Re-imagining the world: Australians’ engagement with postnationalism, or Why the nation is the problem

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Academic debate around the need for global cooperation, the anachronism of national borders, and the necessity of nurturing a cosmopolitan ethic of care for all, has strengthened over the last two decades, but it is unclear the extent to which the general population has embraced such ideas. This article explores Australians’ perspectives using data from a series of projects investigating whether Australians are moving beyond national to postnational orientations and cosmopolitan identifications. Quantitative data demonstrates robust nationalism, although elements of a postnational outlook are also evident. Discursive analyses similarly suggest that while compassion towards others and openness to difference do exist, the ideology of the nation-state remains strong, with postnational formations seen as impractical, and perceptions of the rights of others limited by nationalist thinking. The best characterisation of the Australian orientation is that of multicultural nationalism, an approach that celebrates internal diversity within limits, but remains hostile to postnational material formations and global cosmopolitan ideological formations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sociology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Dec 2020

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