Australia’s new global economy has created new opportunities for its economy, a new kind of nationalism, says a new study.
The report, by the Australian Council for the National Interest, argues that the rise of China’s economic rise has given rise to new, globalised nationalism.
It suggests that this has given Australia a unique opportunity to become a new country with its own distinctive identity, which is “one of the most distinctive and distinctive forms of nationalism that has existed”.
Its authors believe the rise in Chinese economic growth has allowed Australia to become “a national identity that is increasingly global”.
The authors say this is an opportunity for Australia to reinvent itself as a new nation, and a chance to “unite” Australia with a shared “national identity”.
In their view, the new global economic and political system, led by China, has created opportunities for “new forms of nationalism”, such as nationalism, with the potential to bring about a new global, post-national identity.
“It’s not just about economic growth and globalisation, but also about a globalisation that’s based on nationalism,” said the report’s author, Professor Christopher Whitehead, a professor of sociology at Curtin University.
“It’s a very globalised, transnational, and transnationalised system, and that can only lead to a sense of nationalism.”
Whitehead said the new nationalism would also allow Australia to reclaim its identity, “because we have lost it”.
The rise of the Chinese economy has been a key driver of the country’s globalisation.
While many people, including some government ministers, have suggested that China’s rapid economic growth, especially in recent years, is responsible for the “Chinese dream”, Professor Whitehead said there was no way to know for sure.
“If the Chinese dream is to become the world’s leading economy, that’s certainly not the answer,” he said.
“The only way we can become that is to re-define what that means to be a globalised nation.”
Professor Whitehead believes that Australia’s “national dream” is now more about being a global economic superpower than about being “a globalised global nation”.
“We have become increasingly dependent on China and we’ve been unable to develop our own identity,” he explained.
Professor Whiteheads report also suggests that Australia has a unique chance to become one of the worlds leading economies if it chooses to adopt a new national identity.
Whitehead noted that the “New China” is “not necessarily an ideal model for the Australian economy”, as it was not “built on any shared national identity”.
“There’s an opportunity to develop an identity that has a shared national story, but that has its own unique narrative and history, and which is based on a shared history and culture,” he added.
“We can then take that into the future as a national identity and a global one.”
The report says that if Australia is to develop its “national destiny” it will need to “strengthen its sense of national identity” by “developing a sense and a national consciousness” about its history and heritage, and to “develop a sense that we are the true and final nation”.
The report is the latest in a series of international studies that have identified a “new nationalism” as a key feature of China and its growing economy.
Whiteheads study found that “China’s growing economic strength has not only given rise the potential for nationalism, but has also given rise an entirely new way of thinking about nationalism”.
The research also found that while “nationalism has become increasingly globalised” and the “national story” is a “global narrative”, it is “still rooted in a common identity”.
The new nationalism is based in “a shared history of culture and identity, and shared national stories and histories”, Whitehead wrote.
White heads report also said that it was “not clear that the current Australian national identity is rooted in any shared history, as it is very different from the Australian identity of Australia”.
Professor White heads report found that the new national story of Australia was built on the idea of “a strong, global, trans-national and trans-ethnic nation” that was “built around the notion of the shared national destiny”.
Professor John Horne, a former Australian prime minister and former international relations adviser to Australia’s prime minister, has argued that the country needs to “re-examine the myth of the nation state” and build “a sense of a shared identity”.
Whiteheads report calls for “a new national consciousness”, and said that “it is clear that we do need a new narrative of national life”.
“The challenge now is to redefine our national identity to reflect the realities of the globalisation process, rather than just a particular sense of patriotism,” Whitehead concluded.