In this article I look at Australian political discourse from 2013 to 2016 to examine two twinned schemas: the ways in which the category of the child refugee or asylum-seeker is produced, and the ways in which ideas of the Australian nation are produced, through emotional discourses, or economies of emotion. I am interested here in asking what emotional work these narratives about child refugees do in the national imagination, and to create an idea of “Australia”. Both the category of the child refugee/asylum-seeker, and that of the nation, are not natural: they are historical productions, built through multivalent, multilingual discourses and practices. They are forms of creating difference amongst populations in society. Through a focus on these discourses, languages, and grammars — as enunciated by politicians, NGO workers, lawyers, activists, and policy-makers — I will explore the specific ways in which the emotional economies function, and work to understand and historicise the systems of ideas and relations that they produce.
Silverstein, J. (2019). “Because we all love our country”: Refugee and Asylum-Seeking Children, Australian Policy-Makers, and the Building of National Sentiment. Australian Journal of Politics and History, 65(4), 532–548. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajph.12618