Conflicting conceptualisations of cultural identity within Australian public policy debate

Judith, Kate ORCID: (2015) Conflicting conceptualisations of cultural identity within Australian public policy debate. In: International Conference on Intercultural Competence in Communication and Education (ICCEd2015) (2015), 8-9 March 2015, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Cultural identity is a frequently politicised concept within state and national policy debates. The fuzzy nature of the concept, the opportunity for attracting political and media attention that it offers, and its apparent relevance to a broad range of issues means it is a familiar element in political debate within multicultural societies. Within Australian federal policy debate, the concept of cultural identity continues to impact upon the discourse around many areas, including freedom of speech and changes to educational curricula. Despite the significance of cultural identity for national policy, little attention has been paid to understanding the theoretical frameworks underpinning the ways the concept is used within these debates. A discourse analysis that investigated the use of the concept within a mediated debate between members of the community and political and social leaders following race riots in Sydney in 2006 discovered significant conceptual differences between the ways the concept was understood and used by the various participants. The discourse was analysed four times, employing four well-defined and contrasting theoretical conceptualisations of cultural identity. All four were found to have been adopted at some point within the discourse, generally at cross-purpose. Differences concerning the boundaries, essentialism, relationship to social order and the historical determinism of the concept were identified. This paper presents these results and moves on from them to consider how these contrasting and indeed conflicting interpretations and uses of the concept of cultural identity impact upon Australian public policy and political debate today. A particular focus will be the implications in relation to the federal government's recommendations for the national curricula.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Speech)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Abstract only published in Conference Proceedings.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Open Access College (1 Jul 2013 - 7 Jun 2020)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Open Access College (1 Jul 2013 - 7 Jun 2020)
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2016 01:47
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2022 04:53
Uncontrolled Keywords: cultural identity
Fields of Research (2008): 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200105 Organisational, Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication
Fields of Research (2020): 47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4701 Communication and media studies > 470108 Organisational, interpersonal and intercultural communication
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9502 Communication > 950201 Communication Across Languages and Culture

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