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Non-metropolitan productions of multiculturalism: refugee settlement in rural Australia

Wilding, R and Nunn, C (2017) Non-metropolitan productions of multiculturalism: refugee settlement in rural Australia. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 41 (14). pp. 2542-2560. ISSN 0141-9870


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In spite of the widespread backlash against multicultural policies, diversity remains a feature of globalized societies, requiring better understandings of how cultural difference is negotiated in rapidly transforming communities. Building on existing studies of multiculturalism in metropolitan contexts, we use interviews and ethnographic research to consider the transformation of a non-metropolitan community from a relatively homogeneous to an increasingly diverse place resulting from recent humanitarian resettlement flows. We argue that the new arrivals and established settlers in this regional city collaborate in the discursive and practical production of a form of multiculturalism that is shaped by the particularities of a rural imaginary, which they assert as distinct from urban experiences of super-diversity. At the same time, the local emphasis on rurality contributes to the reproduction of power inequalities that limit opportunities for eliminating discrimination and social exclusion in spite of evidence of conviviality in formal and informal encounters.

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