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“‘Do we have Aussie slang for genitals?’: intellectual elites, vernacular expression, and the ‘bush’ as urban imaginary”

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Rolls, M ORCID: 0000-0003-4198-3771 2019 , '“‘Do we have Aussie slang for genitals?’: intellectual elites, vernacular expression, and the ‘bush’ as urban imaginary”' , Journal of the European Association for Studies of Australia, vol. 10, no. 1 , pp. 40-58 .

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Abstract

Towards the end of his 2014 book The Bush: Travels in the Heart of Australia, DonWatson describes the quietening of evenings in the rural fringe just beyond Melbourne’soutskirts where all is stilled save for the tranquil browsing of kangaroos. The raucous laughterof kookaburras then begins to reverberate through this silence. “If nothing else will pin you toyour native land,” Watson writes, “this will” (355). Watson’s appeal to the senses as revelatoryof a quintessential Australianness by no means underpins or supports crude nationalism, but itdoes reference the centrality of “the land” or “the bush” in particular evocations of belongingand identity. Our reference to the bush as a source of identity has always been somewhatincongruous given that we are predominantly an urban population and much has been writtenabout this. Curiously, however, nowadays voices from the bush are seldom heard and when sothey often draw censure. The bush is spoken for and about but seldom listened to, a position itshares with the working class among others. Despite a suite of significant rural affairsprogrammes, ABC RN too frequently is dismissive of and condescending towards bush voices.Yet the bush is at the coalface of where so much of what is un-settling (and un-settled) Australiaoccurred, and because vicariously it is where we locate our essential Australianness, we shouldbe seeking to better understand the lifeworlds of those who live there. Their lived experience,no matter how ostensibly distant from the more delicate or righteous sensibilities of the urbanelite, often reveal complex and nuanced negotiations and intersections with Australia’s past andpresent, peoples and places.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Rolls, M
Keywords: the bush, elites, working-class, lifeworlds, Aborigines, settlers
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of the European Association for Studies of Australia
Publisher: Universitat de Barcelona Facultat de Filologia
ISSN: 2013-6897
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 European Association for Studies of Australia (EASA)

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