Young Australians and their Identification with Australia
Social identity theory provided a theoretical framework for the study of 1242 Australian adolescent students’ constructions of Australian national identity. Seven underlying factors of being Australian were identified: Democracy, Diversity, Security and Wellbeing, Agreeableness, Rules of Citizenship, Sport, and Outdoor Lifestyle. More than half of the students had only moderate to low identification with being Australian; only 42% indicated that they felt totally Australian. Younger students had higher scores than older students on all factors except Democracy. Males endorsed factors such as Sport, and Outdoor Lifestyle, whereas females were more likely to endorse Diversity. Rural students had more traditional views of being Australia (Sport, and Outdoor Lifestyle), and were more conservative in their views (higher Rules of Citizenship and lower Diversity) than their urban counterparts. First, second, and third generation Australians differed in their identity constructions, and strength of affiliation. Indigenous students had the highest ratings on all factors.
Keywords: National Identity, Social Identity Theory
Dr Nola Purdie
Principal Research Fellow, Learning Processes and Contexts, Australian Council for Educational Research