Constructing Citizenship: Labour, Urban Development and Citizenship in Australian Design Magazines of the 1930s

Melissa Miles, Geraldine Fela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The photographs that fill the pages of the Australian illustrated magazines The Home and Decoration and Glass offer new insights into the connections between urban development and citizenship in 1930s Sydney. This article focuses on two sites in which urban citizenship was represented and contested in these magazines: symbolic images of white Australian construction workers as builders of the nation, and debates about the lived experience of urban citizenship associated with the rise in flat construction. The multivocal quality of these illustrated magazines provides a means of addressing the complex interconnections between the built environment and cultural conceptions of citizenship. Examining work in and for these illustrated magazines shows that citizenship was neither understood nor lived as a fixed status defined and conferred by the state, but a contested series of values, obligations and modes of social participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-48
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Australian Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • cities
  • citizenship
  • labour
  • Magazines
  • photographs

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