Analysis Of The Article ' Inventing Australia Revisited ' By Considering Nation And National Identity

Analysis Of The Article ' Inventing Australia Revisited ' By Considering Nation And National Identity

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This essay discusses White’s statement from the article: “Inventing Australia Revisited” by considering nation and national identity, relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and gender relations.

In the first part, this essay indicates how White refutes traditional claims about the nation and national identity, and then asserts nation and national identity are social and cultural products. There are three typical claims about the nation and national identity. First, it assumes that all members of the nation share certain characteristics. Then, these characteristics make the nation distinctive. Finally, they become “essential” to define the nation and its people (Carter 19). Nevertheless, Richard White argues there is no “real”, “essential”, or “fixed” Australia, the nation or national identity is a product of cultural process and social construction which would change over time according to different needs and desire (White, Inventing Australia viii; Carter 8).

White states that the idea of ‘Australia’ is an invention. Inventing Australia examined the ways in which Australia was imagined and invented over time, questioning the monolithic nation and the singular national identity seen as a pre-existent reality (White, Revisited 13). That is, it emphasises that how the term ‘Australia’ named by those specific institutional, political and geographical meanings is a historical contingency and product (16). For example, the image of Australia shifted from “a working-class man’s paradise” in the 19th century to “a suburban nation” in the 1950s (Carter 8). In the process of naming, the competitive struggle of power and identity should be identified to explain why some ideas of Australia would surpass others and...

... middle of paper ... imperative to offer more inclusive national histories. According to Grimshaw et al., they challenge the perspective that the creation of the nation is “men’s business” and asserts that the women’s agency and creativity in the process of national formulation (1). This rewritten history includes a wide variety of historical actors—both women and men intersecting with race and class (Levin 372).

To sum up, Australia could not be regarded as a fixed and real concept of the nation. Instead, it is an evolving story about Australians’ multiple identities. As White notes, a richest and fullest Australian history should be written about multiple identities of ordinary people named as Australian, the ways they express themselves, and their agency to actively participate in history. Then, it will be possible to give the nation “its proper place in its history” (White 22).

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