Title

The characteristics and components of national identity in Australia

Author Identifiers

Kate Brown
ORCID: 0000-0002-6795-8737

Date of Award

2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) Honours

School

School of Arts and Humanities

First Advisor

Dr Justine Dandy

Second Advisor

Dr Zoe Leviston

Abstract

National identity research in Australia is fragmented, with preliminary understandings relying on acculturation studies. Cross-cultural psychologists suggest 54 social markers are variably endorsed by Australian-born adults in order to perceive immigrants as authentic nation group members. However, the identity markers adopted in defining oneself as Australian have not yet been determined. The present study features two phases of data collection: a pilot study trialing identity markers specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, cultures, and history; and a main study surveying the combined measure of 61 identity markers. Three research questions were addressed through the main study, whereby I sampled 2,015 Australian adults (local- and foreign-born), and participants rated the importance of each identity marker. In comparing the mean endorsements of identity markers, results support earlier findings that Australians sanction a civic, rather than an ethnic, national identity. Exploratory factor analyses revealed a strong four-factor model (accounting for 55.96% of the common variance), with an independent component demonstrating strong support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations. Factor endorsement and demographic details (age, gender, education level, geographic location, and voting behaviour) revealed a number of significant associations, providing some support for earlier research. Surprisingly, education and geographic location are not considered to influence how individuals identify, or identify others, as Australian. Future researchers will now be able to examine the predictive value of identity components against outgroup bias, intergroup conflict, and negative attitudes towards minorities, as well as evaluate subjective wellbeing for individuals, whom deviate from nation group prototypes.

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