Department or Program

Political Science

Title of Approved Individual Major

Political Science

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Lois Wasserspring

Additional Advisor(s)

William Joseph


This thesis is an investigation into why family violence in Aboriginal Australian communities is so severe, and an examination into ways in which this violence might be decreased. It is also a critique of the two competing narratives around violence in Aboriginal communities. The political left typically tells a story about the legacy of violent colonization, and the consequent need to improve Aboriginal legal rights. On the right the narrative is less well defined, but the argument typically focuses on the importance of personal responsibility, or on the role of traditional culture in creating violence. This thesis argues that the competition between these narratives is harmful for actually reducing family violence, and that we should pursue evidence based policy, such as alcohol restrictions, in addition to trialing and evaluating new policies.