Self-Identification and Belonging

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What is the stronger influence on ones sense of self-identity - country or culture? Where and what is home? Is it the place in which you were born, raised and live, or is it a space that gives you a feeling of belonging? What happens when the two are different? These questions rise to the surface at some point for most people who have a culture in their blood that is different to the country in which they reside, which applies to many people living in multicultural Australia. “People from non English speaking backgrounds, both those born overseas as well as their Australian born children, constitutes 25% of the population (of Australia)...the Aboriginal population is less than 1.5%” (Scicluna, para 3-4). For people living in Australia we are in the unique and fortunate position where multiculturalism is accepted as a beneficial part of our national identity. For those with a non-Australian cultural background retaining ones culture is encouraged and an official part of the Commonwealth Government’s National Agenda for Multiculturalism which states: “Cultural identity - the right of all express and share their individual cultural heritage, including their language and religion.” (DIMI, sect 5). Australia’s acceptance of the multitude of cultural identities within this country support the natural tendency of people to maintain their cultural background and practices. Within cultures “there is an awareness of a common identity...a striving toward preservation of this identity, toward self-preservation of the culture...” (Wikipedia 2004, para 1) Cultural identity theory also holds the position that “intrusions from other cultures imply loss of autonomy and thereby loss of identity.” (Wikipedia 2004, para 1) So if one is living in one country, and allowed to express the culture of another, this would imply that you have access to both

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