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ERIC Number: ED419056
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Racism, Popular Culture and Australian Identity in Transition: A Case Study of Change in School Textbooks since 1945. Occasional Paper No. 14.
Since the second world war, significant changes have come about in the sense of Australian identity and historical self-consciousness. The nature and extent of these changes can be seen in an analysis of racism and conceptions of culture, and how the "other" is defined. The main interest of this paper is Australian popular culture, and the empirical focus is 630 texts widely used in Australian schools in the period from 1945 to 1985. Most of these texts achieved mass circulation. Changes in historical interpretation are cruder and much more clear in school textbooks, which usually contain large generalizations and simplifications. This paper traces a striking change in the cultural contexts of school textbooks since 1945 from the paradigm of assimilation to one of multiculturalism. This change should be seen in the context of an old story of Australia in which history is a narrative of progress and development, with cultural differences conceived as a matter of superiority/inferiority and dominance and suppression of other cultures, such as the assimilation of Aborigines and immigrants. From the late 1960s on, a new story of Australia began to emerge, with a reading of history based on principles of cultural pluralism. In the new story of Australia, cultural differences are to be celebrated. This view emerges as the dominant content in social studies and history in school curricula by the early 1980s. (Contains 20 figures and 6 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - General
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Wollongong Univ., New South Wales (Australia). Centre for Multicultural Studies.