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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 18, 2023

“An Emotional Leap”: Australia’s and New Zealand’s Search for a Post-imperial Belonging

  • Sabrina Julia Jost EMAIL logo
From the journal New Global Studies


In the 1960s, it became apparent that the seemingly strong ties between Britain and the former settler colonies of Australia and New Zealand were in danger of disintegrating. Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community in the early 1970s was a symbolic end point to their affiliation. Since belonging is closely linked to emotions, this prompted a re-ordering of emotional practices in Australian and New Zealand society. As Britain’s turn to Europe was interpreted by the majority in these countries as an abandonment, Britishness could no longer be the main self-descriptor of identity, and the “British World” no longer the world to live in. Multicultural policies meant a re-evaluation and re-shaping of social coexistence in Australia and New Zealand. Food cultures as cultural heritage were emotionally reinterpreted and appropriated, as they offered new possibilities for identification in the search for a new national identity. The relationship with neighbors in the South Pacific was also placed on a new emotional footing, while the British were excluded via mechanisms of “emotional othering.” These processes of emotional detachment from Britain had direct influences on how Australia and New Zealand positioned themselves in and in relation to the world.

Corresponding author: Sabrina Jost, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Sonderforschungsbereich 923 “Bedrohte Ordnungen” 72074 Tubingen, Germany, E-mail:


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Received: 2022-10-27
Accepted: 2023-06-27
Published Online: 2023-07-18

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