Race, Place and Grace: Cosmopolitanism in Small Town Australia

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Thoraval, Yannick (2019) Race, Place and Grace: Cosmopolitanism in Small Town Australia. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


This multidisciplinary PhD comprises a novel and exegesis, which, together, explore the idea that some small Australian towns may promote the likelihood of residents having intercultural experiences associated with cosmopolitanism. The exegesis examines social, political and economic conditions which may support cosmopolitan experience. The novel dramatizes how the lived social environment can influence one’s emotional experience of cultural difference. Together, the novel and exegesis conclude that small towns present social conditions, which can promote empathy and cultural curiosity. The combination of novel and exegesis enables this project to ask broad questions about how Australian multiculturalism could harness the potential of cosmopolitan interactions. For example, it asks as: can modern residents of diverse small towns better adapt to social and cultural change than city dwellers? Through creative, practice-led research in the form of a novel, this project offers a verisimilar perspective of a cultural outsider in a diverse small town. Through first person narrative, the novel explores what a cosmopolitan experience may feel like. This perspective also allows the thesis to reflect on how some of the socio-cultural impediments to acceptance may be overcome. The exegesis supports this line of inquiry through more traditional scholarship, drawing on case studies, as well as social, cultural and economic theory to interrogate the central assertion of this thesis: that small towns can be as cosmopolitan, if not more so, than their big city counterparts. Combined, the creative work and exegesis respond to perennial questions, such as what it means to belong to Australia, how difference is perceived and how it could be valued in this country. Through the novel and exegesis, the utility of cosmopolitan perspectives and social policy emerge as a practical responses to negotiating differences in the social context of Australia’s multicultural community: a diverse, national community facing an increasingly global world.

Additional Information

Doctor of Philosophy (Creative Arts)

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/42240
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Current > Division/Research > College of Arts and Education
Keywords novel; exegesis; small towns; Australia; cosmopolitanism; social; political; economic; cultural difference; multiculturalism
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