Speaking back to the deficit discourses: a theoretical and methodological approach


The educational attainment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students is often presented within a deficit view. The need for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers to challenge the societal norms is necessary to contribute to the struggle for self-determination. This paper presents a theoretical and methodological approach that has enabled one researcher to speak back to the deficit discourses. Exemplification of how Indigenous Critical Discourse Analysis (in: Hogarth, Addressing the rights of Indigenous peoples’ in education: A critical analysis of Indigenous education policy, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, 2016) identifies the power of language to maintain the inequitable positioning of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within Australian society is provided. Particular focus is placed on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan 2010–2014 (in: MCEECDYA, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan (2010–2014), 2011) and how policy discourses ignore the historical, political, cultural and social factors that influence the engagement and participation of Indigenous peoples in education today. The paper argues for the need to personalise methodological approaches to present the standpoint of the researcher and, in turn, deepens their advocacy for addressing the phenomenon. In turn, the paper presents the need to build on existing Indigenous research frameworks to continue advocating for the position of Indigenous research methodologies within the Western institution.

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Hogarth, M. Speaking back to the deficit discourses: a theoretical and methodological approach. Aust. Educ. Res. 44, 21–34 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13384-017-0228-9

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  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education
  • Indigenous education policy
  • Deficit discourses