chapter  4
The mother’s trouble
Pages 11

In her book Goliath: Britain’s Dangerous Places (1993), an examination of masculinity in the 1980s amongst the formerly working classes, Beatrix Campbell achieved a radical reinsertion of mothers and motherhood into communities sabotaged by masculinity out of control. Campbell investigated the effects that flow from evacuating welfare services from public housing estates, leaving fatherless families to perform increasingly incendiary responses to unemployment, racial difference, poverty and poll-driven policing. Mundarra Smith’s trial, used here as a prototype for the fantasy practice of policing and prosecuting young men, operates as an ideal companion text for Campbell’s study. On the streets of Redfern and Waterloo, and in the courtrooms of inner Sydney, we meet the difficult adolescent boys whose lives are conducted under the supervisory gaze of the police, and the inconstant gaze of their bewildered mothers. This chapter examines the role of the Aboriginal mother in a managerial fantasy.