Through an investigation of the idea of the stranger, this article seeks to blend theory with empirical research. It does this in three ways. First, it engages with a social theory of the stranger articulated in the work of Zygmunt Bauman. Second, it examines data from the Australian Election Study surveys between 1996 and 2007 in order to explore attitudinal changes towards groups of immigrants. The findings from this survey suggests that attitudes towards immigrants in general have fluctuated in Australia, despite the negative effects of economic globalization, the growth in neoliberal economic reforms and terrorist attacks in the West. Third, drawing on Bauman's theory of the stranger we provide an interpretation of these fluctuating attitudes through the idea of the hybrid stranger. Finally, we argue that a more nuanced understanding of these attitudes towards immigrants in Australia is possible when a theory of the stranger is informed by a discussion on the constitution of host self, the influence of the media, the role of government policy, and the impact of class and geography.
Field of Research
160803 Race and Ethnic Relations
Socio Economic Objective
940111 Ethnicity, Multiculturalism and Migrant Development and Welfare