Whose security? How white possession is reinforced in everyday speech about asylum seekers

Koerner, Catherine (2010) Whose security? How white possession is reinforced in everyday speech about asylum seekers. ACRAWSA e-journal (Critical Race and Whiteness Studies), 6 (1). pp. 1-14. ISSN 1838-8310

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Abstract

The national narratives that construct asylum seekers as illegal immigrants in Australia were protected and contested during the term of the former Howard Liberal government. This paper explores how white possession is reinforced in everyday speech about asylum seekers. To do this, it draws upon an empirical study conducted in rural South Australia with people who identified as “white Australian”. The study consists of 28 in depth semi structured interviews conducted in 2003. The paper will firstly locate the interviews in the sociopolitical context of the former Howard Liberal government’s policies and key events such as the Tampa incident. In doing so, the paper adds to the small body of Australian sociological empirical research that investigates everyday practices of whiteness.

The paper identifies discourses about refugees, border security and the “war on terror” that reinforce Australian discourses of white possession. The paper critiques the racialised privilege in discourses used by the interviewees about asylum seekers and argues this privilege is gained through the assertion of “white patriarchal sovereignty” (Moreton-Robinson 2004a) in everyday speech. This privilege simultaneously disavows Indigenous sovereignty and reasserts white national sovereignty through the raced exclusion of Middle Eastern and/or Muslim peoples who are located as illegal immigrants in everyday white discourses about asylum seekers.

Item Type: Article
Field of Research: 16 Studies in Human Society > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200209 Multicultural, Intercultural and Cross-cultural Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2011 00:06
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2011 23:04
URI: http://eprints.batchelor.edu.au/id/eprint/244

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