INTRODUCTION – Extract
Australia is one of the world’s great migration nations: in seven decades of post-war immigration Australia has attracted immigrants from all over the globe so that only Luxembourg and Switzerland have a greater immigrant presence among OECD countries (OECD, 2016). Most of those immigrants have settled in cosmopolitan Australian cities, with Australia one of the most urbanised nations in the world today. But in the last fifteen years new visa pathways have been opened up for permanent and temporary immigrants to settle in rural and regional Australia. These new immigrants settle in what is called the ‘Australian bush’ and follow the pathway of previous generations of immigrant settlers who settled in regional and rural areas over the past two hundred years. At the same time Australia has a much longer history of Indigenous settlement dating some 60,000 years. Today’s regional and rural Australia has developed a cosmopolitan character as a result of this Indigenous and immigrant history and the ways that recent immigrants and Indigenous Australians have interacted with the majority established population.
Yet this cosmopolitan story of rural Australia is largely overlooked. This paper attempts to assist in redressing this neglect. The stereotype of the average rural dweller in Australia is white and ‘red-necked’ (a polite term for racist and xenophobic). This paper also attempts to shatter this stereotype and replace it with a more nuanced description of diversity, cosmopolitanism and acceptance of difference. First broad sociological theories of cosmopolitanism are reviewed including literature addressing rural cosmopolitanism, in particular. A cosmopolitan perspective is then applied to literature concerning rural Australia and specifically Indigenous Australians. Finally the paper draws on fieldwork from a range of research projects located in regional, rural
and remote locations across Australia. The methods used in those studies were mainly in-depth and focus group interviews conducted with new immigrants settling in non-metropolitan Australia within the last ten years, immigrant teachers and farmers, and Indigenous entrepreneurs located in regional areas.
SOURCE: Krivokapic-Skoko, Branka; Reid, Carol and Collins, Jock. “Rural Cosmopolitism in Australia.” Journal of Rural Studies [before print viewed 26 February 2018]
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