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Representation of indigenous offenders: The ‘Gang of 49’ – A media drive by?

Swanson, Laura
June 4, 2015

Source: (2009) Australia and New Zealand Critical Criminology Conference 2009: Conference Proceedings. Pg. 258-265.

The intention of this paper is to present an examination of a group of Indigenous offenders and how this group contends
with the dissonance of being labeled the ‘gang of 49’ by the media. Based on preliminary interviews and focus groups as a
part of a wider PhD project, the paper draws attention to the complex connections between these offenders, the media and
the wider criminal justice system. It reflects on these issues by examining how the participants appropriate certain elements
of gang culture as a source of empowerment and resistance. Further, the complexity of this relationship is considered within
a post colonial context that regards the criminalisation of Indigenous young people as a new form of forced separation
(Cunneen 1997). Framed within a racialised media discourse that sees Indigenous gangs as deviant and dangerous, out of
control and beyond help, the paper endeavours to understand these issues from their own perspective. (Authors abstract)


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