Alfred Deakin Institute
The Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI) is a leading humanities and social sciences research institute based at Deakin University, Australia. Our researchers aim to understand the complex meanings of citizenship, social inclusion and globalisation, and investigate the imp


Beyond Recognition: Postcolonial relationality across difference


Based on case studies in Australia, Kenya and Papua New Guinea, the project aims to better understand how different forms of recognition shape relations between Indigenous people and people in positions of relative privilege.


This multi-site, international comparative project examines forms of relationality in diverse postcolonial contexts (Australia, Kenya and Papua New Guinea). Focusing on the ‘politics of recognition’, the research will build on recent critical Indigenous scholarship which has mapped the ways that these politics can exacerbate, rather than ameliorate, colonial hierarchies. In the diverse case study sites, the research examines forms of relationality between colonised/formerly colonised peoples and agents of power, including states, governmental agencies, development agencies, and individuals from colonising/formerly colonising powers.

Mr Elking Doroda holds the Fuzzy Wuzzy Commemorative Medallion awarded to his father for service as a carrier during the Second World War. New Buna village, Oro Province, Papua New Guinea, 2017. Photo: Dr Victoria Stead

Mr Elking Doroda holds the Fuzzy Wuzzy Commemorative Medallion awarded to his father for service as a carrier during the Second World War. New Buna village, Oro Province, Papua New Guinea, 2017.
Photo: Dr Victoria Stead

In settler colonial Australia, we examine existing mechanisms for Indigenous land justice including native title and land rights, and how critical appraisals of these processes might better inform the design of constitutional recognition and treaty. In formerly settler postcolonial Kenya, we consider the politics of recognition as it plays out through institutions introduced during colonialism but which have undergone considerable transformation since the 2010 Constitution: the census, citizenship registration, and communal land titling. The Kenya case study also explores encounters between civil society and development agencies and slum residents in a political context in which codified ethnicities are key differentiating markers. In non-settler postcolonial PNG, our focus is the contested distributions of ‘benefits’ in a growing war tourism industry that caters primarily for tourists from the country’s former colonial power, Australia, and brings them into engagement with local people recognised as ‘customary landowners’.

The project involves four researchers and a dedicated PhD student (Alice Bellette), as well as a range of other collaborators at Deakin and other institutions. The researchers use a multi-methods approach, including ethnography and social media analysis in order to understand the experiences of those in the diverse field sites.


Project Team

Professor Yin Paradies (Chief Investigator)


Dr Samantha Balaton-Chrimes (Chief Investigator)


Dr Victoria Stead (Chief Investigator)

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Dr Cameo Dalley (Research Fellow)


Alice Bellette (PhD student)




Balaton-Chrimes, S. (2017). "Recognition, coloniality and international development: a case study of the Nubians and the Kenya Slum Upgrading Project." Postcolonial studies 20(1): 51-67.

Balaton-Chrimes, S. and V. Stead (eds) 2017. Recognition, power and coloniality. Postcolonial Studies 20(1).

Stead, V. (2017). "Violent histories and the ambivalences of recognition in postcolonial Papua New Guinea." Postcolonial studies 20(1): 68-85.

Dalley, C. 2018. The returns of recognition: Ngarinyin experiences of native title, encounter and indeterminacy in the Kimberley region of Northern Australia. Oceania 88(3):360-376.



Balaton-Chrimes, S. Civil society workshop on the 2019 Kenyan National Census, British Institute in Eastern Africa, co-hosted by Dr Laurence Cooley (University of Birmingham, UK), 28 January 2019.

Stead, V. ‘Place, affect and the (post)colonial: Affective economies and colonial power in Papua New Guinea’s war tourism industry’, presented at the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO) conference, University of Auckland, 12-17 February 2019.


Dalley, C. 'Negotiating precarity through recognition', presented at the Australian Anthropological Society (AAS) conference, James Cook University, 4-7 December 2018.

Stead, V. 'Postcolonial reckonings and the politics of recognition along the Kokoda Track, Papua New Guinea', presented at the University of Melbourne Anthropology Seminar Series, 21 September 2018.

Online Content

2019 article: What’s the cost of racism in Australia?

2019 podcast: Deakinstruction Episode 2 - Recognition and Refusal



Project Funding

This project is funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Indigenous grant.