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The Locals

Identity, Place and Belonging in Australia and Beyond


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’.