My place: The remaking of images of country and belonging in Australian youth

Year: 2005

Author: Gill, Judith, Howard, Sue

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In recent years Australian society has been undergoing major revision in terms of a vastly expanded immigration program. Currently one in five Australians has been born overseas. For the school population the numbers of newcomers to the country is even higher and their distribution is not evenly spread throughout the population.

These developments pose significant issues for education, its form and content, not the least of which is the ways in which the school works to fulfil its traditional function of inculcating an understanding of Australian law and political systems, a respect for its leaders and a sense of belonging.

The study reported on in this paper described the responses from some 400 young South Australian schoolchildren to questions about their feelings for the country in which they live. These responses showed a ready and genuine engagement with questions of the current social mix, an acceptance and pride in being a new society, a positive response to indigenous issues along with some idiosyncratic comment about the country which provides further evidence of the ways in which young people are accurate deconstructors of the manifold media messages about place and belonging.

This paper will be presented as part of Symposium 16 GIL05257 Youth and nation: The reworking of identity and place in multicultural societies

Keywords: Comparative and International Education