The “Necessity” of a Socially Homogeneous Population: The Ruling Class Embraces Racial Exclusion

Article


Griffiths, Phil. 2015. "The “Necessity” of a Socially Homogeneous Population: The Ruling Class Embraces Racial Exclusion ." Labour History: a journal of labour and social history. https://doi.org/10.5263/labourhistory.108.0123
Article Title

The “Necessity” of a Socially Homogeneous Population: The Ruling Class Embraces Racial Exclusion

ERA Journal ID34266
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorGriffiths, Phil
Journal TitleLabour History: a journal of labour and social history
Number of Pages22
Year2015
PublisherLiverpool University Press
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN0023-6942
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.5263/labourhistory.108.0123
Web Address (URL)https://www.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/doi/10.3828/labourhistory.108.0123
Abstract

In 1888, the colonial governments of Australia came together to agree on a policy of racial exclusion – aimed at preventing Chinese immigration. This article argues that key figures in the colonial ruling class feared the development of a racially divided population and shows them drawing on the mainstream liberal theory of anti-slavery, and John Stuart Mill’s theory that representative government required social homogeneity, to construct and legitimise their position. While anti-slavery has long passed as a major element in public policy, Mill’s argument for homogeneity shaped Australian justifications for White Australia through much of the twentieth century and, arguably, still informs elements of contemporary immigration policy.

KeywordsWhite Australia, homogeneity, assimilation, class, race, racism, John Stuart Mill, slavery, social control, liberalism
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020430302. Australian history
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Commerce
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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