Equity and Social Justice in Australian Education Systems: Retrospect and Prospect

  • Jill Blackmore
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 19)

Space, place, scale and flows are central in the formation of Australian national identity; marked by iconic landmarks and landscape. Australia’s positioning in relation to global West/East and North/South binaries is constantly re-defined with shifting alliances. Australia, despite its outback image, has been a highly urbanized nation state since settlement. In 2005, over 50% of its 20 million population are concentrated in five cities clinging to the coastline. Mythologies circulate around egalitarian traditions of mateship originating in convict anti-authoritarianism and war, but also the success of multiculturalism marked by the lack of overt racial conflict as in the USA and UK. But national identity has been forged on masculinist and racialized traditions including women as the complimentary to the masculine norm, and excluding the “racialized other” – both the indigenous population and Asian immigrants. White Australia in 1945–1975 underwent a period of relative prosperity under the paternalistic welfare state, with a reducing gap in income between men and women, and between rich and poor, creating a “surplus of hope” (Hage, 2003). But in 2005, there is widening gap in incomes between rich and poor, between men and women, non-indigenous and indigenous. Under the post welfare state produced by neo liberal reforms, there is a “scarcity of hope.” Feelings of intensified risk produce a form of “paranoid nationalism” (Hage, 2003) and a flight to “individualism.”

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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jill Blackmore
    • 1
  1. 1.Deakin UniversityAustralia

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