Problematising the discourses of the dominant: whiteness and reconciliation

Sonn, Christopher and Green, Meredith J (2006) Problematising the discourses of the dominant: whiteness and reconciliation. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 16 (5). pp. 379-395. ISSN 1052-9284


This article investigates how underlying forms of power can affect the political actions of those in the dominant group, in this case white Australians. To do this we identify connections between the discourses used by white Australians involved in Reconciliation, the power and privilege of whiteness in Australia, and participants’ understandings and actions towards Reconciliation. Using Parker’s (1992) approach to discourse analysis, four discourses were identified from interviews and focus groups with white Australians involved in Reconciliation. These were labelled ‘indigenous project’, ‘institutional change’, ‘challenging racism’, and ‘bringing them together’. We argue that understanding the power relations that underlie the political actions of those in dominant positions is critical to ensuring the goals of anti-racism are achieved. Discourse analysis may allow us to gain a deeper understanding of the power and the potential impacts that may flow from particular positions and how power may be made more visible to the dominant group.

Item type Article
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 370000 Studies in Human Society
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Keywords whiteness, anti-racism, reconciliation, dominant groups, discourse analysis
Citations in Scopus 19 - View on Scopus
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