Nested assemblages: Migrants, war heritage, informal learning and national identities

Tiina Roppola, Jan Packer, David Uzzell, Roy Ballantyne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines relations between Anzac heritage and Australian national identity, among migrant visitors to the Australian War Memorial (AWM). What meaning could a story derived from Australian involvement in the First World War have to migrants who moved to Australia after the Second World War? Participants in qualitative interviews were eleven first-generation Australians, whose countries of birth were England, Greece, Ireland, New Zealand, Philippines, Scotland, South Africa and Sri Lanka, with parental countries of birth extending to Austria, Germany, India and Japan. Drawing on sociomaterial assemblage theory, the findings illustrate the concept of nested assemblages. At increasing scalar levels, the migrants form visitor-AWM assemblages, they may (or may not) feel part of a national Anzac heritage assemblage, and as migrants they are entangled in multiple national assemblages concurrently. Assemblages pertaining to family, faith, learning and memorialising were additional networks at play. Mapping interrelations amongst these assemblages showed migrants as actively gathering and interpreting heritage, sometimes as the enactment of national identity and at other times as the performance of informal, lifelong learning. The findings have importance to institutions seeking to be responsive to diverse and changing populations, particularly those wrestling with tensions around national identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1205-1223
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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