Book Review

The Locals is a timely book that examines the increasingly important territory of the identity of Australia as a country with a colonial past, and as a country that is at a point in history in which debates over Indigenous sovereignty and asylum seekers are ever-increasingly the focus of political and media debates. In The Locals, Garbutt examines in detail what it means to be “local”, and importantly, who is identified as “local” and who is not. As such, Garbutt examines core issues of what it means to be seen as “belonging” in Australia, including what that means for Indigenous Australians. In his examination, Garbutt includes a range of perspectives on the word local, including the history of the word itself, an examination of the way the word is used both internationally and in Australia, and an analysis of how the “local” appears in the mainstream news media. Garbutt then explicitly addresses the racial implications of the word local in terms of how it serves to naturalise “locals” (in the case of Australia – white Australians). In addressing the concept of “local” from across these differing view-points, Garbutt takes the reader on a journey regarding their own understandings of being “local” and intertwines this with his own experiences of attachment to a place that were unsettled by the experience of recognition of Indigenous sovereignty and the fact that his „local-ness‟ was dependent upon the dispossession of Indigenous Australians.

Copyright © Clemence Due 2011. This text may be archived and redistributed both in electronic form and in hard copy, provided that the author and journal are properly cited and no fee is charged.