The Australian Educational Researcher

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 437–451 | Cite as

The logic of history in ‘gap’ discourse and related research

  • Sophie RudolphEmail author


The Closing the Gap in Indigenous Disadvantage policy emerged in 2008 following the National Apology to the Stolen Generations. The policy articulates one of its purposes as being to address historical injustices. On the other hand, policy reform is naturally oriented to the future in its aims to improve and develop. These temporal tensions are the analytical focus of this article. Through examining the way in which the logic of ‘history’ is engaged in Australian Indigenous policy and related ‘gap’-oriented research, a range of political effects are illuminated. It is argued that the logic of history is deployed in three key ways: (1) history as over; (2) history as a single presence; and (3) history as context. In mapping these different orientations to history in the policy and literature, the following questions are asked: how might history be better understood as operating in the present and what sort of transformational possibilities might this afford?


Indigenous education History Politics Policy Discourse 



I acknowledge Julie McLeod for offering feedback on, and discussions related to, an early draft of this paper. And thanks also go to Luciana Pangrazio and Emma Buchanan for conversations related to an earlier version of this paper.


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Copyright information

© The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Melbourne Graduate School of EducationUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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