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Being Australian

Narratives of national identity

Catriona Elder    
Format: Paperback - C format
Pages: 400

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Being Australian


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Catriona Elder explores the origins and meanings behind the many stories we tell ourselves about what it means to be Australian', and to be un-Australian' in this introduction to Australian culture, society and history.


After a century of speculation by writers, filmmakers, travelers and scholars, being Australian' has become a recognisable shorthand for a group of national characteristics. Now, in an era of international terrorism, being seen as un-Australian' has become a potent rhetorical weapon for some, and a badge of honour for others.

Catriona Elder explores the origins, meaning and effects of the many stories we tell about ourselves, and how they have changed over time. She outlines some of the traditional stories and their role in Australian nationalism, and she shows how concepts of egalitarianism, peaceful settlement and sporting prowess have been used to create a national identity.

Elder also investigates the cultural and social perspectives that have been used to critique dominant accounts of Australian identity, including ideas of class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and race. She shows how these critiques have been, in turn, queried in recent years.

Being Australian is an ideal introduction to studying Australia for anyone interested in understanding Australian society, culture and history.

A clever work: incisive and original. At a time when Australian identities have never been more debated, Elder finds an open way through the closed doors which often restrict cultural representations of Australian-ness.'

Professor Adam Shoemaker, Dean of Arts, ANU

This is a timely and significant new analysis essential reading on issues of identity and our own anxieties about national belonging and what it means to be Australian' in a globalising world.'

Kate Darian-Smith, Professor of Australian Studies and History, University of Melbourne

Catriona Elder lectures in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney.

ISBN: 9781741149289
Australian Pub.: June 2007
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Subject: Cultural studies
Edition Number: