This article analyses the Hindmarsh Island Bridge controversy in South Australia to argue that the legislative requirements for the presentation of indigenous culture and society conceal the extent to which this culture and society are themselves elicited by the very form and process of the legislation. The anthropological task of articulating a relational view of culture and identity in a legal and political domain which makes invisible the relational bases of its own procedures of knowledge and identity formation is one of the main challenges that emerges from the controversy. This article examines the versions of Ngarrindjeri culture and religion that were aired during the Royal Commission into the Hindmarsh Island Bridge in 1995 and speculates on the failure of both anthropology and the state to consider the relational nature of social knowledge and culture.
|Journal||Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute|
|Publication status||Published - 1999|