Fair Enough: Egalitarianism in Australia

Fair Enough: Egalitarianism in Australia

Fair Enough: Egalitarianism in Australia

Fair Enough: Egalitarianism in Australia

Synopsis

Explores the paradoxes in the Australian self-image of egalitarianism and the development of multicultural diversity, with particular reference to attitudes to women, indigenes and non-Anglo immigrants. The author teaches political science at the University of New South Wales and is active in political campaigns on women's issues and constitutional reform.

Excerpt

After she had helped out at an Australian children's birthday party, an American friend of mine observed: 'In the United States, the individualist tradition means that each child is asked whether or not he or she wants a piece of cake and how big a piece. in Australia, the children are counted up, the cake divided evenly into that number of pieces and each child given a piece, wrapped up, to take home.'

Out of that comment and a number of very simple questions came the genesis of this book. How was it that Australia could have an egalitarian tradition and yet be known for its White Australia policy, its xenophobia and its sexism? Could egalitarianism help explain the fact that Australia became progressively more tolerant as it went from being a relatively socially and culturally homogeneous society to a multicultural one? How could a people who are the greatest readers in the world be seen as a people who resent education?

While egalitarianism has the attraction of being an apparently simple idea, one held in common by a large group of people and able magically to simplify our understanding of our past and present (Horne 1989:54-66), such simple ideas are not without their dangers. As the political theorist Eugene Kamenka stresses:

the concept of national characteristics is at best an attempt to isolate some widespread but never pervasive cultural and political trends to be found within national groups; at worst, and most frequently, it is
Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.