When someone asks where are you from, do you instinctively say the place you grew up in or do you say the place you live in now? perhaps you talk about your heritage or nationality or even the place you associate with the most.
When someone asks me this question my answer would have to be Australia because it is the only place I have ever lived but recently I have been thinking about what it means to be Australian and I have come to the conclusion that I don’t really know.
There are some aspects of Australia that are considered to be a part of our culture but the truth is I don’t really associate with these things at all. I don’t like football or cricket, I’m not that fond of barbeques or the beach, I almost never wear thongs, I’ve never lived out in the bush and I am in no way Aboriginal. So does this make me less Australian? Perhaps I should say I am Italian because that is my heritage, but then I’d still feel the same because I’m not really connected to Italian Culture either. If it’s the place you associate with the most that determines where you come from than I would gladly say I am Japanese because nothing makes me feel more at home than eating Ramen, drinking some sake and watching an anime or reading a Manga. But how could I say that when I am not even from Japan?
Australia is a prime example of a ‘global village’ in the sense that it’s a culture made up of many different cultures. When I stop and think about my everyday Australian life from the things I eat to the clothes I wear, from the movies I watch to the music I listen to, all of it is either influenced by or entirely imported from other cultures all over the world. This leads me to the question has all this cross cultural integration led to a destruction of culture itself? What it means to be Australian is a difficult question to answer when Australia is so multicultural that is ceases to have its own identity.
At the same time though while I know Australia is very diverse and multicultural, I sometimes wonder just how globalized it really is. It is still a western dominate culture and the existence of cultural Imperialism is clearly evident. As Todd Gitlin states” If there is a global village it speaks American“, take film and television here in Australia for example. About 80 percent of movies released here are American Hollywood blockbusters and the television shows we import are primarily American as well. There are so many great Australian Movies out there but when I think about how many I have seen personally, It would probably be less than forty and when I think about how many American or British Movies I’ve seen it would be in the hundreds (yeah I watch A LOT of movies). The truth is there just isn’t that many foreign films available in Australia. Even look at the magazines we read, What are we reading about each week? American celebrates and American pop stars. You can’t even enter a town in Australia without finding a McDonald’s or two and everyone here has an iPod. So yes it can be noted that Australia in some ways is heavily dominated by western culture particularly American however in other in ways it is a very diverse and multicultural nation. The hard part is determining where global influences end and Australian culture begins.