chapter  1
32 Pages

Becoming ‘illegal’

Compassion, multicultural love and resentment 1
ByMaria Elena Indelicato

Chapter 1 examines the historical events which led international students to be problematised in Australia as ‘grateful’ recipients of aid, ‘consumers’ of educational services and ‘bogus’ migrants respectively. The first and second sections examine the circumstances leading to the creation of the Overseas Student Program in 1951 and the interrelated discursive positioning of South and South-East Asians students as objects of national compassion. The third and fourth sections analyse the transformation of international education into a ‘trade’ in 1985, the first crisis that hit this new industry in 1989 and the concomitant positioning of international students as ‘financial resources’ from whom the nation could benefit. The final section traces the federal response to the Tiananmen Square Uprising in 1989 and the ensuing positioning of overstaying Chinese international students as objects of national resentment. It examines the circulation of the metaphors ‘jump the queue’ and ‘backdoor entry’ as points of affective conversion and demonstrates how, as articulated within these two metaphors, compassion and resentment have worked as technologies of affective truth and differentiation: ‘genuine’ students who should be included versus ‘bogus’ students who should be excluded.