Still calling Australia home? Young people talking about national identity.

Year: 2000

Author: GILL, J, HOWARD, S

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper reports on a continuing study into the understandings of young Australians about the country in which they live and their place in it. In the section of the study to be reported here, we analyze the responses to 'being Australian' as derived from conversations with groups of young people whose culture and heritage is markedly different from that of the traditional white Anglo Saxon Australian families. Our research involved working with children in primary schools with large numbers of indigenous and Asian families. The small group interviews routinely involved a mix of cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds. In this way we attempted to draw out the children's ways of thinking about nationalism, but also we were thus able to capture the dynamic ways in which Australian-ness was being discursively constructed in the children's talk.. Ultimately we contend that standard educational approaches to questions of national identity and civics education are out of touch with the ways in which current generations of young people respond to the idea of place and belonging.