22 / 2005
Maša Mikola


Multicultural communication between heterogeneous ethnic groups functions in a culturally variegated environment and is based on simplified ethnic symbols. Ethnic symbols are generally being built through mass media in the conscience of members of ethnic groups as well as in the majority, mainstream society. The Australian multiethnic space with its multiculturalism policy and with the opening of the space to public representation of ethnic groups, is building a fragmented ethnic environment. In it, we can follow on the one side progressive and increasing integration of some initial immigrant groups (and of their descendants) into Australian environment, and on the other, a growing marginalisation of some other, recently immigrated ethnic groups (and of their descendants). Ethnic environment with its symbolic representation of individual ethnicities is still functioning similarly as it did in the past, that is based on assimilatory logics, which distinguishes between “us”, and those that are “foreign and different”.

In the Australian multicultural space, communication between ethnic groups and the mainstream is frequently a one-way process; the media as well often aim their look only from the minority towards the majority and thus do not succeed in reaching the entire multicultural spectrum. Evident is the duality of media representations, which provoke stereotype ethnic images on two levels: one is good, the other bad, one more positive, the other more negative. Duality in media mediation of ethnic representations can be perceived even with representations of a single ethnicity. We are witnessing this phenomenon in modern Australian society especially with some ethnic groups from Asian ethnic space.
Slovenian culture has in the Australian environment always been (at least to a large extent) in the positive value scope of European immigration although individuals were able due to their relative “invisibility” and numerical smallness, to move, willingly or not, between individual ethnic groups as well as between ethnic groups and the mainstream society. Despite the fact that we can on the one hand speak of heterogeneity of ethnic representations in multicultural space, we can on the other hand follow gradual homogenisation of some ethnic groups. Thus, despite ethnic diversification in an ethnically mixed and global space, ethnic representations are being created, which are multicultural and are because of their multiculturalism and multi-significance becoming more and more connected and homogeneous.