"Nganampalampa - definitely all ours" : the contestation and appropriation of Uluru (Ayers Rock) by tourists and aborigines
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The thesis examines the response of Aborigines (Anangu) to the situation of mass tourism at Ulunu (Ayers Rock) in central Australia. When tourists visit Ulunu, the harsh environment brings them into a sudden, often unpleasant, awareness of their own bodies. This corporeal consciousness affects the interest they have in regard to those living there long term (Anangu, Park rangers, and workers in the tourism industry). Consequently, the questions tourists ask about Anangu focus on how they cope with life in this harsh area. To Anangu, though, Ulunu and the surrounding area is a political and ideological landscape. They wish to educate tourists about the meanings the land has for them, using stories from the Tjukurpa (Dreaming) to illustrate how Anangu see their place in the world: as rightful owners and custodians of Ulunu. Unfortunately, tourists have experienced a shift from the familiar, intellectual realm to a physical realm of senses and body processes, and their interest is not in Anangu ideology and politics, but in the maintenance of Anangu bodies. A tension occurs when Anangu force tourists to consider Aboriginal culture through their message of not climbing Ulunu, the intended activity for the majority of tourists. This message articulates the differences between Anangu and tourists, and in recent years it has become more strident, to the extent of altering Tjukurpa stories to illustrate it. Anangu engagement with tourism is used to promote political messages; but the success of this endeavour depends on the tourists' own experience of the landscape. Further, the thesis offers an ethnography and analysis of the lives and communities that constitute various categories of white workers in the area and demonstrates their attitudes both towards each other, and to Anangu and tourists.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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