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Ned Kelly: Armoured Icon


Tranter, BK and Donoghue, J, Ned Kelly: Armoured Icon, Journal of Sociology, 46, (2) pp. 187-205. ISSN 1440-7833 (2010) [Refereed Article]

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© 2010 The Australian Sociological Association.

DOI: doi:10.1177/1440783309355063


Myths associated with outlaws or ‘social bandits’ are important elements of national identity in many countries. Long after his death the outlaw Ned Kelly lives on in Australian culture through various media, ensuring his enduring symbolic importance for national identity. National survey data indicates Kelly’s salience for a majority of Australians, although attitudes regarding his status as hero or villain vary considerably. Younger, left-leaning, working-class Australians and consumers of popular culture view Kelly as important, while tertiary-educated, political conservatives tend to downplay his significance. Perceptions of Kelly’s character also influence attitudes regarding his national significance. The lack of foundation heroes in a nation built not only by free settlers but also by English convicts and Irish rebels goes some way to explaining why a 19th-century outlaw is one of the few historical figures recognized by a majority of Australians.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Australian identity, bushrangers, national identity, Ned Kelly, outlaws
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:64008
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:Sociology and Social Work
Deposited On:2010-06-16
Last Modified:2011-06-21
Downloads:6 View Download Statistics

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