White(washing) Australia and Nationalism Theory of Ernest Gellner

Author(s): 

Arindam Das

Journal of the European Association for Studies of Australia (JEASA), Vol.7 No.1, 2016.

 

Arindam Das

White(washing) Australia and Nationalism Theory of Ernest Gellner

 

Abstract: Nationalism theorist Ernest Gellner had always kept the formation of nation and that of race at bay. Race and nationalism are distinct for Gellner and are hence disassociated from each other. But, a more discerning reading of Gellner would make us think otherwise. In Nations and Nationalisms Gellner is of the view that a group of "entropy resistant" "blue people" always remain inassimilable within the national culture. It is this aporia in the otherwise homogenous nation that leads to the formation of nation within a nation. The Whiteness study theorists of Australia have hitherto overlooked this particular aspect of the Gellnerian thought while dealing with the formation of a White Australia. In my paper I would therefore like to substantiate the process of formation of a White Australian nation (through select examples, especially during the early stages of White nation formation by the settlers in Australia) through the theories of Ernest Gellner that talks about the attempt to subsume the "blue people" in the monolithic, modern, uppish, urban, nationalist discourse. In the process my paper would also reveal how the Indigenous Australians were positioned within the White Gellnerian nationalism that emerged from the invasion and "settlement" of Australia.

 

Keywords: Gellner, nation, nationalism, whiteness, race, White Australia

 

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Copyright © Arindam Das 2016. This text may be archived and redistributed both in electronic form and in hard copy, provided that the author and journal are properly cited and no fee is charged.

 

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