Crisis and conflict: shifting discourses of rural and regional Australia

Lockie, Stewart (2000) Crisis and conflict: shifting discourses of rural and regional Australia. In: Pritchard, Bill, and McManus, Phil, (eds.) Land of Discontent: the dynamics of change in rural and regional Australia. University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, NSW, Australia, pp. 14-32.

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This book is based on the proposition that one of the most significant social and political impacts of the rise of Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party has been a reassessment of many of the taken-for-granted assumptions that people make about rural and regional Australia. The election of 11 One Nation members to the Queensland parliament in June 1998 no doubt confirmed the 'redneck' status of rural and regional Australians in many people's minds. After all, nine out of the 11 One Nation MPs harked from non-metropolitan electorates. But it has also raised questions in the minds of others as to why so many people have become disaffected with the major political parties and the perceived failure of those parties to address a host of apparently endemic social and economic crises. It is easy enough to criticise One Nation for identifying simplistic solutions to complex problems - particularly when those solutions belie thinly veiled racial prejudice - but such criticism doesn't do much by itself to solve those problems. One Nation's electoral success has given new impetus to debates about the social and economic issues confronting those living outside metropolitan centres. It has forced reassessments of economic and social policy and the place of rural and regional Australians at all levels of politics. It has raised questions about what it means to be an Australian and about whose interests really count. Just as importantly, it has placed these issues on the front pages of both metropolitan and rural newspapers. This chapter is not about One Nation or the issues or crises confronting 'the bush' - not directly anyway. Rather, it is about the changing ways in which we understand rural and regional Australia. Itis about what we know (or think we know) about 'the bush' and the people who live there. It is about the ways we organise our knowledge and, consequently, the ways we talk, write and think about rural and regional Australia. My route into this will be through an analysis of the ways in which rural and regional Australia has been represented through media coverage of the One Nation phenomenon. In particular, I will analyse those representations through Queensland's major metropolitan newspaper - the Courier-Mail. 1 While this will be my route in, however, it won't be the only route we'll travel through the chapter. Alternatives are necessary, firstly, because while One Nation has promoted particular representations of non-metropolitan Australia, it is but one group among many involved in such activity; and, secondly, because content analysis of media sources will only give us a limited perspective on what underlies the discourses of rurality and regionality tl1at we are interested in. Using representations of One Nation as our starting point will raise many of the key debates, but to flesh this picture out we need to draw on a diverse array of sociological research into the cultures and discourses of non-metropolitan Australia. Before doing so, however, we need to clarify just what concepts like discourse and rurality mean.

Item ID: 31242
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-86840-578-0
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2017 00:21
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160804 Rural Sociology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960607 Rural Land Evaluation @ 20%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960504 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments @ 30%
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