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The Shrinking Nation

How Australia became less than it was, and how it can once again be more than it is.

Over the past two decades, Australia has been experiencing a sustained period of accelerated socio-cultural change, accompanied by existential threats from natural disasters and the Covid pandemic, and punctuated by repeated cycles of political upheaval. The divisive and hyper-partisan version of party politics that has accompanied these events has hamstrung the nation’s capacity to respond to the challenges of the day – from dealing with climate change, to advancing gender equity, or to renovating the buckling structures of social welfare. At the same time, we have seen the quality of our democracy compromised.

The Shrinking Nation takes the temperature of our collective national wellbeing to determine how and why many Australians are left feeling like the nation has ‘shrunk’; that it is now less than it was, and less than it should be. Leading cultural historian Graeme Turner examines a wide range of social and cultural change, including the role played by a media environment swamped by misinformation, the social consequences of neoliberal economic policy, and the divisive legacy of the culture wars, before considering how we might strengthen the bonds of community and belonging that tie our nation together.

This timely, important and provocative book presents an original and compelling assessment of the state of the nation today, while designing a lifeline for the better country that is struggling to emerge.

ISBN: 9780702266195
Format: Paperback
Publisher: University of Queensland Press