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Constructions of Australia in pro- and anti-asylum seeker political discourse
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Danielle Every, M Augoustinos
Whilst there has been a proliferation of research on the role of nationalism in the exclusion of asylum seekers, less attention has been paid to how nationalism can be mobilised in accounts opposing, rather than supporting, harsh antiasylum seeker regimes. This paper compares the ways in which ‘Australia’ is constructed and used in parliamentary speeches on asylum seekers by both refugee advocates and those seeking harsher asylum seeker laws in Australia. This dual focus is particularly important as it highlights the flexibility of nationalist discourse, in that the same constructions of the nation may be used for both exclusive and inclusive purposes. Whilst typologies of inclusive and exclusive nationalisms, such as Smith’s (1991) ethnic/civic typology, focus on the content of nationalist ideologies, we argue that the inclusivity or exclusivity of nationalism can best be determined by examining the subject positions, political solutions and social realities they make possible, and who these discourses benefit and oppress.