A spectre is haunting Australia - the spectre of the suburbs. The home of most Australians, the heartland of Australian experience, the suburbs are often spoken of disdainfully or ignored outright. This book argues against both prejudices; it pays close attention to the suburbs and takes them seriously. Suburbia is shown to be the site of a rich and diverse range of histories and cultures. The authors use methods derived from history, feminism, sociology, philosophy, and anthropology to examine the full spectrum of suburban life. The essays explore the multiple ways in which the idea of the suburbs and the actualities of suburban experience have circulated in Australia. The dream of an ideal life is conjured up in the garden suburbs of the early 20th century and in the project homes of recent years. Bitter and abivalent responses to the suburbs are recorded in the visual arts and cinema. The dramatic variety of suburban lifestyles are traded in studies of Aboriginal suburbs in Alice Springs and the gentrified inner-city suburbs of Melbourne. The complex ideological position of the suburb is examined when the outer regions of Sydney overtake a previously isolated nuclear reactor. Far from being banal, suburbia exposes the full complexity of Australian society. "The Beasts of Suburbia" is an innovative collection of work on culture and suburbia; the product of a broadly defined sense of cultural studies in Australia. Contributors to the collection deal with a range of suburban sites from Melbourne to Alice Springs, and come from backgrounds in urban studies, history, fine arts, town planning, film studies and cultural studies.
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Sarah Ferber is a writer and researcher. Chris Healy teaches Cultural Studies and the University of Melbourne, where Chris McAuliffe teaches Fine Arts.Review:
'a diverse, provocative and often stimulating array of thoughts on a subject that is relevant to many of us' -- Elizabeth Kumm, New Librarian
It'll take a specialized audience with an interest in overseas suburban cultural patterns to appreciate this in-depth analysis of the suburban specter in Australia. Rich stories about suburban values and discrimination are revealed in an in-depth analysis of the Australian suburban phenomenon. -- Midwest Book Review
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