A Study of Sydney Suburbs within the Frameworks of Modernity and Tradition

Nicole Simoes


In exploring Australia’s multicultural society, it is vital to consider the ways in which people construct the world they want to live in, based on the traditional or modern ideals. These ideals are sustained by cultures of the East and West, whose diverging values underlie the Historicist war. This culture clash is epitomised in Sydney suburbs and ultimately raises the question of whether our society can ever attain a true sense of modernity. The Historicist rivalry exists between the closed, primitive, community values of the East and the open, progressive notions of the West. The West’s claim of superiority is enforced by Australian Colonialism, where European imperialist efforts transformed the traditional Aboriginal occupation of land, to a civil, Western society that embodies modern values.  A case study conducted on the site of Homebush Bay, reveal the demographics of educated, employed citizens who strive for individual success. This modern value has facilitated the community’s embrace of technological progress, evident by the highly developed architecture and public facilities that allow for a democracy of leisure. However, in contrast, suburbs such as Lakemba house a population that is representative of the East, who refuse to assimilate into Western culture. The lack of qualifications, and poor income of this working class, symbiotically inhibits the technological progress within the community, which is evident by the lack of developed infrastructure in the suburb. Rather, they embrace the natural environment which constitutes a primitive world, according to the West. Ultimately, the contrast between Homebush Bay and Lakemba captures the historicist tensions between the East and West, which affirm that in our multicultural society, Eastern-orientated societies with traditional values create a barrier to attaining a true sense of modernity in Australia.

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