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Travellers under the Southern Cross: Australian show people, national identities and difference

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journal contribution
posted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 authored by Patrick DanaherPatrick Danaher
This paper focuses on the travelling show people whose itineraries take them to every Australian State, including two circuits through Queensland. Show people evoke ambivalence in most permanent residents. Their itinerancy makes them different: they are considered exotic and even glamorous, yet they are also objects of suspicion, appearing to have no economic or emotional investment in the towns through which they travel. They are at once ‘larger than life’ and ‘not like us’. For the show people’s part, they are proud of their distinctive lifestyle and heritage, yet they also emphasise the points of similarity between themselves and other Australians. The paper uses the author’s interviews with, and representative publications by and about, show people to analyse the nexus between relations between ‘showies’ and ‘locals’ and the ongoing construction of national identities and difference. The show people’s depiction of themselves is a strong contribution to the diversity of national identities, and their emphasis on their distinctiveness points to one possible way of celebrating difference within the framework of those identities. At the same time, the show people’s tactic of emphasising their similarities with other Australians highlights how easily difference of identities can lead to marginalisation and discrimination.

Funding

Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)

History

Volume

8

Issue

1

Start Page

77

End Page

85

Number of Pages

9

ISSN

1321-8166

Location

Brisbane, Qld

Publisher

Cambridge University Press (CUP)

Additional Rights

Author's accepted manuscript deposited with permission of publisher

Language

en-aus

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

Yes

External Author Affiliations

Faculty of Education and Creative Arts;

Era Eligible

No

Journal

Queensland Review