Reclaiming Australia?: the digital formations of the Australian anti-Islamic nationalist movement
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 02:00 authored by Nick McTeigue
With the re-emergence of Pauline Hanson and One Nation at the 2016 federal election, the politics of race in Australia have entered another critical phase. This thesis examines the emergence of four prominent anti-Islamic, Australian nationalist organisations – Reclaim Australia, the United Patriots Front, Halal Choices and the Q Society, which are united in their view that Muslims are incompatible with the contemporary Australian nation. Relying on digital, networked social media technologies as a means of organisation, communication and interaction, these organisations form a collective, produce discourse and transition from the digital realm into public space. The digital formation and rapid development of this anti-Islamic nationalist movement highlights the new dynamics restructuring the contemporary Australian racial hierarchy and the rules of national belonging. This project applies a critical discourse analysis methodology to demonstrate how a network of everyday actors use new media as a technology of power. Working through the new media ecology, these organisations create multiple identity regimes, (re)attaching meaning to the contested language of race, nation, and multiculturalism. The project concludes that in promoting a return to an Australia of a past imaginary, a Christian, masculine, White-normative nationalism is reasserted by Whites and non-Whites alike. This (re)renders colonial-era cultural formations as a defensive, affective response to threats, both real and perceived. This project opens a window onto the everyday exercise of diffuse social power as a means of racialised oppression, and the everyday reconstitution of macro-discourses which are formed by a complex amalgam of political, social, economic and historical forces.