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The paper explores the idea of settlement in each of its three major senses: as a place of human habitation; as a fixed and stable order of habitation; and as a political consensus reconciling fractious groups. Arguing that traditional accounts of settlement depend, with a kind of pastoral nostalgia, upon a view of abstraction and social complexity as in themselves harmful, it follows through the implications of the concept for ways of dealing with the stranger, and it uses a drawing by the nineteenth-century indigenous Australian artist Tommy McRae, done about 1890 and entitled Corroboree, or William Buckley and dancers from the Wathaurong people, to propose a counterfactual model through which a settlement with the stranger might be imagined.
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