Immigration, nation state and belonging

Babacan, Hurriyet (2010) Immigration, nation state and belonging. In: Babacan, Alperhan, and Singh, Supriya, (eds.) Migration, Belonging and the Nation State. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, pp. 7-30.

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[Extract] As with many Western nations with high numbers of immigrant intake, the Australian public debates have placed doubt on:

• The levels and success of integration of newly arrived migrants and refugees

• The success or failure of multicultural policies

• The threat that migrants from different cultures and religions pose to national identity, national values and social cohesion

The cornerstone of the democratic nation state is the establishment of rights: political, social and civil. Membership in a nation state denotes both civic belonging in the political community and cultural belonging in the national community. In the political community all citizens are seen as equal. However, evidence points to the continued disadvantage, social exclusion and marginalisation which characterise Australian society. Current and past policies, programs and ideas on social exclusion have focused on exclusion from the labour market, economic exclusion (including poverty), exclusion based on social isolation, geographic or spatial exclusion, and exclusion based on institutional processes and systems. In the considerations of social exclusion/inclusion, very little attention has been paid to exclusion based on culture, ethnicity, racism and other diversity signifiers as causal factors of disadvantage. Recent social inclusion debates in Australia have not resulted in any meaningful consideration of cultural diversity as a force for inclusion or exclusion. Furthermore, the nation state has been actively engaged in the construction of Australian identity in particular ways that have denied the consideration of "ethnic identity" as a positive feature of nation building. Through the use of fear, law and order, and a neo-liberal approach, the Australian state has constructed an environment which has depleted a sense of belonging for minorities. In so doing, it has depleted social capital in communities and social cohesion across the nation. This chapter explores the concepts of identity and belonging for minority communities in the context of globalisation and the nation state in Australia.

Item ID: 18111
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-4438-2081-3
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2012 01:38
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160803 Race and Ethnic Relations @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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