions.

  • 16 Anderson's book includes a chapter by the anthropologist Athol Chase ( “Pama Malngkana: The ‘Sandbe (...)
  • 17 see Andrew Johnson Japanangka declaration “They should learn how to respect us as human beings. We (...)

21One challenge for academics is to find ways to change widely held biased perceptions, especially the global revival of eugenics and biological racism. One recent example of this is a French novel which last year was awarded a prestigious literary prize even though it conveys a series of racist prejudices about Aboriginal people. The author claims to have invented a tribe “with no law” while his novel is based on the actual Indigenous group who, in 1858, saved the life of a 14-year old French sailor, Narcisse Pelletier, who went on to live with them for 17 years before being taken back to France against his will. An Australian researcher, Stephanie Anderson (2009), who wrote an excellent essay on this story, sent a critique of the racist novel to some French newspapers who did not publish it while French academic websites did16. Critique of stereotypes of invented “wilderness” is not in fashion with the main media, but Indigenous words have power and it is our responsibility to convey such messages17.

22The Aboriginal critique of so-called reconciliation policies and their constant claim for maintaining their culture as a life style, engaging both individual and collective assemblage, old and recreated practices, insist on their recognition as humans with a singularity to respect, instead of being rejected as “Others” failing to assimilate. Such a position questions the consensus of assimilation. Anthropological responsibility in terms of theory – for me – is to advocate « dissensus » as defined by Guattari (1991, 1995) : that is dissensus as the propeller [or driver] to stimulate the creation of new societal forms, forms that can respond to the poverty and injustice generated by exclusion, but this means that recognition of existential heterogeneity needs to be conceptualised at the structural level of contemporary societies and nations. It is a task for any science to construct new models to think the heterogeneity and connections of all forms of existence in our global world. For anthropology, it means to step away from the sterile oppositions between universal versus relative or assimilation versus exclusion.

23One way to approach transformations of heterogeneous complexities is to use Guattari’s propositions in Schizoanalytic cartographies :

  • 18 Brian Holmes, 2009, Guattari’s Schizoanalytic Cartographies - or, the Pathic Core at the Heart of C (...)

« What the book tries to show – says Brian Holmes - is not how behavior is structured in adaptation to its context – because every discourse of power does that – but instead, how people are able to leave their initial territories and articulate original expressions in problematic interaction with others on a multiplicity of grounds, so as to resist, create, propose alternatives and also escape into their evolving singularities, despite the normalizing forces that are continually brought to bear on them by capitalist society. » 18


Abeles, Marc, 2006. ‘Globalization, Power, and Survival : an Anthropological Perspective’, Anthropological Quarterly (Institute for Ethnographic Research) vol. 79 (3), pp. 483–486.

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Anderson Stephanie, 2009 Pelletier : The forgotten castaway of Cape York, Melbourne, Melbourne Books, 2009.

Cunneen Chris, 2007, ‘Riot, resistance and moral panic : Demonising the colonial other’, in Scott Poynting & George Morgan (eds) Outrageous ! Moral panics in Australia, Hobart, Tasmania, ACYS Publishing : 20-29

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Glowczewski B. (ed) 1991 Yapa - peintres aborigènes de Balgo et Lajamanu / Yapa – Aboriginal painters from Balgo and Lajamanu, Paris, Galerie Baudoin-Lebon (bilingual catalog, 175 p.).

Glowczewski B. 1999 « Dynamic cosmologies and Aboriginal Heritage », Anthropology Today 15 (1) : 3-9.

Glowczewski B. 2000 Dream trackers : Yapa art and knowledge of the Australian desert), Paris, UNESCO, Publishing ©Warnayaka Art centre/Unesco/B.G. CD-ROM (original version for the Lajamanu School Yapa– Aboriginal painters and story-tellers, 1998).

Glowczewski B. 2002 « Culture Cult. The ritual circulation of inalienable objects and appropriation of cultural knowledge (North-West Australia) », in M. Jeudy Ballini et B. Juillerat eds., People and things – SocialMediation in Oceania, Durham, Carolina Academic Press.

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Glowczewski B. 2005a « Returning Indigenous knowledge : this CD-Rom brings everybody to the mind », paper presented at the 2001 AIATSIS conference The Resonance of tradition, published as the Chapter X of a collective e-book on the website of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies : The power of knowledge, the resonance of tradition (PDF for free upload on

Glowczewski B. 2005b « In Australia it’s ‘Aboriginal‘ with a capital ‘A‘. Political Aboriginality and new singularities », in S.Tcherkezoff & F.Douaire-Marsaudon eds., The Changing South Pacific (Trad. Le Pacifique-Sud aujourd'hui, Editions du CNRS, 1997). Canberra : Pandanus Books. The Australian National University.

Glowczewski B. 2007 « The paradigm of Indigenous Australians : Anthropological phantasms, artistic creations, and political resistance » (« Le paradigme des Aborigènes d’Australie : fantasmes anthropologiques, créations artistiques et résistance politique ») in Lucienne Strivay et Géraldine Le Roux (eds), La revanche des genres/The revenge of genre, Paris, Editions Aïnu. (bilingual exhibition catalog, 175 illustrated pages, Les Brasseurs à Lièges 2007, La cité internationale des Arts, Paris, 2008).

Glowczewski, B. 2011 ‘Guattari and Anthropology’, Chap. 7, in E. Alliez & A. Goffey (eds), The Guattari Effect, Continuum Books. (translated from 2008, Multitudes 34) :99-114.

Glowczewski B. 2013, ‘We have a Dreaming : How to translate totemic existential territories through digital tools’ in Aaron Corn, Sandy O'Sullivan, Lyndon Ormond-Parker, Kazuko Obata (eds) InformationTechnology and Indigenous Communities (symposium 2009), Canberra, AIATSIS Research Publications.

Glowczewski B., Jessica De Largy Healy, avec les artistes de Lajamanu et Galiwin'ku, 2005 Pistes de Rêves. Voyage en terres aborigènes, Paris, Editions Du Chêne, Paris (transl. in German and Italian, 2006).

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1 Weiner’s theory, which she presented in 1981 at the seminar of Maurice Godelier, inspired a chapter on hairstring in my PhD. I translated this chapter for the US journal Ethnography: (Glowczewski 1983a). Weiner (1994) in turn commented the Australian data (Glowczewski 2002).

2 The virtual secret realm needs to be actualised in ritual or through the birth of new children and the reproduction of any totemic species (Dreamings), while some aspects of the actual public realm return to the virtual at death, spirits waiting to be embodied again in people and things (Glowczewski 1991, 1998, see conference: Glowczewski B. 2012 « Tracking the spirit of the Dreamings. Ritual dreamers and Warlpiri artists from Lajamanu » Dreams of Insomnia workshop, Fondation Ratti, Come Italie.

3 Biddy Nungarrayi Long/Jurrah, Elizabeth Nungarrayi Ross, Judy Napangardi Martin, Lily Nungarrayi Hargraves/Jurrah, Molly Napurrurla Tasman, Jerry Jangala Patrick and Joe Japanangka James, in G. Louw (ed), Warnayaka - Art in the digital desert, Lajamanu : Warnayaka Art and Aboriginal Corporation: On Lajamanu art comparedwith Balgo art, see Glowczewski ed. 1991 ; compared with Galiwin'ku art, see Glowczewski & De Largy Healy (2005).

4 Guattari’s Schizoanalytical cartographies (published in 1992, not translated in English; but see Chaosmosis) proposes a model of temporal permutations between 4 polarities to grasp the existential economy of the world we live in: 1) existential territories as “virtually real”; 2) incorporeal universes of reference and value defined as “virtually possible”, 3) the economy of social flows as “actually real” and 4) rhizomatic abstract machines or ideas as “actually possible”. This model is rediscovered today as a political tool (see Brian Holmes, 2009, Guattari’s Schizoanalytic Cartographies or, the Pathic Core at the Heart of Cybernetics, Online on Continental Drift, the other side of neoliberal globalization (see also filmed lecture2011:, and Guattari & Rolnik 2008).

5 The Warlpiri found my hypercube a “good game” (Glowczewski 1989, 1991): Aboriginal kinship systems – which fascinated generations of anthropologists and mathematicians – are not fixed systems of classification but dynamic in their interaction with existential territories and social flows.

6 Traditional routes of exchange of rituals and goods were documented for the Kimberley by German anthropologists Petri & Petri-Odermann, Lommel, Worms and others in the 1950’s, Kim Akerman in the 1970’s (and in a film by Aboriginal researcher and novelist, Eric Wilmot, who showed the extension of these trade routes to the East of the continent). See also Gwion Gwion book (Mowaljarlai (Banggal) & al 2000).

7 Extended discussions with Mowaljarlai in Glowczewski 2004. His drawing was also reproduced by Woodward & Lewis (eds) 1998.

8 Before the web came into being, says Latour (1999:15): “the word network, like Deleuze and Guattari’s term rhizome, clearly meant a series of transformations — translations, transductions — which could not be captured by any of the traditional terms of social theory. With the new popularisation of the word ‘network’, it now means transport without deformation, an instantaneous, unmediated access to every piece of information. That is exactly the opposite of what we mean”.

9 Various policies have divested Warlpiri people of many jobs that they had gained thanks to selfdetermination policies of the 70’s-90’s, at the same time the government is flying in and out at high cost many non-Aboriginal people who are supposed to create new jobs for the population. Ironically, in 2011, some backpackers were replacing the 40 Warlpiri men and women who used to work on part-time shifts at the Lajamanu shop – which they successfully managed with profit, having bought their own plane and hired a pilot. The plane was sold by the new management introduced after the new shire system, resulting in exorbitant private company fares, the population can hardly afford.

10 Wanta Jampijinpa, Pawu-Kurlpurlurnu (Steven Jampijinpa Patrick) 2006 Ngurra-kurlu, YouTube, <> accessed December 2012. ; Lajamanu and the Law 2008, YouTube, <> accessed December 2012

11 May 2012: “Launching the report, Amnesty's national director Claire Mallinson took the opportunity to criticise the Federal Government's so-called 'Stronger Futures' legislation. The new bill, which is soon to be debated in the Senate, is being widely condemned by Indigenous groups as a continuation of the Northern Territory Intervention. Ms Mallinson says the legislation echoes the policies of the assimilation era”:



14 From 2006 till 2008, further fieldwork was conducted by Lise Garond who wrote a PHD in joint cosupervision EHESS in Paris and JCU : “Il y a beaucoup d’histoire ici” : histoire, mémoire et subjectivité chez les habitants aborigènes de Palm Island (Australie, 2011) shows the many ambiguities in which theinhabitants – descendants of 40 Indigenous languages, talk about their past and traumatic experiences of displacement.


16 Anderson's book includes a chapter by the anthropologist Athol Chase ( “Pama Malngkana: The ‘Sandbeach People’ of Cape York” in Anderson, pp. 91-127), specialist of this Indigenous group (Pama Malngkana or Sand Beach people) whose descendants now live in Lockhart River (Qld). See et

17 see Andrew Johnson Japanangka declaration “They should learn how to respect us as human beings. We all Australians, we should learn how to work together, and share this together, support ourselves together, learn from each other”: (on Glowczewski's Warlpiri audiovisual digital archive:

18 Brian Holmes, 2009, Guattari’s Schizoanalytic Cartographies - or, the Pathic Core at the Heart of Cybernetics, Online on Continental Drift, the other side of neoliberal globalization (no pages):

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Référence électronique

Barbara Glowczewski, « From academic heritage to Aboriginal priorities : anthropological responsibilities », in Australian Aboriginal Anthropology Today: Critical Perspectives from Europe (« Les actes »), 2014, [En ligne], mis en ligne le 13 juin 2014, Consulté le 24 mars 2017. URL :

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