Governments imagining their citizens: figures of exclusion from Hawke to Howard
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 11:54 authored by Emma Sarian
The aim of this thesis is to suggest that citizenship's role in defining inclusion within a national space can be understood not only in terms of formal juridico-political rights but also in terms of cultural technologies of power. This particular focus is adopted in order to make sense of the ways in which the formally inclusive institution of Australian citizenship has long served to exclude migrant subjects and bodies from the physical and symbolic space of the nation. Using Foucault’s notion of governmentality together with Butler’s concept of performativity, this thesis seeks to trace the ways in which the liberal political rationality underlying constructions of ‘inclusive’ citizenship reproduces the discourse of Whiteness. More than this, the thesis suggests that such state articulations of citizenship, in deploying this liberal governmentality, work as tools to regulate the population through the resignification of bodies in terms of the self-regulating, invisible White subject and its regulated, conspicuous Other. Focusing particularly on the Hawke and Howard governments, this thesis will consider three key moments that are cited in histories of Australian migrant policy, examining the official position adopted by government in the context of these moments through speeches and policy papers, with a view to understanding how the citizen is discursively positioned in these texts.