"The Toast is Anzac": Culture and the Creation of National Identity in World War One Australia

Sandy, Madison, Sociology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Kumar, Jagdish, Department of Sociology, University of Virginia

As Sociologist Michael Mann notes, “to struggle successfully as a class or nation requires a meaning system embodying ultimate values, norms, and ritual and aesthetic practices” (1993:215). The events of Gallipoli and feats of Australian soldiers, wrapped conveniently in the picturesque symbol of the brawny, masculine Anzac, delivered an opportunity to a rather insecure and young colony to develop its own proud narrative. Through the case study of national identity development in World War I Australia, this project more broadly aims to better understand the nuances of cultural power in the creation of nations and nationalism. It will explore who was involved in the creation of the Anzac legend, what did Anzac mean to those various parties, what version or versions of Anzac were crystalized as the mainstream national symbols, and why. We can begin with the single question: how did Anzac become a core part of Australian identity?

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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