Migrant Responses to Popular Uses of the Australian Flag
By Catherine Austin and Farida Fozdar
Volume 15, Issue 2, pages 315-333
Australian nationalism, once seen as laconic and understated, has become increasingly shrill over the last fifteen years. One evidence is the growing popular use of Australian flags, particularly their display on cars to celebrate the national day. Popular use of the flag has been encouraged by relevant government bodies, such as the National Australia Day Council. This article explores migrants’ responses to the flag display. Qualitative interviews and focus group discussions identified a continuum of reactions ranging from inclusion to exclusion. Contrary to expectations, many migrants see it as simply a demonstration of festivity and pride, in which they feel included. While recognizing that the flag display could represent exclusionary nationalism, migrants carefully attribute this usage to a limited number of individuals, rather than seeing it as emblematic of a more generally held sentiment. Additionally, migrants tend to read the flag through civic, transnational, and multicultural lenses, in order to see themselves as included in the identity that it is seen to portray.
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