Somali Reader by J. J. Pia and R. D. Molitor

By J. J. Pia and R. D. Molitor

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The recent so-called “race riots” in the Sydney suburb of Cronulla suggest that a multicultural city like Sydney has monocultural localities in which “moral panics” about strangers occasionally resurface’ (Marotta (2007:45). So for Moratta the normative portrayal of Melbourne as a multicultural city occludes the social inequalities and ‘ethnic regionalism’ that exist there. He argues that social economic and cultural processes have led ‘to the fear of difference’ and that ‘“multicultural Melbourne” is innovative, creative and dynamic, but within these potentialities lurks tribalism, fear and narrowness’ (Moratta 2007: 49).

For those who did not like Australia, the most frequently reported issue was employment difficulties. Overall, however, the number of people who regretted moving to Australia was very small. 4% of interviewees) identified homesickness and missing family as the principal drivers of their dissatisfaction. A salient feature of this study were questions relating to how migrants maintain their cultural links. As many as 83% of migrants interviewed reported 40 Experience and Representation the importance of contact with their culture, though migrants with the most English proficiency were the least concerned.

In terms of the sociology of migration, certainly up until the 1960s, it was the Chicago School that exercised the most influence. Their claim that assimilation was the eventual outcome of ‘all the incidental collisions, conflicts and fusions of people and cultures’ (Park 1928: 881) pegs out a boundary line that can usefully regulate further theoretical discussion of migration. The Chicago School predicted that even though new migrants might experience racial discrimination and antagonism on arrival in a new country, they would eventually move up the professional hierarchy, lose their cultural distinctiveness and embrace the dominant culture.

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