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Natronal Myth Busters: The most Important British and Australians, living or dead


Tranter, BK and Donoghue, J, Natronal Myth Busters: The most Important British and Australians, living or dead, XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology: Book of abstracts, 15-21 July 2018, Toronto, pp. 963. ISSN 2522-7025 (2018) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

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National identity in Western nations has been claimed to be founded on the myths of a ‘golden age’, personified through heroes, saints or sages. If this is the case, contemporary citizens may be expected to identify historical and mythical characters as important national figures. Using national survey data from the United Kingdom and Australia, we asked who are the most important British or Australians, living or dead. By far the most frequently selected important British people were Queen Elizabeth II, and the former Prime Minister and WWII leader, Sir Winston Churchill. Like the British, Australians also selected former prime ministers, but also surgeons, a saint, and a cricketer in their top 10, although Australian responses were far more evenly distributed among several important individuals. The most important people identified in both countries tended not to be mythical heroes from an earlier ‘golden age’, nor contemporary sportspeople, but for the most part, those who have had a direct influence upon the lives of the citizens of each nation. Our findings suggest that the ‘myths’ associated with a ‘golden age’ of nationhood are to a large extent ‘busted’.

Item Details

Item Type:Non Refereed Conference Paper
Keywords:sociology, British, Australian
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Other culture and society
Objective Field:Other culture and society not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Tranter, BK (Professor Bruce Tranter)
UTAS Author:Donoghue, J (Dr Jed Donoghue)
ID Code:128053
Year Published:2018
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2018-08-30
Last Modified:2018-08-30

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