Australia and the USA Compared
Edited by John Higley, John Nieuwenhuysen and Stine Neerup
Chapter 8: New Groups and Social Cohesion in Australia
Andrew Jakubowicz Immigration presents every society with issues about the nature of its social relations, its changing or resistant hierarchies of power and status, and the degree of openness of its economic, social and cultural institutions. Immigration is thus both a project within the political economy of the nation state and a dynamic process within the cultural politics of the society. This chapter discusses new groups in Australia and their effect on and absorption into contemporary society. ‘New groups’ refers in this chapter to communities created in Australia after the break-up of the Soviet Union, composed of immigrants or refugees from countries that had hitherto had a small or non-existent presence. In the main these communities come from Africa, parts of the Middle East and parts of the Pacific. As economic, ecological and political crises of global scale impose their consequences on small states and economies such as Australia, they foreground the multidirectional flows of power and resources between the global and the local, and the tenuous hold of the local political apparatus over international forces. Although the concept of social cohesion emerges from the social sciences, it has been fully politicized and normalized in policy and public discourse. Alexander Vladychenko, Director General of Social Cohesion for the Council of Europe, noted in 2007 that ‘a question which is currently fuelling political debate in all our societies [is] “How can we achieve social cohesion in a multicultural Europe?”’ (Council of Europe 2006). The Europeans are aware that there is...
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