Identities, Aspirations and Belonging of Cosmopolitan Youth in Australia

Jock Collins
Carol Reid
Charlotte Fabiansson


This article presents the results of a survey of the attitudes, aspirations and belonging of mainly immigrant minority youth living in Western and south western Sydney conducted in 2007 to provide some evidence to contest the populist view of immigrant youth as being a threat to Australian society. Rather the survey points to the very positive aspirations of Sydney’s immigrant youth, their strong sense of having a positive future role in Australian society, their sense of belonging and ownership of their neighbourhood. They live connected lives, with multicultural friendship networks rather than living their lives parallel to and separate from other youth. Only one in three surveyed identify as ‘Australian’, with most offering some hybrid-Australian identity. This finding worried the Australian government, who did not give publication approval of the research until late 2010. The paper argues that a more cosmopolitan approach to multiculturalism would assist in valuing the globalised, fluid, hybrid identities of immigrant youth and assist in relieving the nationalist anxieties about Australian cultural, linguistic and cultural diversity.

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