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Type: Conference paper
Title: The "new" cultural wars: "constructing" the National Museum of Australia
Author: McCarthy, G.
Citation: Proceedings of the Australasian Political Studies Association Conference, University of Adelaide, 29 September – 1 October 2004 [electronic resource] : pp. www 1-34
Publisher: APSA
Publisher Place:
Issue Date: 2004
Conference Name: Australasian Political Studies Association Conference (2004 : Adelaide, South Australia)
Abstract: The argument of this paper is that the controversy over the National Museum of Australia (NMA) is best considered in terms of a “new” cultural war. The paper contends that the cultural wars in Australia took on a new phase with the election of the Howard government in 1996. That is, while in Opposition, John Howard had asserted a narrow version of Australian identity, tied to a settler modernist version of history. Howard’s ideological construction remained within a plurality of views while he was in Opposition, however, once in power Howard set about constructing Australia to match his cultural predilections. Howard sought to displace pluralistic versions of Australian identity and history with his old-fashion notion of the supremacy of Anglo-Saxon culture and Australia as a march of modernist progress. The case study in this paper on the NMA seeks to elucidate how the new cultural war, backed by political power, had profound consequences for those who asserted a pluralist interpretation of Australian history within the NMA. The government sought to construct the NMA in terms of Australian being an example of settler progress. The paper shows how it was not the government’s ideological victory but naked power that constructed the NMA in the government’s truimphalist historical vision.
RMID: 0020042267
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Appears in Collections:Politics publications

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