Narratives of nationhood: Young Australians’ concepts of nation and their attitudes towards ‘boat people’

Jacqueline Laughland-Booy, Zlatko Skrbis, Bruce Tranter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In Australia, questions surrounding national identity often feature in public discussions on asylum seekers. Using qualitative interview data collected from 40 participants in an ongoing study of young people in Queensland, we explore the connections between young peoples’ understandings of Australian national identity and their attitudes towards ‘boat people’. We identify distinct points of interconnection and disjuncture between participants’ notions of being ‘Australian’ and their thoughts on how Australia should respond to asylum seekers. With respect to the asylum seeker debate, we find narratives of Australian nationhood are flexible in interpretation and can serve contrasting and competing functions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367–381
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Sociology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Australia
  • national identity
  • Asylum Seekers
  • boat people
  • Cosmopolitanism

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