On the dialectice between civic and communal belonging in a settler society: J. Olaf Kleist, ‘A political body of civic and communal belonging: political memories in the creation of the Australian immigrant society’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 2015
Abstract: Any notion of political belonging is highly contested. Ultimately though, the political body of a society is shaped by contestation of two modes of belonging: civic and communal. In Australia, the relationship between these two modes of belonging has been negotiated through political conflicts, not least in reference to immigration, since the early years of European settlement. This article traces the trajectory of these conflicts by analysing political memories, specifically those of Australia Day commemorations, to engage with the underlying tension that constitutes the country’s political body. Engaging with the long-standing civic/ethnic debate, it is argued that the actual relationship between civic and ethnic/communal belonging, rather than any separate references to them, is crucial to the specific constitution of sovereign political bodies, their particular form of social and political conflicts, and the ensuing implementation of policies, not least regarding migration.
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