Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
Growing Up in Central Australia: New Anthropological Studies of Aboriginal Childhood and Adolescence

View Table of Contents

See Related
Anthropology Journals

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

Growing Up in Central Australia

New Anthropological Studies of Aboriginal Childhood and Adolescence

Edited by Ute Eickelkamp

310 pages, 1 map, 2 tables, 11 figures, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-082-1 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (June 2011)

ISBN  978-1-78238-126-6 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (August 2013)

eISBN 978-0-85745-083-8 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


The book’s strength lies in revealing aspects of Aboriginal pedagogy, sociality, and identity within complex intercultural environments. It covers a range of central Australian locations and language groups and connects the classical with the contemporary in both Aboriginal society and Australian anthropology. For its size—10 chapters in under 300 pages—its coverage is impressive.  ·  Anthropological Forum: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Comparative Sociology

This is a timely collection, given the rise of interest in childhood studies in the social and behavioural sciences and following the growth in emphasis on Aboriginal childhood by the Australian state over the last decades….The chapters of this volume each have distinctive strengths in their observation of Aboriginal social relationships.  ·  Oceania

Besides its value in exploring the manifold significance of childhoods, this collection will reassure anthropologists about the contemporary relevance of classical anthropology, in this case to shed light on what is happening in remote Aboriginal Australia. Several of the papers are gems, all are valuable, and the whole is richly rewarding in ways I can only hint at here…The authors provide some remarkable insights into the process of becoming a person in desert societies, a process that is anything but mechanical.  ·  JRAI

“Growing Up in Central Australia is a worthwhile contribution to one of the original questions of 20th century anthropology: the relationship between childrearing, childhood experience, and culture…Given that Aboriginal (and other indigenous) people confront such rapid change, and that such large percentages of their populations are young, and that—as they say—children are the future, the volume surely represents a direction that will be of increasing importance in the future of these societies and of anthropological accounts of them.”  ·  Anthropology Review Database

I can recommend this volume to those interested in expanding their library on the anthropology of childhood and, more specifically to scholars interested in culture and parenting, how infants become persons, role and fantasy play, peer relations in childhood and, especially, adolescent response to social change and globalisation.  ·  TAJA. The Australian Journal of Anthropology

 “There is still a very long way to go in understanding the lives Aboriginal children live today, but this book is a long overdue and much welcome first step.  ·  Children & Society

This excellent volume presents… a rich and timely collection of essays on contemporary Aboriginal childhood and youth, each chapter being grounded on extensive ethnographic experiences and studies…It is an original contribution to a growing field, namely the anthropology of childhood and youth…and offers ‘food for thought’ and a range of perspectives which allow the reader to better appreciate Aboriginal lives, challenges and points of view.  ·  Sylvie Poirier, Université Laval, Québec


Surprisingly little research has been carried out about how Australian Aboriginal children and teenagers experience life, shape their social world and imagine the future. This volume presents recent and original studies of life experiences outside the institutional settings of childcare and education, of those growing up in contemporary Central Australia or with strong links to the region. Focusing on the remote communities – roughly 1,200 across the continent – the volume includes case studies of language and family life in small country towns and urban contexts. These studies expertly show that forms of consciousness have changed enormously over the last hundred years for Indigenous societies more so than for the rest of Australia, yet equally notable are the continuities across generations.

Ute Eickelkamp is ARC Future Fellow in Anthropology at the University of Sydney. Between 2004 and 2009 she was ARC Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School for Social and Policy Research at Charles Darwin University. She studied Anangu children’s imagination and social and emotional dynamics through a traditional form of sand storytelling in the Central Australian community of Ernabella, after therapeutic sandplay work with Tiwi children in Australia’s north. Her current research focuses on the transformation of Australian Indigenous ontologies and subjectivities.

Subject: General Anthropology
Area: Asia-Pacific


Map of Australia

Introduction: Aboriginal Children and Young People in Focus


Chapter 1. 'Less was hidden among these children': Géza Róheim, Anthropology and the Politics of Aboriginal Childhood
John Morton        

Chapter 2. Envisioning Lives at Ernabella
Katrina Tjitayi and Sandra Lewis

Chapter 3. Warungka: Becoming and Un-becoming a Warlpiri Person
Yasmine Musharbash

Chapter 4. Fathers and Sons, Trajectories of Self – Reflections on Pintupi Lives and Futures
Fred R. Myers


Chapter 5.Sand Storytelling – Its Social Meaning in Anangu Children’s Lives
Ute Eickelkamp

Chapter 6.Young Children's Social Meaning-Making in a New Mixed Language
Carmel O'Shannessey


Chapter 7.The Yard Craig
San Roque


Chapter 8. Organization within Disorder – The Present and Future of Young People in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands
David Brooks

Chapter 9. Being Mardu: Change and Challenge for Some Western Desert Young People Today
Myrna Tonkinson

Chapter 10. Invisible and Visible Loyalties in Racialized Contexts: A Systemic Perspective on Aboriginal Youth
Marika Moisseeff


Notes on Contributors

Back to Top