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Dialectical Anthropology

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 431–445 | Cite as

Arts of flow: poetics of ‘fit’ in Aboriginal Australia

  • Deborah Bird RoseEmail author
Article

Abstract

This paper takes an ethnographic approach to non-anthropocentric cultures. The method is to follow a logic of connectivity and fit. Building on 30 years of research with Aboriginal Australians, including work on numerous claims to land, I explore the ecological patterns of the Simpson Desert into which humans pattern their social, ecological and cultural relations. I sidestep questions of ‘nature’ entirely, in order to examine the workings of the life of country in one of the world’s least hospitable deserts. By following the pulses of water and life, it becomes possible to see something of a human culture that itself pulses and flows within the patterns of surrounding life. The result is a poetics of flow that arises from the action of water, works its way through the revitalization of life, and is articulated by humans in all domains: livelihood, social relations, Dreaming interactions, and performance.

Keywords

Indigenous ecological knowledge Indigenous poetics Simpson Desert Aboriginal Australia Dreaming connectivities 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Humanities ProgramUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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