THE GLOBAL NEIGHBOURHOOD CITIZENSHIP AND INTEGRATION IN THE GLOBAL CITY

by Michael Muzzupappa

Michael.Muzzupappa@student.uts.edu.au

Task: Identify some of the challenges and opportunities posed by cultural diversity in a global city

The Pai Lao monument located at the entrance to Freedom Plaza is a symbol of the South-East Asian communities of Cabramatta and a celebration of harmony and multiculturalism.

Citizenship, immigration and integration continue to play a central and controversial role in Australian public discourse. The rapid development and transformation of Sydney into a global city has accentuated these issues creating both new challenges and new opportunities for the newly emergent "superdiverse" city.

Like other global cities such as New York, London and Rome the issues of racism and urban segregation remain a large obstacle which hinders the full integration for the newly arrived culturally diverse immigrant communities (Amin 2002; Krase and Hum 2007). Although Australia over the past few decades has shifted its domestic policy towards multiculturalism the historical legacy of institutional racism from settler nationalism, assimilation and the White Australia policy, have left a lasting and permeating mark on who is considered an 'Australian citizen" (Coates, K.S. 2004). Indisputably race was the main unit of measure by which the imagined Australian nation and nationality came to be understood, resulting in the creation of a culturally and ethnically homogeneous “White Australian” nation sharing a common “British” tradition (Moran, A 2005).

CABRAMATTA HAS BECOME HOME TO THE LARGEST VIETNAMESE COMMUNITY IN AUSTRALIA AS WELL AS HOME TO MANY OTHER MINORITIES FROM ASIA AND EUROPE. RENOWN FOR ITS VIBRANT FOOD SCENE THis MURAL symbolizes THE COLORFUL AND ENERGETIC NATURE OF "CABRA" AS IT IS KNOW BY LOCALS AND IS AN EXAMPLE SUCCESSFUL MULTICULTURALISM AND SUPERDIVERSE COMMUNITy.

In the “visibly ethnic” (Krase and Hum 2007) areas of Western Sydney with the highest levels of new immigrant populations, the poverty rates amongst the white working class is also highest. Ensuing from the global trend of outsourcing manufacturing jobs, poor social-economic mobility and general lack of social resources tensions between poor white working class and new immigrants are a common feature of the “global neighborhood” (Krase and Hum 2007). Often racial in nature these tensions are exaggerated by a sensationalized media eager to cash in on the “culture clash" while fueling fears of segregation and “un-Australian" communities. While many challenges exist, these global neighborhoods present a unique opportunity for native and immigrants to experience and interact each other’s cultures and genuinely create inclusive multicultural communities. Upon reflecting on my own experience of the global neighborhood in Cabramatta, I find these fears to be largely unfunded. What I witnessed was a local community made of global citizens from different cultures and ethnicities living and thriving together in an inclusive environment. Not only does the global neighborhood work, it may also lay down the framework to rethink notions of citizenship and Australian identity.

A common feature in the global neighborhood is the dominant presence of shops and signs visually connected to the countries of origin of the immigrant communities and reflective of their strong entrepreneurial drive. While these features serve to give a sense of belonging and attachment to immigrants with their homeland, for the local native and non-Asian inhabitants this may also represent a symbol of exclusion and alienation (Wise 2011).

Reference List:

Amin. A, 2002, 'Ethnicity and the multicultural city: living with diversity', Environment and Planning A, Vol. 34, pp. 959-980

Coates, K. S, 2004. 'Introduction: Indigenous Peoples in the Age of Globalization' A Global History of Indigenous Peoples: Struggle and Survival, Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, UK, pp. 1-24.

Krase, J. and Hum. T, 2007, 'Immigrant global neighborhoods: Perspectives from Italy and the United States', Ethnic Landscapes in an Urban World, Vol. 8, pp. 97-119

Moran, A. 2005. 'White Australia, Settler Nationalism, and Aboriginal Assimilation,' Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 168-193.

Wise. A, 2011, 'Foreign signs and multicultural belongings on a diverse shopping street', Built Environment, Vol. 37 No. 2, pp. 139-152

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