Ethnic and Racial Studies Vol. 34 No. 12 December 2011 pp. 21532172 Multiculturalism as nation-building in Australia: Inclusive national identity and the embrace of diversity Anthony Moran
This article discusses the relationship between multiculturalism and national identity, focusing on the Australian context. It argues that inclusive national identity can accommodate and support multiculturalism, and serve as an important source of cohesion and unity in ethnically and culturally diverse societies. However, a combative approach to national identity, as prevailed under the Howard government, threatens multicultural values. The article nevertheless concludes that it is necessary for supporters of multiculturalism to engage in ongoing debates about their respective national identities, rather than to vacate the field of national identity to others. In many Western liberal democracies, critics attack multiculturalism as a failed experiment that has threatened national cohesion and undermined unity (Huntington 2004; O’Sullivan 2005). Politicians and intellectuals argue that multiculturalism should be replaced by a renewed emphasis on common citizenship and shared national identity. On the other hand, many proponents of multiculturalism (or supporters of pluralism) are suspicious of national identity, seeing it as a homogenizing force that threatens cultural diversity (Hage 1998). But are the principles of multiculturalism on the one hand, and national identity, social cohesion, integration, and unity on the other, diametrically opposed, as these critics claim? The Australian experience provides a counter example multiculturalism # 2011 Taylor & Francis
ISSN 0141-9870 print/1466-4356 online
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2011.573081 was conceived as a nation-building project in the context of mass, multiethnic immigration, and as a way of rethinking Australian national identity in the context of the rejection of the White Australia Policy and...
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