Out of Sight, Out of Mind.

Wow, a depressing week of reading and lectures. Not only was I unaware of some of these stories of entrenched in Social Violence, but how I may have been part of the structure (or am I a victim too?) 

I was also chatting with a friend is performing in Alice Springs soon. We discussed songlines and their importance to the aboriginal culture. We were both confused to why Songlines or Dreamtime stories are not taught to all Australians, in particular children. If it weren’t for NITV, I would be less knowledgeable about them.

But to tell stories like the songlines is to be heard and acknowledged. It also creates connections to place. It seems structural violence to hide a culture, hide our guilt, to take responsibility for or hide from biohistorical memories (Farmer). It seems to me that aboriginal culture is like the child in the basement in The ones who walk away from Omelas (Le Guin). We like to sustain it, become a spectacle that we sometimes glance in fascination. We accept as fact or walk away, metaphorically so we can not shade our own privileged life. 

I wonder if some of the Aboriginal communities were/are closer to environments recounted in Dead Alive, Dead Outside, Alive Inside in Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment (Biehl). The high number of those afflicted with drug, alcohol or petrol sniffing are often dumped in remote areas, out of sight and out of mind. When settlement residents turn up in the Long Grass because they are seeking help from Doctors, Government or Family; they are quickly rounded up and place back “where they belong” under legal legislations which are often changed to maintain the social violence. 


  1. An anthropology of structural violence in Current AnthropologyPaul Farmer 2004
  2. Dead Alive, Dead Outside, Alive Inside in Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment João Biehl 2013
  3. The ones who walk away from Omelas in The wind’s twelve quartersChapter. Le Guin 1978