Stephen Muecke

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper brings a number of post‐structuralist concerns to the analysis of a text in Aboriginal English from Paddy Roe in Broome, Australia. Accordingly the text is reproduced in full as a statement, or set of statements, standing next to the analysis. It deals with issues of Aboriginal land‐rights. The analysis characterises structuralist thought as having a preoccupation with the metaphor of depth in textual analysis, bringing with it the idea of foundational mechanisms for the establishment of meaning. Post‐structuralism, on the other hand, treats texts as surface enactments and statements (rather than sentences), seeing meaning more in shifting relations of context, distribution and circulation of texts. The notion of commentary and the speaking subject are problematised in the (rhetorical) analysis which highlights the ethical dimensions of the text, treating it as a set of enabling statements which construct a certain sort of Aboriginal listener who is then positioned to take over and repeat the discourse for the benefit of land‐rights. In a more general way the paper proposes an ethical dimension to statements in language in general as well as positing indirect or reported speech as a kind of norm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-158
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1988
Externally publishedYes


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