Conclusion: Transcending the Settler Colonial Present

  • Lorenzo Veracini


Mark Rifkin recently issued a powerful call to unravel a pervasive settler ‘common sense’.1 Rifkin convincingly alerts us to the unreflexive settler colonial ‘structures of feeling’ that ‘saturate’ quotidian life. Settler colonialism remains, to use Rifkin’s formulation, ‘vital in the ongoing performance of quotidian modes of inhabitance and selfhood’.2 By definition, common sense is what goes unsaid, what remains unmarked. To mark and to observe its operation in various iterations, we should focus on the ideological processes that accompanied its historical consolidation. How did this particular ‘sense’ become ‘common’? Another ‘common sense’ comes to mind: Thomas Paine’s. Considering the specific circumstances in which it was issued, it could indeed be seen as a particularly powerful iteration of a settler common sense. Except that, paradoxically, Paine asserted a settler common sense then to make it evident when it had not yet been naturalised.3 Then, during a revolutionary crisis, the settler common sense had to be proclaimed and defended against another. As such, by definition, it was not yet unmarked; it was not yet ‘common’ (even if Paine programmatically endeavoured to establish the conditions of possibility for it to become so). Today, Rifkin invites us to attend to the ‘geographies of everyday non-Native occupancy’.4


Indigenous People Transitional Justice Infrastructural Power Settler Colonial Tribal Leader 
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Copyright information

© Lorenzo Veracini 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorenzo Veracini
    • 1
  1. 1.Swinburne University of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia

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