INFLUENCE OF ASSIMILATION POLICY IN ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY 1 Essay Example

  • Category:
    Sociology
  • Document type:
    Assignment
  • Level:
    Masters
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    3
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    1530

Influence of Assimilation Policy in Aboriginal Community

Lecturer:

Influence of Assimilation Policy in Aboriginal Community

What is Social Order?

Social order refers to particular sets or systems of linked institutions, social structures, relations, values and practices that aim to maintain, enforce and conserve given ways of behaving and relating (Innes, 2003). Another definition of the term is in contrast to the social disorder where communities or societies are stable within the existing social order which is maintained by its members.

How are Individuals and groups controlled in Explicit and Implicit ways?

Social order controls individuals in different ways. It may be termed as explicitly since it may be based on language, race, ethnicity or gender. Belonging to any of this status groups would mean that the individual has to behave in a certain way. The social order controls the behaviour of people implicitly in the way they behave towards certain situations. For instance, an assimilated person would have to adapt to the way the new culture perceives things (Gül, 2009). Institutions play a central role in enforcing social order. For instance, people of a particular religion behave in a certain way or even citizens in a given country have their way of doing things.

What is the role of Institutions, social political structures and culture in creating social order?

The role of institutions cannot be undermined since people find a sense of belonging to their country or religion and would easily conform to given ways so that they can fit in. In the creation of social order, the dominant groups often end up possessing power. For instance, Europeans possessed power over Aboriginals since they were better of economically and in terms of military strength.

What forms of organizational collectiveness enforce Social Control?

Social control is an everyday experience for everyone. It happens in our places of work, our ethnic groups and our countries. When individuals resist social control, they are viewed as deviant. Over time, social control creates norms in the society, and every member of the group is expected to follow them. Deviants may be seen as psychopaths or sociopaths, and they may engage in crime or violations of informal social norms (Little, 2010).

How do axis of difference shape who possesses power, control and agency?

In any given society, social order is created and regulated by the dominant class. It might be the dominant race, class or gender. By virtue of having this dominance, they determine the mechanisms of social control. For instance, the whites were dominant over the Aboriginals hence they decided what would or would not happen in Australia.

How does social control play out in Everyday Life and how is it resisted?

Social control is an everyday experience for everyone. It happens in our places of work, our ethnic groups and in our countries. When individuals resist social control, they are viewed as deviant. Over time, social control creates norms in the society and every member of the group is expected to follow them. Deviants may be viewed as psychopaths or sociopaths and they may engage in crime or violations of informal social norms (Little, 2010).

What does it mean to be free?

For an individual to be free, they must have the right to freedom. It means that they are in an environment where their freedom to anything they so desire is not limited. However, societies create various rules and norms for us to follow; hence it becomes difficult to be free.

Research Questions

  1. In what way has assimilation policy affected social order in Aboriginals?

  2. What has been the reaction of Aboriginals to assimilation policy?

  3. How has the assimilation policy changed the lives of Aboriginals?

The cultural theory is a theory that seeks to not only conceptualize but also to understand the dynamics of culture. The theory involves arguments that revolve around how culture relates with nature and society, differences between the high and low culture and the connection between tradition and diversity (Marshall, 1998). It cannot be denied that the assimilation policy has indeed changed the lives of the aboriginal people. The aboriginal people have occupied Australia for over 40,000 years, yet they were now compelled by law to change the way they lived so that they could fit into modern society. The relationship between the white settlers and the Aboriginal people can be viewed in a variety of ways. First is the egalitarian phase where missionaries imposed white superiority and expected to be free.

The cultural theory is a theory that seeks to not only conceptualize but also to understand the dynamics of culture. The method involves arguments that revolve around how culture relates to nature and society, differences between the high and low culture and the connection between tradition and diversity. It cannot be denied that the assimilation policy has indeed changed the lives of the aboriginal people. The Aboriginal nation has occupied Australia for over 40,000 years yet they were now compelled by law to change the way they lived so that they could fit into modern society.

The relationship between the white settlers and the Aboriginal people can be viewed in a variety of ways. First is the egalitarian phase where missionaries imposed white superiority and expected all people to conform to the white culture (Armitage, 1995). The second phase was non-egalitarian, competitive and deterministic. Each race was viewed in terms of their physical and mental capacity. The Europeans would impose themselves as more superior to the Aboriginal people. The third phase relied on economics and sociology whereby each race was recognized depending on their position in the social structure determined by the social and economic roles it played in history (Armitage, 1995). Again, the white settlers emerged tops during this phase. The assimilation policy did not begin when it was enacted into the law. It had existed in Australia since the first white settlers arrived in the country. White settlers came to Australia in 1788. Common around the world, the notion of white supremacy characterized their settlement in foreign lands.

In Australia, they made attempts to impose white beliefs, customs and values on the Aboriginal people. In the 1850’s the white settlers started pushing aboriginals into concentration camps and reserves. In these reserves, they were neither allowed to have their traditional names nor practice their Aboriginal culture. In the mid-20th century, Aboriginals were allowed to leave the camps. At this instance, they were expected to abandon their beliefs and traditions behind. According to the Aboriginal Protection Board, they were to leave their primitive ways and conform to the white man’s standards (Reynolds, 1972).

It was widely thought that the assimilation policy would improve the lives of the Aboriginal people. It was thought that their treatment and conditions would improve if they became more “white”. By 1930, most of the reserve land, previously owned by Aboriginals had been grabbed by white people. Most Aboriginals now wanted to move to towns and cities in search of employment (Reynolds, 1972). Once they got to urban areas, they were now faced with racism and discrimination. While they thought they were being assimilated into the white society, they were now being forced to live in poverty due to unemployment triggered by their racial identity.

Until 1967, the Aboriginal people were not recognized by law despite the fact that they were the first people to occupy Australia. Before this happened, they could be recognised if they applied for a certificate. Having the certificate meant that the person had given up all ties with the indigenous community including their families. The government was now forcing Aboriginal people to assimilate through citizenship.

The Aboriginal people were however not willing to give up their ways and cultures quickly, they protested against the policy in the 1960’s, and soon the assimilation policy was replaced with the integration system. The protests showed that people were more aware of the discrimination perpetrated against the Aboriginal people due to their race (Armitage, 1995). Many Aboriginal people felt that the policy of assimilation was selective.

While the immigrants were able to keep their cultures, the Aboriginal people had to assimilate to the foreign culture. The integration policy was more relaxed and gave them a leeway to practice their culture (Gül, 2009). They, however, had to adopt still and adapt to white Australian culture. Although the policy of assimilation may not have worked as expected, a lot of Aboriginal people had been mandated to give up their culture so that they could be able to secure employment and enjoy their fundamental rights.

Methodology

The study is of a qualitative design. The primary methods of collection of data for the study will the use of questionnaires and conducting interviews. The data collection will target the Aboriginal population to be studied.

References

Armitage, A. (1995). Comparing the Policy of Aboriginal Assimilation: Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Gül, S (2009) «An Evaluation of the Rational Choice Theory in Criminology.» Girne American University Journal of Social and Applied Science 4 (8): 36-44

Innes, M. (2003). A history of the idea of social control‟, in Understanding Social Control,
Open University Press: Glasgow

Reynolds, H. (1972). Aborigines and Settlers: The Australian Experience 1788-1939. Sydney: Cassell Australia.