Publication Details

Buchanan, I. 2012, 'Symptomatology and Racial Politics in Australia', Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 110-124.


Jindabyne (a movie directed by Ray Lawrence, 2006) begins with the murder of a young aboriginal woman, but its real focus is the way people respond to this murder. In doing so, it tells several interesting truths about race relations in Australia today. I want to suggest that Jindabyne can usefully be read as a national allegory (in Jameson’s sense of the word). It maps or diagrams the cultural and political tropes of the present moment in history. My basic hypothesis is that it cannot be a coincidence that Jindabyne should give such prominence to the cultural problematic of the apology at this particular juncture in Australia’s history. Although this aspect of the film is scarcely mentioned in any of the reviews that accompanied the film’s premier, it strikes me that the timing is symptomatic: it is a topic that as Deleuze once said about difference was very much in the air. Produced only two years before the official national apology the Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd made to the Indigenous peoples of Australia on February 13, 2008, Jindabyne responds to a complex assemblage of cultural problematics that have been on the national political agenda ever since the release in 1995 of Bringing Them Home, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s report on its national inquiry into the so-called “Stolen Generation”.



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