National Identity in Australia as presented by television broadcast television.

Essay by spaniel May 2003

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Using examples from your own observations of television programs discuss Barker's contention that

"National Identity is a form of imaginative identification with that nation state as expressed through symbols and discourses. Thus, nations are not only political formations but also systems of cultural representation so that national identity is continually reproduced through discursive action."

(Barker, 1999, pages 64-65)

We live in an imagined community. Australia. And as citizens of this nation, we are Australians - this is who we are, it is our national identity. Benedict Anderson defines a nation as an imagined community where national identity is constructed through symbols and rituals. It is "Imagined" because

"the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the images of the communion..."

(Anderson, 1983)

This is a defining theory as to what constitutes a nation - it exists, in part, as an imagined community, within our minds.

There are finite territorial boundaries and political formations that endure and change

"the political structures endure and change while the symbolic and discursive dimensions of national identity often narrates and creates the idea of origins, continuity and tradition"

(Barker, 1999, page 26)

But beyond that is our definition of ourselves. Our identity. It is not a fixed thing but a description of ourselves. A representation that is produced (and continually reproduced) through the various symbols and discourses (and rituals) with which we identify, based on the idea that identity is not fixed but created and built on, always in process. Identities are constituted in discourse, that is, identities are narrated by discursive constructions. Identities are formed within and through these systems of cultural representations.

Barker considers the systems of cultural representation that define national...