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  • Australia’s “Liberal Nationalist” Multiculturalism

    Geoffrey Brahm Levey

    Chapter from the book: Ashcroft R. & Bevir M. 2019. Multiculturalism in the British Commonwealth: Comparative Perspectives on Theory and Practice.


    Chapter 5 shows that Australian state multiculturalism is best understood as an expression of a “liberal nationalist” approach to national identity, citizenship and cultural diversity. The chapter demonstrates that multiculturalism is part of the reassessment of Australian identity that took place as its relationship to Britain changed after 1945. Australian national identity continues to evolve in response to cultural diversity, and a distinctive policy framework has emerged from this process. Australian multiculturalism seeks to check the cultural-nationalist aspects of the core culture from overreaching and violating the liberal-democratic principles that are also central to Australian life. This feature of Australian multiculturalism is not well grasped by the political class or the general public, and therefore those who cite Australia as further evidence of a worldwide trend towards liberal universalism, or a purely civic conception of the nation, fundamentally misread the Australian case.

    How to cite this chapter
    Levey, G. 2019. Australia’s “Liberal Nationalist” Multiculturalism. In: Ashcroft R. & Bevir M (eds.), Multiculturalism in the British Commonwealth. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.73.e

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    Additional Information

    Published on July 12, 2019