Journal article

“Because we all love our country”: Refugee and Asylum-Seeking Children, Australian Policy-Makers, and the Building of National Sentiment

J Silverstein

Australian Journal of Politics and History | Wiley | Published : 2019


© 2019 The University of Queensland and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd. In this article I look at Australian political discourse from 2013 to 2016 to examine two twinned schemas: the ways in which the category of the child refugee or asylum-seeker is produced, and the ways in which ideas of the Australian nation are produced, through emotional discourses, or economies of emotion. I am interested here in asking what emotional work these narratives about child refugees do in the national imagination, and to create an idea of “Australia”. Both the category of the child refugee/asylum-seeker, and that of the nation, are not natural: they are historical productions, built through multivalent,..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by ARC Laureate Research Fellowship Project

Funding Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Mary Tomsic for the many ongoing conversations which helped me write this piece; the organisers and attendees for their interest and feedback at seminar papers I gave in 2017 in the Philosophies of Difference seminar series and in the Contemporary Histories Research Group seminar series at Deakin University; and the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University for my Visiting Fellowship, which gave me time and space to revise this article. Thanks too to Joy Damousi and Rachel Stevens for their invitation and editorial work, and to the anonymous referees for their suggestions which helped me refine and improve this article. This article was researched and written with funding provided by the ARC Laureate Research Fellowship Project [FL140100049], "Child Refugees and Australian Internationalism from 1920 to the Present".