Trauma, Shared Recognition and Indigenous Resistance on Social media

Bronwyn Lee Carlson, Lani V Jones, Michelle Harris, Nelia Quezada, Ryan Frazer


This paper investigates the ways in which Indigenous Australians respond individually, and collectively, to racial vilification by means of social media sites. Introducing the concept of “shared recognition” this paper describes the collective sense of anger and frustration experienced by Indigenous people when traumatic events in the public domain act as reminders of ongoing colonialism. Three examples are explored to demonstrate collective trauma as a result of racist and discriminatory acts that are made public, and the ways in which social media is utilised by Indigenous Australians to make sense of and cope with trauma. Firstly, the Four Corners program on ABC television entitled ‘Australia’s Shame’. Secondly, a cartoon produced by the editorial cartoonist for The Australian newspaper, Bill Leak depicting Indigenous fathers as neglectful. Finally, the social media movement, #IndigenousDads, that emerged in response to these events and demonstrates ongoing resistance to colonial narratives. Drawing on Sara Ahmed’s (2004) notion of “affective economies” this paper unpacks the politics of pain, shame and pride in the aftermath of both the Four Corners program and the Bill Leak cartoon.


Shared recognition; Social Media; Indigenous; Trauma; Resistance; Linked Fate

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ISSN: Online: 1326-2238 Hard copy: 1449-8618
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