20 / 2004
Maša Mikola


With children of Slovene emigrants in Australia who came to the south continent mainly in the 50ies, 60ies and 70ies of the 20th century, we can follow a dynamic sensation of appurtenance, which is not unchangeably liable to certain patterns of the culture but can successfully steer between different aspects of that culture and among cultures themselves. In Australian society, already with the second generation Slovene ethnicity exhibits as flexible, symbolic and voluntary. On the one hand, it is still based on their personal experiences connected with primary families and with the past, and on the other that same generation is experiencing ethnicity on another level, which frequently includes in public image of individuals. Identification with a certain ethnic group became in modern society at least fictive if not realistic a surety of broader understandings and global aspects. The media as well of the majority as the minority - ethnic, frequently influence on such a conviction as they bring it into public sphere. Ethnic media are active upon a much smaller population yet they reinforce ethnic identity in many ethnic groups and build public image of individual cultures. In the past, of ethnic programmes, radio ones were of greater importance. Today it seems their position is taken over by newer media.

One of many ethnic groups that create their own ethnic programme on two radio stations in Melbourne in Australia, the SBS and 3YYY, is the Slovene. The Slovene ethnic radio media serves almost exclusively the Slovene emigrants of the first generation and therefore does not include members of the second and third generations that at least partially identify themselves with this ethnicity. The characteristics of the Slovene programme are linked to physical proximity and to stereotype, traditional forms. As such, the Slovene ethnic radio programme does not influence in a larger proportion on forming or preserving ethnic identity of the second and next generations. The internet could offer a new and somewhat different a dynamics in the Slovene community in Australia, especially with ethnically coloured web sites of Thezaurus that Slovenes in Melbourne create. Web pages create new space for communication, interaction and debate (with discussion forums). Yet it is for people of Slovene descent in Australia almost impossible to predict whether ethnically aware individuals will use the internet as a principal field for reinforcement of their multiple ethnic identities. Such web sites can become an interactive canal for acquiring complex information on Slovene culture, on the basis of which the younger generations form their opinion on it and thus choose and define their own ethnic identity.