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Dislocated National Identities and Situated Belonging: A research case study of contemporary White British Migrants in Western Australia

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posted on 2023-08-30, 19:57 authored by Heather J. Blades
This research explores experiential narratives of national belonging and dislocation. It focuses on a group of contemporary White British migrants to Australia. The research base was Western Australia, with participants being recruited during visits to the region and initial interviews followed up by online contact from the UK. As a post-colonial outlier modelled on a White-Anglo core hegemony, Australia has become home to an increasingly wide spectrum of migrants, with the resulting diversity complicating existing definitions of Australian national belonging. By engaging with literature on migration, nations and national belonging, the thesis challenges theories premised on the demise of traditional nations as enduring communities of belonging. Despite the similitude with the Australian core ethnicity and the degree of invisibility it affords, many research subjects endure an intense and often irreconcilable dislocation from their home nations. They left behind extended families, homes, and all that was familiar. They effectively cut metaphorical umbilical cords with their birth nations and swore allegiance to another by becoming Australian citizens. The study concludes that both acceptance in, and the accepting of, a new context of national belonging is objectively conditional, subjectively emotional, and fundamentally unpredictable. It argues that dislocation from a place of nationally assigned belonging is an emotionally reflexive reality which can manifest in often irreconcilable ways.



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