“Citizenship from below” among “non-white” minorities in Australia: Intergroup relations in a northern suburb of Adelaide


  • Ritsuko Kurita Kanagawa University


citizenship, sense of belonging, “non-white” minorities, intergroup relations, Australia


The recent scholarship on citizenship has highlighted the significance of horizontal citizenship, which states how an individual’s eligibility for membership is determined by a social system formed by equal peers and the development of a community that shares a citizen’s sense of belonging. However, researchers have paid scant attention to the sense of citizenship evinced by marginalised ethnic minorities. The present investigation examines citizenship in Australia by exploring intergroup relations. It attempts to determine the feeling of belonging that connects the Indigenous people of Australia to other “non-white” groups considered “un-Australian” by the mainstream society. A qualitative case study is conducted on Indigenous people as well as African and Vietnamese refugees and their descendants residing in a northern suburb of Adelaide. The findings demonstrate the existence of a vague sense of belonging triggered by shared, cross-group feelings of being non-white and common experiences of colonialism, racism, and derogation, along with the sense of pride and strength emanating from overcoming challenging circumstances and other adversities. Such a sense of belonging can transcend the differences between collective identities, facilitate multiculturalism, and offer an alternative to the extant forms of vertical citizenship that are state-imposed upon minorities whose national affiliation is frequently questioned.