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Colonial and post-colonial aspects of Australian identity


Tranter, BK and Donoghue, J, Colonial and post-colonial aspects of Australian identity, British Journal of Sociology, 58, (2) pp. 165-183. ISSN 0007-1315 (2007) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1468-4446.2007.00146.x


Since the 1988 Bicentennial and the 2001 centenary of federation celebrations colonial images have flourished inAustralia, highlighting the roles of convicts and free settlers during early colonization. Old sites, such as Port Arthur have been re-invigorated, and in 2004 Tasmanians celebrated the bicentenary of ‘white’ settlement. However, social scientists have given little attention to the role of colonial and post-colonial figures and myths as aspects of Australian national identity. We seek to address this issue by examining how convicts, free settlers, bushrangers and ANZACs are associated with contemporary identity in Australia.2 We examine evidence from the 2003Australian Survey of Social Attitudes and find that historical figures such as the ANZACs and post-World War II immigrants comprise important aspects of national identity.A substantial majority of Australians judged ANZACs to be important, countering recent claims of the ‘demise of the digger’. Sporting heroes are also at the core of Australian identity. Colonial figures appear to be far less important, although views on national identity vary according to social location. In particular, left-wing, university educated, younger, postmaterialistAustralians view convicts and bushrangers as relatively important, indicating the salience of the larrikin in Australian identity.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Australia; identity; convicts; ANZACs; sporting heroes
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Community services
Objective Field:Citizenship and national identity
UTAS Author:Tranter, BK (Professor Bruce Tranter)
UTAS Author:Donoghue, J (Dr Jed Donoghue)
ID Code:44256
Year Published:2007
Web of Science® Times Cited:28
Deposited By:Sociology and Social Work
Deposited On:2007-08-01
Last Modified:2010-06-01
Downloads:3 View Download Statistics

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