Behind the 'Big Man': uncovering hidden migrant networks within Scandinavian-Australian sources

Emmerson, Mark (2010) Behind the 'Big Man': uncovering hidden migrant networks within Scandinavian-Australian sources. In: Migrant Security 2010: Citizenship and Social Inclusion in a Transnational Era, 15-16 Jul 2010, Toowoomba, Australia.

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Abstract

This paper is a reflective piece discussing several issues that have arisen during historical research regarding Scandinavian migration to Australia. The paper discusses some of the issues that historical sources have thrown up while researching Scandinavian Diasporic communities, namely the way in which networks of belonging and community have remained hidden behind sources controlled and produced by elite members of migrant groups and the figureheads of Scandinavian Australia – the 'Big Men'.1 The 'Big Men' phenomena and associated problems of source bias and record incompleteness are examined, to point out reasons for a past historical focus that has been built upon exaggerated and contributionary material and, as such, fails to give proper credit to other community members that were often involved in the creation of stronger and lasting social networks than these figureheads themselves. In particular, the role of Scandinavian women and their networks will be examined to point out alternatives to previous positivistic approaches to the impact of Scandinavians in Australia. The paper argues that for a more complete understanding of those involved in the creation of ethnic migrant communities, scholars must view all historical material in a way that focuses on not only the 'Big Men' that are fixed in the foreground of the sources, but those figures and groups that have until now remained in the peripheral vision, unexamined and uncelebrated.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: USQ publication.
Depositing User: epEditor USQ
Faculty / Department / School: Current - USQ Other
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2011 04:54
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2014 03:23
Uncontrolled Keywords: Australia; big men; community building; migration; networks; Scandinavia; women A BLURRED IMAGE OF THE
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200208 Migrant Cultural Studies
16 Studies in Human Society > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169901 Gender Specific Studies
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO2008): C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940111 Ethnicity, Multiculturalism and Migrant Development and Welfare
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/19378

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