Ethnicity and Cultural Wounding: Ethnic Conflict, Loss of Home, and the Drive to Return

  • Amanda KearneyEmail author
Reference work entry


This chapter presents a discussion of ethnicity in relation to cultural wounding and healing. Cultural wounding is the violation of persons and their cultural lives through insult and injury, motivated by the desire to destroy or significantly harm this culture and its bearers. This is understood as a process of attacking human groups, in particular those bound by an ethnic distinction and declaration. What binds human groups and ultimately locates them in the path of “ethnic violence” is the perception of an “ethnic distinction” and a cultural orientation that is determined “other.” This chapter aims to take stock of the meanings and expressions of ethnicity available to people in a prevailingly tense world, where tensions are born of ethnic conflict and culturally prescribed violence and shaped by the dynamic ethnic configurations that survive such encounters. Committed to better understanding the experiences of cultural wounding that precipitate a need for healing, for Indigenous families in northern Australia, a case study of the Yanyuwa community experiences with legislative land rights is presented. This grounds the discussion of ethnicity and cultural wounding, revealing the ways in which groups heal and retain a sense of belonging through distinctive pathways of return and restitution.


Cultural wounding Ethnic conflict Healing Indigenous Australia Place Land rights 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Humanities, Arts and Social SciencesFlinders UniversityBedford ParkAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Paul Carnegie
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Government, Development & International AffairsThe University of the South PacificSuvaFiji

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