26 Current Issues Crim. Just. 289 (2014-2015)
Riotous of Righteous Behaviour: Representations of Subaltern Resistance in the Australian Mainstream Media

handle is hein.journals/cicj26 and id is 320 raw text is: Riotous or Righteous Behaviour?
Representations of Subaltern
Resistance in the Australian
Mainstream Media
Amanda Porter*
This article examines Australian domestic and international mainstream media coverage of
subaltern resistance to police brutality. In particular, it analyses representations of subaltern
resistance in Australian mainstream media with reference to riots in Palm Island,
Queensland, Australia (November 2004) and in Ferguson, Missouri, United States
(November 2014) and tests the appositeness of the theoretical concept of 'moral panic' to
Australian media coverage of these respective events. In so doing, it exposes contradictions
and anomalies in the Australian media's coverage of Indigenous resistance and offers some
hypotheses for any apparent discrepancies.
Keywords: moral panic riots protests media Indigenous Australians
Palm Island  Ferguson  folk devils
In the wake of protests following the clearing of a police officer over the killing of Michael
Brown, a media spotlight has once again been cast on resistance and civil unrest in Ferguson,
Missouri. Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, was fatally shot by White police
officer Darren Wilson on 9 August 2014. Since then, riots and 'die-ins' (a form of protest
where participants simulate having been shot) have been staged in response to the deaths of
Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, Kajieme Powell, Antonio Martin and others - each
of whom died in the United States ('US') in circumstances involving police brutality. Protests
continued in November and December 2014 in response to grand jury decisions not to indict
police officers Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo in relation to the events. In its coverage of these
ongoing events, the Australian media has acknowledged 'America's burgeoning civil rights
movement' (Fallon 2014:16), the 'racial divide' (O'Malley and Fallon 2014:32) and 'the US's
Senior Researcher, Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, University of Technology, PO Box 123, Ultimo
NSW 2007 Australia. Email: amanda.porter@uts.edu.au. This article was inspired by articles by Larissa
Behrendt and Amy McQuire. The author would like to thank Reece George, Amy McQuire, Raygine Diaquoi,
Chris Cunneen and the two anonymous reviewers for their feedback on earlier iterations of this article.

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