Of cows and men: Nationalism and Australian cow making

Farida Fozdar, Brian Spittles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article explores why cows were identified as Australian in a public debate over the treatment of cattle in Indonesian abattoirs. Using a discursive approach applied to data extracted from media coverage, the article traces the debate, beginning with the ways Australian-ness was constructed before moving on to consider the implications of this construction in relation to nationalism and rights. The article argues that making the cows Australian had two functions. By being treated as autochthonous they were presumed to hold a certain set of rights which justified interference in practices occurring in an independent sovereign nation. Second, the nationalism implicit in the rendering of animals as Australian functioned to contrast Australia's 'civilisation' with Indonesian (and Islam's) 'barbarism', allowing Australia to re-assert a sense of itself as humanitarian. This was particularly relevant in a context where that humanity was in question due to Australia's treatment of asylum seekers. © 2014 Australian Anthropological Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-90
JournalAustralian Journal of Anthropology (The)
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Fingerprint

nationalism
barbarism
asylum seeker
civilization
Islam
interference
animal
coverage
Society

Cite this

@article{582efdf31e0f49f39b0a6c82d890f94f,
title = "Of cows and men: Nationalism and Australian cow making",
abstract = "This article explores why cows were identified as Australian in a public debate over the treatment of cattle in Indonesian abattoirs. Using a discursive approach applied to data extracted from media coverage, the article traces the debate, beginning with the ways Australian-ness was constructed before moving on to consider the implications of this construction in relation to nationalism and rights. The article argues that making the cows Australian had two functions. By being treated as autochthonous they were presumed to hold a certain set of rights which justified interference in practices occurring in an independent sovereign nation. Second, the nationalism implicit in the rendering of animals as Australian functioned to contrast Australia's 'civilisation' with Indonesian (and Islam's) 'barbarism', allowing Australia to re-assert a sense of itself as humanitarian. This was particularly relevant in a context where that humanity was in question due to Australia's treatment of asylum seekers. {\circledC} 2014 Australian Anthropological Society.",
author = "Farida Fozdar and Brian Spittles",
year = "2014",
doi = "10.1111/taja.12067",
language = "English",
volume = "25",
pages = "73--90",
journal = "Australian Journal of Anthropology (The)",
issn = "1035-8811",
publisher = "The Australian Anthropological Society",
number = "1",

}

Of cows and men: Nationalism and Australian cow making. / Fozdar, Farida; Spittles, Brian.

In: Australian Journal of Anthropology (The), Vol. 25, No. 1, 2014, p. 73-90.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Of cows and men: Nationalism and Australian cow making

AU - Fozdar, Farida

AU - Spittles, Brian

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - This article explores why cows were identified as Australian in a public debate over the treatment of cattle in Indonesian abattoirs. Using a discursive approach applied to data extracted from media coverage, the article traces the debate, beginning with the ways Australian-ness was constructed before moving on to consider the implications of this construction in relation to nationalism and rights. The article argues that making the cows Australian had two functions. By being treated as autochthonous they were presumed to hold a certain set of rights which justified interference in practices occurring in an independent sovereign nation. Second, the nationalism implicit in the rendering of animals as Australian functioned to contrast Australia's 'civilisation' with Indonesian (and Islam's) 'barbarism', allowing Australia to re-assert a sense of itself as humanitarian. This was particularly relevant in a context where that humanity was in question due to Australia's treatment of asylum seekers. © 2014 Australian Anthropological Society.

AB - This article explores why cows were identified as Australian in a public debate over the treatment of cattle in Indonesian abattoirs. Using a discursive approach applied to data extracted from media coverage, the article traces the debate, beginning with the ways Australian-ness was constructed before moving on to consider the implications of this construction in relation to nationalism and rights. The article argues that making the cows Australian had two functions. By being treated as autochthonous they were presumed to hold a certain set of rights which justified interference in practices occurring in an independent sovereign nation. Second, the nationalism implicit in the rendering of animals as Australian functioned to contrast Australia's 'civilisation' with Indonesian (and Islam's) 'barbarism', allowing Australia to re-assert a sense of itself as humanitarian. This was particularly relevant in a context where that humanity was in question due to Australia's treatment of asylum seekers. © 2014 Australian Anthropological Society.

U2 - 10.1111/taja.12067

DO - 10.1111/taja.12067

M3 - Article

VL - 25

SP - 73

EP - 90

JO - Australian Journal of Anthropology (The)

JF - Australian Journal of Anthropology (The)

SN - 1035-8811

IS - 1

ER -