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Patriotic vs. proceduralist citizenship: Australian representations

Fozdar, F. and Spittles, B.ORCID: 0000-0003-0308-752X (2010) Patriotic vs. proceduralist citizenship: Australian representations. Nations and Nationalism, 16 (1). pp. 127-147.

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The relationship of the individual to the nation-state is often conceived by theorists in terms of either an emotional ethno-cultural bond (to the traditional 'nation'), or a civic legal-rational connection (to the 'state'). Such a distinction is fundamentally problematic for settler nations with diverse migrant populations. Australia is such a society built on the integration of migrants into an increasingly multicultural polity. The role of citizenship in this process of integration and nation-building is contested. As in other Western democracies, recent moves to increase the value and uptake of citizenship by eligible residents have occurred using discourses of ethno-cultural patriotism. Yet little is known about how migrants to Australia view citizenship. Australian political scientists Betts and Birrell (2007) have argued that most Australians envisage citizenship in terms of monocultural patriotic commitment, while government and the intellectual elite take a more civic 'proceduralist' approach. To explore the validity of this dichotomy, and its relevance to migrants, we analyse migrants' constructions of Australian citizenship from two sources, a government website and interviews, finding evidence of both patriotism and proceduralism, but significant overlap in the way the perspectives are articulated. Differences between the data sets, in representations of economic productivity, identity and exclusion, are also discussed. We conclude that everyday conceptualisations of Australian citizenship by migrants combine patriotism and proceduralism, and indicate a degree of complexity and ambivalence missing in Betts and Birrell's formulation.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Inc.
Copyright: © The authors 2010. Journal compilation © ASEN/Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2010.
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