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Ned Kelly: armoured icon


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Tranter, BK and Donoghue, J 2010 , 'Ned Kelly: armoured icon' , Journal of Sociology, vol. 46, No. 2 , pp. 187-205 , doi: 10.1177/1440783309355063.

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Myths associated with outlaws or ‘social bandits’ are important elements of national identity in many countries. Long after his death the outlaw Ned Kelly lives on in Australian culture through various media, ensuring his enduring symbolic importance for national identity. National survey data indicates Kelly’s salience for a majority of Australians, although attitudes regarding his status as hero or villain vary considerably. Younger, left leaning, working-class Australians and consumers of popular culture view Kelly as important, while tertiary-educated, political conservatives tend to downplay his significance. Perceptions of Kelly’s character also influence attitudes regarding his national significance. The lack of foundation heroes in a nation built not only by free settlers but also by English convicts and Irish rebels goes some way to explaining why a 19th-century outlaw is one of the few historical figures recognized by a majority of Australians.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Tranter, BK and Donoghue, J
Keywords: Australian identity, bushrangers, national identity, Ned Kelly, outlaws
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Sociology
ISSN: eISSN: 1741-2978: ISSN: 1440-7833
DOI / ID Number: 10.1177/1440783309355063
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© 2010 The Australian Sociological Association,

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