Friend or Foe: An Analysis of the Contribution National Identity Hegemony Plays in the Acceptance of Asylum Seekers in Australia, Spain and Catalonia

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Author: Amanda Collins
Email: a.collins.35@student.scu.edu.au
Published: April 6, 2019
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijcs.4.1.06

Citation: Collins, A. (2019). Friend or Foe: An Analysis of the Contribution National Identity Hegemony Plays in the Acceptance of Asylum Seekers in Australia, Spain and Catalonia IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijcs.4.1.06


Abstract

With the vast number of people currently seeking asylum, this research sought to understand what determines the reception of asylum seekers and rationalises the treatment of asylum seekers by a nation. This is important to gain insight into how and why displaced people are dehumanised and criminalised when seeking asylum. The national identities of Australia, Spain and Catalonia are analysed, as is the influence of each national identity on public perceptions of asylum seekers. To achieve this, Benedict Anderson’s understanding of nationalism being an imagined national community has been adopted. A literature review examining the construction of each national identity, and its influence on public perception of asylum seekers was carried out. Findings were then compared with empirical data gathered during observation in Sydney, Australia and Barcelona, Catalonia. It was hypothesised that sentiments held towards asylum seekers by members of a national community could be attributed to the boundaries of inclusion and exclusion created by a national identity. This was confirmed, as a difference in attitudes towards asylum seekers was evident in Australia, Spain and Catalonia resulting from the processes governments have chosen to develop such an identity.

Keywords

national identity, asylum seekers, othering