Report launch: Racial and cultural exclusivism in Melbourne neighbourhoods

Increases in immigration to Australia has changed the urban landscape. But do these changes influence the inter-personal relationships and networks in these areas, and if so, does this help or harm these communities?

Led by MMIC Director, Associate Professor Rebecca Wickes, with colleagues from Deakin, Australian Catholic University and the Australian Multicultural Foundation, we are proud to launch the ‘Understanding the context of racial and cultural exclusivism: A study of Melbourne neighbourhoods’ report, funded by the Victorian Government Research Institute on Social Cohesion. The report is from a large scale study that examined the neighbourhood and individual drivers of harmful sentiments, attitudes and actions towards minorities across 140 neighbourhoods in Greater Melbourne.

The results of the study are striking. The research team found that nearly a quarter of the respondents reported low warmth and 1 in 6 people reported anger towards Muslim, African and Middle Eastern people. However, an individual’s own sense of community belonging was a strong protective factor against holding socially exclusive sentiments and attitudes. Findings also reveal that increasing diversity in some areas can reduce harmful attitudes and actions, whereas economic disadvantage increases their development. All of this strongly points to the significance of place based solutions to promote social cohesion in Australia and the need for careful urban planning to develop and maintain a welcoming social and physical infrastructure.

MMIC will host a virtual launch of the report on in the coming weeks hosted by Professor Alex Piquero, Ashbel Smith Professor of Criminology at The University of Texas at Dallas and a Professor in Criminology at Monash University, and internationally leading scholar in immigration, crime and criminality. Professor Piquero will be joined by panelists, Associate Professor Rebecca Wickes, lead author of the report, Professor Karen Farquharson, sociologist and Head of the School of Social and Political Sciences at The University of Melbourne, along with Aleem Ali, CEO of Welcoming Australia. Details to follow via our Twitter feed @MigrationMonash including registration and event information.

The full report is available here. The Executive Summary is available here.