Post-Secular Nation; or how “Australian spirituality” privileges a secular, white, Judaeo-Christian culture

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Sophie Sunderland


There is no doubt that Australia is a secular nation, but there is a tendency to argue it is becoming post-secular. This raises the question of on what premises might a national spirituality be founded in a multicultural, multifaith society? One person who has attempted to answer this theory is the writer David Tacey. I endeavour to show that Tacey’s spiritual realm is in fact unmistakably coded Christian, and by extension ‘Judaeo-Christian’. Furthermore, this constructed realm cites a white, Anglo-Celtic subject associated with settler history as most in need of spiritual salvation. I argue that in effect, and instead of offering new alternatives for social change, Tacey’s version of spirituality functions to reinforce and reproduce a transcendent narrative of the dominance of Judaeo-Christianity and white Anglo-Celtic subjectivity in Australian culture.

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