Attitudes to multicultural values in diverse spaces in Australia's immigrant cities, Sydney and Melbourne

James Forrest*, Kevin Dunn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Australia has in the past decade seen a decline in political support for multicultural values. However, public opinion on multiculturalism is contradictory rather than antipathetic: strong levels of support for cultural diversity co-exist with anti-multicultural attitudes. Some of this variation relates to compositional or socio-demographic (aspatial) associations, but in addition to these we identify an important spatial context to views about the acceptance of 'strangers in our midst' in both Sydney and Melbourne, Australia's two main immigrant-receiving cities. Thus, deconstruction of attitudes to multicultural values is seen to relate to spatial context-and the specific mix and strength of presence of the cultural groups present and, in some cases, the lack of either-as much as it does to socio-demographic or compositional attributes of local populations. Spatial context, a largely neglected element of variation in acceptance or rejection of multicultural values, is as important to our understanding of the intraurban variation of such values as aspatial influences, including the structural effects of mass news media representations of minority groups. Such findings are relevant to policy development in Australia, which has largely failed to engage with the current public anxieties about multiculturalism and which has neglected the political resources (and negative by-products) that come from the everyday engagement with cultural diversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-102
Number of pages22
JournalSpace and Polity
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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