"We are an open and tolerant society that promotes the celebration of diversity..." - A quantitative study of social capital in Australia

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: This thesis explores the effect of the Australian government passing the legislative and administrative act, The New Agenda for Multicultural Australia, on the social capital in Australia. The Agenda was passed in 1999, and aimed at creating a more trustful and inclusive society among one of the most diverse population in the world. By using educational, informative and labour market strategies the Australian government sought to create a more cohesive society and increase the degree of social capital within the society. The long historical tradition of multiculturalism through acculturation of Indigenous Australians and assimilation policies are emphasized by several researchers to be a major disadvantage in building a more cohesive society. Previous researchers also claim that multiculturalism itself can erode and break up the feelings of trust and solidarity within a society. This thesis uses notions of the concept of social capital, developed by Robert Putnam and James Coleman and provides through statistical methods evidence that question theories regarding the negative influences of multiculturalism on social capital. The conclusion drawn from this thesis is that governments can through legislative and administrative procedures affect social capital within a multicultural society.

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