The migrant 'stranger' at home: 'Australian' shared values and the national imaginary

Ellie Vasta*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter explores the idea of the stranger, using Georg Simmel’s ideas on proximity and distance, individuality and community. Based on research conducted in Sydney, the author examines how migrants negotiate ‘Australian values’ in their quest to construct a new home. Home for the migrant becomes an ambiguous space, and a paradox for the national imaginary where the migrant is both an insider and an outsider, though they can also be only one or the other. Generally, the migrant at home in Australia is both friend and foe and has both insider and outsider status. Hybrid knowledge and identities are constructed, while at the same time dealing with those parts of Australian culture that are perplexing and at times inaccessible. As outsiders and insiders, migrants are able to actively construct ‘home’ from various vantage points, and observe and practise both affinities and differences with the cultural others surrounding them.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReimagining home in the 21st century
EditorsJustine Lloyd, Ellie Vasta
Place of PublicationCheltenham, UK ; Northampton, MA, USA
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781786432933
ISBN (Print)9781786432926
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • the stranger
  • migrants
  • home
  • the migrant stranger
  • Australia
  • affinities


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