The politics of national recognition: Honouring Australians in a post-imperial world

Karen Fox, Samuel Furphy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    The announcement in January 2015 that Prince Philip had been chosen to receive an Australian knighthood (an honour which itself had been controversially revived the previous year) sparked a fury of debate about honours, and about the continuance of a British connection in Australia’s national life. Such debates were not new, echoing earlier arguments about honours as a national or imperial symbol. Through two related case studies — the Australian honours system and the Australian of the Year award — this article explores the politics of national recognition in 1970s and 1980s Australia. We consider both the politics involved in the creation and alteration of awards by which individual achievement and service are recognised by the nation, and the politics involved in imagining and recognising an Australian nation as expressed in those awards. We argue that these two institutions were more than a means to acknowledge hard work or sacrifice; they were also significant sites for contests over the nature of Australia’s post-imperial identity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)93-111
    Number of pages19
    JournalAustralian Journal of Politics and History
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


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