Citizenship and identity in diverse societies

Kim Rubenstein, Mark Nolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article examines the relationship between the legal status of citizenship and psychological research about blended identity in diverse societies such as Australia. A blended identity could include Australian national identity as well as other identities relevant to a person's self-definition. Analysing the link between citizenship law and the psychological enjoyment of blended identity is important after the reforms to Australian citizenship law in 2007. As discussed below, the former Liberal-National Government introduced a new citizenship knowledge test for citizenship-by-conferral applicants. In doing so, that government expressed strong beliefs about the power of a shared, unitary, national identity. It also supported calls for citizenship applicants to sign a statement of Australian values (different to the citizenship pledge) and to complete an English language test. In light of the reforms and political debate, we attack the suggestion that blended identification (for example, as a Greek Australian) is somehow inconsistent with true Australian national identification and citizenship, and moreover we argue that a single national identification sits uneasily with the legal acceptance of dual and multiple citizenship in current Australian legislation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-44
Number of pages16
JournalHumanities Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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