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The Locals

Identity, Place and Belonging in Australia and Beyond

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Rob Garbutt

This book presents the first comprehensive survey of being a local, in particular in Australia. As in much of the colonised, English-speaking world, in Australia the paradox is that the locals are not indigenous peoples but migrants with a specific ethnic heritage who became localised in time to label other migrants as the newcomers and outsiders. Claims of belonging as ‘local’ provide a crucial insight into power relations that extend beyond the local level to questions of national identity and the ethics of belonging in a postcolonial, multicultural nation. How have Anglo-Celtic Australians installed themselves as locals? Where do Indigenous Australians stand in this local politics of identity? What are the ethical considerations for how we connect our identities to places while also relating to others in a time of intensifying migration? This book explores these questions via a multidisciplinary cultural studies approach and a mixed methodology that blends a critical language study of being local with auto-ethnographical accounts by the author, himself a ‘local’.

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List of figures -ix

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List of figures 1 Map showing some key places mentioned in The Locals xiv 2 ‘the f lat broad Tuncester plain’ (Photograph: the author, 2000) 3 ‘That farmhouse close to the road that we sped past’ (Photograph: the author, 2000) 4 ‘my spiritual home, from whence my “localness” comes into being’ (Photograph: the author, 1974) 5 ‘the place where I’m a local, Lismore’ (Photograph: the author, 2006) 6 The Kestrel Tree (Photograph: the author, 1974) 7 The ‘semi-tropical rainforest’ (Photograph: the author, 2001) 8 Chilcotts Grass, Howards Grass and Lagoon Grass (Photomontage: the author, 2006) 9 ‘The clearing’ (Photograph: the author, 2000) 10 1% left. Big Scrub Rainforest Day Banner, Lismore (Photograph: the author, 2005) 11 The importance of being here first: first selector sign, Lismore (Photograph: the author, 2006) 12 ‘HSBC – The world’s local bank’: billboard at Changi International Airport, Singapore (Photograph: the author, 2009) 13 ‘Trust a local to look after you’: billboard at Tugun (Photograph: the author, 2004) 14 ‘Support locals say no to s[ervice]/station’, opposite the Woolworths Service Station, Diadem Street, Lismore (Photograph: the author, 2004) 15 ‘Give the locals a go!’ Gary Bryant’s Mattress Discounts, Ballina Street, Lismore (Photograph: the author, 2005) 16 Lismore (in pink), Cubawee and other sites mentioned in Chapter 5 17 The Richmond River Historical Society logo featured on museum signage, Molesworth Street, Lismore (Photograph: the author, 2010)

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