Australian Idol versus Cronulla: whither the postcolonising nation?

Huijser, Hendrik (2007) Australian Idol versus Cronulla: whither the postcolonising nation? New Zealand Journal of Media Studies, 10 (2). pp. 131-143. ISSN 1173-0811

PDF (Published Version)

Download (242Kb)


This paper explores two apparently contradictory phenomena which, when taken together, raise some important questions about where Australia is at as a postcolonising nation. Targeting primarily a young generation of Australians, Australian Idol has been a major ratings success, especially in its first three seasons. Given the ethnic diversity of its participants and the fact that this diversity is primarily driven by audience votes (via SMS), a case could be made that this is a reflection of a new generation’s engagement with diversity, and thus an important moment in the postcolonising nation. The diversity of the show’s winners suggests that ethnic diversity could be seen as an increasingly ‘natural’ part of a young generation’s social and cultural environment. The Cronulla riots however, complicate this thesis considerably. While recognising the wide variety of factors that contributed to ‘Cronulla’, a significant number of the rioters were members of a young generation of Australians who also appear to fit the audience profile of Australian Idol; they were highly skilled in their use of SMS for a start…This raises a number of questions: did the Cronulla riots represent a setback in the postcolonising process? To what extent do the role and level of mediation play a part in this? Do mediated versions of diversity (like Australian Idol) accelerate the appearance of postcoloniality, where ‘real’ events (albeit highly mediated in a different sense) paint a more sobering picture? In short, is diversity on TV more acceptable than on the local beach? This paper addresses these questions to arrive at a conclusion about the overall central question: do Australian Idol and ‘Cronulla’ represent opposite sides of the same postcolonising coin, or do they represent the same side?

Statistics for USQ ePrint 3711
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Authors retain copyright.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Learning and Teaching Support Unit
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2008 23:46
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:56
Uncontrolled Keywords: postcolonising nation, ethnic diversity, reality tv, Australian Idol, Cronulla riots
Fields of Research : 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200199 Communication and Media Studies not elsewhere classified
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200209 Multicultural, Intercultural and Cross-cultural Studies
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200105 Organisational, Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only