On Tjukurrpa, Painting Up, and Building Thought

in Social Analysis
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  • 1 University of Western Sydney oq@ozemail.com.au
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This article explores the relationship of Central Australian 'Dreaming', or Tjukurrp, to symbol and thought formation in Aboriginal culture. Acknowledgment is given to ethnographic and indigenous descriptions of Tjukurrp and to Aboriginal mythopoeia, but the author is primarily concerned with how thoughts are made and what they are made of. Comparisons are drawn to European myths and cults in order to understand how Tjukurrp and myth might influence intercultural transference. The author suggests that through an anthropological and psychoanalytical analysis of intercultural conversations and an understanding of Tjukurrp's structure and content, non-indigenous people working in health and law might appreciate and comprehend Aboriginal thinking and thus be more effective in various aspects of engagement. In this meditation on thought formation and failure, the author seeks to understand the relationships between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals, so that those who intend to help do not end up destroying.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology