The necessity of Britishness: ethno-cultural roots of Australian nationalism

McGregor, Russell (2006) The necessity of Britishness: ethno-cultural roots of Australian nationalism. Nations and Nationalism, 12 (3). pp. 493-511.

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Until the last third of the twentieth century, Britishness figured prominently in the national identity of Australians. Many scholars of Australian nationalism have assumed an inherent antipathy between British and Australian solidarities; others have appreciated that there was a degree of mutuality between the two; few have explained why. This article offers such an explanation. It focuses on the crucial nation-building period twenty years on either side of the federation of the Australian colonies in 1901. Drawing on ethno-symbolist approaches to nationalism, it argues that Britishness provided the necessary ethno-cultural foundations for Australian nationhood, the only available repertoire of myth and symbol that could fulfil the nationalist aspiration for unity. Yet Britishness in the antipodes was significantly different to that of the British Isles, as were the civic/territorial components of Australian conceptions of nationhood, giving rise to a distinctive British-Australian composite nationalism.

Item ID: 4652
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1354-5078
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2009 00:23
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9402 Government and Politics > 940204 Public Services Policy Advice and Analysis @ 51%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 49%
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