Immigration, Multiculturalism and the Changing Face of Australia

  • Brock Bastian
Part of the Peace Psychology Book Series book series (PPBS)


Australia’s population has grown exponentially over the past 200 years, and this trend is predicted to continue. Immigration has played a crucial role in this growth, and Australia is now one of the most multicultural countries in the world. Using Australia’s history of immigration as a backdrop, I will explore factors that have allowed this impressive mixture of cultural groups to coexist as well as those that have created conflict, tension and marginalisation. Starting with a brief overview of immigration trends within Australia, I will discuss theory and research that highlights the different acculturation strategies that immigrant groups often employ and which of these is most beneficial to multiculturalism. I will then discuss a number of factors that facilitate or inhibit effective acculturation and integration of new groups including: (1) the role of intergroup contact; (2) the role of intergroup perceptions, including prejudice, threat and how group differences are understood; (3) the role of media representations and the importance of social norms; and (4) the importance of education in schools and parental attitudes in shaping early responses to new immigrants. I will conclude by examining how these factors have played a role in shaping the current state of diversity and tolerance within Australia and give reasons why Australia has the potential to become an example of multiculturalism to the rest of the world.


Ethnic Identity National Identity Immigrant Group Asylum Seeker Intergroup Contact 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  2. Ata, A., Bastian, B., & Lusher, D. (2009). Intergroup contact in context: The mediating role of social norms and group-based perceptions on the contact-prejudice link. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 33, 498–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Azlan, R. (2009). How to win a cosmic war: Confronting radical religion. London: Arrow Books.Google Scholar
  4. Bain, P. G., Kashima, Y., & Haslam, N. (2006). Conceptual beliefs about human values and their implications: Human nature beliefs predict value importance, value trade-offs, and responses to value-laden rhetoric. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 351–367.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bastian, B., & Haslam, N. (2006). Psychological essentialism and stereotyping endorsement. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 228–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bastian, B., & Haslam, N. (2008). Psychological essentialism and social identification: Immigration from two perspectives. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 11, 127–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berry, J. W. (2001). A psychology of immigration. Journal of Social Issues, 57, 615–631.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Binder, J., Zagefka, H., Brown, R., Funke, F., Kessler, T., & Mummendey, A. (2009). Does contact reduce prejudice or does prejudice reduce contact? A longitudinal test of the contact hypothesis among majority and minority groups in three European countries. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 843–856.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Birnbaum, D., Deeb, I., Segall, G., Ben-Eliyahu, A., & Diesendruck, G. (2010). The development of social essentialism: The case of Israeli children’s inferences about Jews and Arabs. Child Development, 81, 757–777.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brewer, M. B. (1991). The social self: On being the same and different at the same time. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, 475–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brewer, M. B. (1993). Social identity, distinctiveness, and in-group homogeneity. Social Cognition, 11, 150–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brewer, M. B., & Picket, C. L. (1999). Distinctiveness motives as a source of the social self. In T. R. Tyler, R. M. Kramer, & O. P. John (Eds.), The psychology of the social self (pp. 71–87). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.Google Scholar
  13. Gaertner, S. L., Dovidio, J. F., Anastasio, P. A., Bachman, B. A., & Rust, M. C. (1993). The common ingroup identity model: Recategorization and the reduction of intergroup bias. European Review of Social Psychology, 4, 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gaertner, S. L., Rust, M. C., Dovidio, J. F., Bachman, B. A., & Anastasio, P. A. (1994). The contact hypothesis: The role of a common ingroup identity on reducing intergroup bias. Small Group Research, 25, 224–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Haslam, N., & Levy, S. R. (2006). Essentialist beliefs about homosexuality: Structure and implications for prejudice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, 471–485.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Haslam, N., Rothschild, L., & Ernst, D. (2000). Essentialist beliefs about social categories. British Journal of Social Psychology, 39, 113–127.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Haslam, N., Rothschild, L., & Ernst, D. (2002). Are essentialist beliefs associated with prejudice? British Journal of Social Psychology, 41, 87–100.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hewstone, M. (1996). Contact and categorization: Social psychological interventions to change intergroup relations. In C. N. Macrae, C. Stangor, & M. Hewstone (Eds.), Stereotypes and stereotyping (pp. 323–368). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  19. Hewstone, M., & Brown, R. (1986). Contact is not enough: An intergroup perspective. In M. Hewstone & R. Brown (Eds.), Contact and conflict in intergroup encounters (pp. 1–44). Oxford, UK: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  20. Hirschfeld, L. A. (1996). Race in the making: Cognition, culture, and the child’s construction of human kinds. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  21. Hong, Y., Chan, G., Chiu, C., Wong, R. Y. M., Hansen, I. G., Lee, S., Tong, Y., & Fu, H. (2003). How are social identities linked to self-conception and intergroup orientation? The moderating effect of implicit theories. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 1147–1160.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hong, Y., Coleman, J., Chan, G., Wong, R. Y. M., Chiu, C., Hansen, I. G., Lee, S., Tong, Y., & Fu, H. (2004). Predicting intergroup bias: The interactive effects of implicit theory and social identity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30, 1035–1047.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hornsey, M. J., & Hogg, M. A. (2000). Assimilation and diversity: An integrative model of subgroup relations. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 4, 143–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Huntington, S. (1996). The clash of civilizations and the remaking of the world order. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks.Google Scholar
  25. Kalin, R., & Berry, J. W. (1995). Ethnic and civic identity in Canada: Analysis of 1974 and 1991 national surveys. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 27, 1–15.Google Scholar
  26. Massey, D., & Denton, N. (1993). American apartheid. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Paluck, S. L. (2009). Reducing intergroup prejudice and conflict using the media: A field experiment in Rwanda. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 574–587.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Paluck, S. L., & Green, D. P. (2009). Prejudice reduction: What works? A review and assessment or research and practice. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 339–367.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Paolini, S., Harwood, J., & Rubin, M. (2010). Negative intergroup contact makes group memberships salient: Explaining why intergroup conflict endures. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 1723–1738.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pettigrew, T. F., & Tropp, L. R. (2006). A meta-analytic test of intergroup contact theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, 751–783.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Poynting, S., Noble, G., & Tabar, P. (2001). Middle Eastern appearances: “Ethnic gangs”, moral panic and media framing. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 34, 67–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Prentice, D. A., & Miller, D. T. (2007). Psychological essentialism of human categories. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16(4), 202–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rothbart, M., & Taylor, M. (1992). Category labels and social reality: Do we view social categories as natural kinds? In G. R. Semin & K. Fiedler (Eds.), Language and social cognition (pp. 11–36). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  34. Sibley, C. G., & Barlow, F. K. (2009). The ubiquity of Whiteness in majority group national imagination: Australian=White, but New Zealander does not. Australian Journal of Psychology, 61, 119–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Verkuyten, M. (2003). Discourses about ethnic group (de-)essentialism: Oppressive and progressive aspects. British Journal of Social Psychology, 42, 371–391.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Zable, A. (2010). Ancestral bonds tie us to boat tragedy. Retrieved December 22, 2010, from

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations