The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.
Ommundsen examines some of the many uses (and abuses) of the term multiculturalism. She defines several models relating to the way this term operates in popular public discourse. The models, which are sometimes overlapping and sometimes in opposition, include: sentimental multiculturalism, folkloric or touristic multiculturalism, sophisticated cosmopolitanism, cultural preservation and 'ethnic ghettoes', cultural assimilation, reverse racism, politically or economically expedient multiculturalism, and 'the empty signifier,' where multiculturalism becomes 'nothing but a rhetorical gesture...a void, a silence'.