Macquarie University
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Post-Cronulla: narratives of inclusion and exclusion in the representation of Muslims on Australian free-to-air television 2005-2015

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posted on 2022-03-28, 19:11 authored by Branka Prodanovic
In December 2005, thousands of ‘white’ Australians gathered at Cronulla Beach in Sydney, to ‘cleanse’ the beach of ‘ethnics’. Australian media suggested these riots were a reflection of developing racial tensions in Australia over decades, that they represented a failure in multiculturalism, and that they reinforced divisions between ‘us’ and ‘them’. More importantly, the Cronulla Riots (re)presented Australia as a contested space of belonging, where non-white, Middle Eastern and/ or Muslim Australians are constructed primarily through exclusion and ‘otherness’. Assessing the ongoing effects of such exclusionary practices, this thesis addresses the representations of Muslims on Australian free-to-air television in the decade following the Cronulla Riots. The role of ‘otherness’ is explored in the media’s attempt to represent a multicultural nation through the production of narratives of inclusiveness and belonging (rather than exclusion and marginalisation) for Muslims in Australia.This thesis engages with discursive and televisual, textual formations that shape belonging and ‘otherness’, which impact the representation of Muslims on Australian television through binaristic relations of inclusion/exclusion and us/them. Discourse analysis is deployed to place critical understandings of ‘otherness’ in a relationship with representations of Muslim belonging. Conceptually, Edward Said’s (1978) Orientalism and Ghassan Hage’s (1998) ‘White Nation Fantasy’ are used to explore the significance of Muslim representations, and question their relationship to hegemonic determinations of ‘whiteness’ and ‘otherness’ in Australia. This thesis argues that, while narratives of inclusiveness and belonging do represent Muslims within the national realm, they also exploit ‘otherness’ in ways where belonging is always conditional and limited, reproducing contested ideas (of belonging) that the Cronulla Riots exemplified.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter One: Theoretical framework and review of literature -- Chapter Two: Methodology -- Chapter Three: Muslim representations in the Australian media prior to the Cronulla Riots -- Chapter Four: Muslims and 'Speaking Out' on the Special Broadcasting Service -- Chapter Five: Muslims and 'Domestication' on Network Seven -- Chapter Six: Muslims and 'In-betweenness' on Network Nine -- Chapter Seven: Muslims and 'Cosmo-multiculturalism' on Network Ten -- Chapter Eight: Muslims and 'Nation' on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation -- Conclusion.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 282-317

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Department, Centre or School

Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Anthony Lambert


Copyright Branka Prodanovic 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (317 pages)

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