Biopolitics and the Baby Bonus: Australia's national identity, fertility, and global overpopulation‎

Rob Cover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores some recent issues impacting on Australia's public imagination of a national identity. Utilizing an analysis that draws on Foucault's concept of biopolitics as a mechanism of governance, the paper examines how notions of Australian national identity develop through distinct but discursively-related fields: (1) policies and public discourse on the Australian Commonwealth Government's promotion of fertility through the Baby Bonus scheme; (2) public debate and popular culture texts on global overpopulation and climate change; and (3) the movement of populations and peoples of Australia in terms of how policies of migration and responses to refugees inflect dialogue on national identity. Discussing these together through the framework of biopolitics, it is argued that governmentality in Australia is not only biased towards the production of particular types of Australian identity but particular types of Australian. Drawing predominantly on news discourses, the paper examines some of the ways in which the interface between these different fields and objects of biopolitical regulation can be understood through public sphere debate, popular cultural texts, and an assessment of the ways in which Foucault's biopolitical technologies continue to centre on national, neo-liberal issues and exclude concerns around global overpopulation, resource sustainability, and world climate. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)p.439-451
JournalContinuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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