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Title: Recreating identity : Scottish-Australian cultural organisations and changing identities in New South Wales, 1945 to the 1990s
Author: Johnston, Craig
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis engages particularly with Australian multiculturalism and the growth of ethnic identity. By focusing on Australians of Scottish descent (or Scottish-Australians), part of Australia's dominant "Anglo-Celtic" culture, it presents a different perspective of multicultural, or ethnic, identity. It expands the growing literature on Australian identity in the latter half of the twentieth century and explores the uses to which the ideology of ethnicity can be put. The thesis begins by examining the existing literature on the creation of identity, with particular reference to Australia, and on Australian multiculturalism. Within that framework, Chapter Two concentrates on the older style of Scottish Societies: those which emerged in the late-nineteenth century, but which began to diminish rapidly after World War II. The changes in Australian society from the early 1970s ultimately led to the creation of the Scottish Australian Heritage Council in 1981: a distinctly, if self-consciously, ethnic Scottish Society. Chapters Three and Four follow its development up to and beyond the Bicentenary (1988) and assess the constructed ethnicity of the Heritage Council's members. Chapter Five concentrates on the parallel construction of a Celtic-Australian identity which emerged from the Scottish Australian Heritage Council. Drawing on the evidence and conclusions of these chapters, Chapter Six presents an analytical narrative which further explores this new Scottish-Australian identity. The thesis concludes by showing how this identity engages with the broader debates in Australia at the end of the twentieth century, taking republicanism as the exemplar of change to which Scottish-Australians are responding. The thesis reveals that part of the dominant culture perceives a threat to their position posed by changes in Australian society, particularly in the radical change in immigration policy. Their response has been pragmatically to co-opt the language and imagery of ethnicity. Scottish-Australians present themselves as ethnics who are "more equal" than the later arrivals. With the prospect of a referendum on the republic in the near future, the thesis reveals a significant, and often ignored, aspect of the changing nature of Australian identity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available