Shared Belonging

Feelings of Belonging: Meeting places in Darwin and Palmerston

There is a large body of research in white settler societies like Australia focusing on practices of stereotyping and humiliation that dehumanise migrants, in particular, those who do not assimilate into a dominant white majority culture, are welfare dependents, or arrive 'illegally'. Such racialisation gets played out through statements of hate, gestures, glances, silences and other performative acts in public spaces of the city 'invaded' by these 'bodies of colour'. This critical research is valuable in analysing and drawing attention to the politics of belonging that centres the power and privilege of whiteness, deep seated feelings of hurt and frustration, and contestations over place that result in outbreaks of conflict and violence. Such research, however, has neglected to explore how the everyday lives of urban Indigenous peoples are entangled with non-white racialised settlers in public spaces of the city. These insights into physical places of social gathering are crucial and essential to understand shared belonging and intercultural governance.

This project aims to explore the emergence of intercultural social spaces of shared belonging in Australian suburbia. In particular, what role do everyday activities in public spaces play in addressing social tensions in suburban areas with a visible Aboriginal and ethnic minority presence? This project will address this central question through a focus on public spaces of the Darwin-Palmerston urban area.

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