Study on the Response of Indigenous People to the Australian “Work for the Dole” Program
This study examines the response of urban Indigenous people to work-based welfare or workfare, referred to as the “Work for the Dole” program, introduced by the Australian government in the late 1990s. Although the commonality between the program’s concept of ‘mutual obligation’ and the culture of ‘reciprocity’ in Indigenous societies has been highlighted, the latter involved mutual obligation among members of specific communities, whereas the former assumed such an obligation to link Indigenous individuals with anonymous taxpayers.
According to case studies, Indigenous people, after working in the mainstream labor market, often sought employment that could contribute to the Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal communities in which they were raised, as a means of establishing relations based on mutual help. Although giving back to the community is considered a form of work or a ‘way of living’ by some Aboriginal people, it is not consistent with either the government’s concept of ‘work’ or the original intention of the workfare program.
Bulletin of the Graduate School of Integrated Arts and Sciences, Hiroshima University. III, Studies in cultural sciences
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