‘My people right here…’ Indigenous young people, alienation and paint sniffing in inner Brisbane

Ogwang, Tom, Cox, Leonie, & Saldanha, Jude (2012) ‘My people right here…’ Indigenous young people, alienation and paint sniffing in inner Brisbane. In McCoy, Brian, Stewart, Paul, & Poroch, Nerelle (Eds.) Urban health [electronic resource] : strengthening our voice, culture and partnerships. AIATSIS, Canberra, A. C. T.

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This paper describes and explains the social worlds of a group of young Murris who are engaged in chroming (paint sniffing) and who sleep rough in inner Brisbane. In particular, the paper considers the ways young Indigenous drug users describe their marginalisation from wider society and its structures of opportunity, but it also includes some reflections from their youth worker and a young man who frequents the young people’s squat. The paper demonstrates the centrality of racism and material disadvantage to the experience of a group of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sniffers, a perspective largely unreflected in the literature on Indigenous volatile substance misuse. Further, the young people’s ways of interacting with the broader society are described to explain the ways their rejection of mainstream norms form a significant political response to their marginality and reflect, at least in part, the wider Indigenous historical experience. The work draws on theories of alienation and subculture to analyse the young people’s descriptions of their social estrangement and the formation of the ‘paint sniffer group’. It is concluded that paint sniffing among urban Indigenous youth is, at least in part, an obnoxious and encoded distillation of a wider Indigenous rebuttal of broader societal norms, and that the dominant — normalising — modes of treatment risk further alienating an already oppositional group of young people.

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ID Code: 57266
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: This is the final submitted version
Keywords: paint sniffing, chroming, Indigenous, Murris, Brisbane, alienation, pathologise, sub-culture, social exclusion
ISBN: 9781922102034
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (111701)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > ANTHROPOLOGY (160100) > Social and Cultural Anthropology (160104)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 AIATSIS.
Deposited On: 14 Feb 2013 06:53
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2015 15:15

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