Ethnic community capital : the development of ethnic social infrastructure in Sydney

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. This thesis contains 3rd party copyright material. ----- The focus of this thesis is on social infrastructure, particularly the communal buildings developed by non-English speaking migrants to satisfy their communally perceived needs in Sydney. This social infrastructure is defined as ethnic community capital since the source of development and the major functions were linked to specific ethnic organisations. This development began at the start of colonisation, but gained momentum in the past fifty years when around 410 migrant religious and secular organisations established their own facilities in Sydney. Significant ethnic human and material resources were and are mobilized to establish and maintain places of worship, clubs, educational and aged care facilities that represent a major contribution to social capital in the Australian community. The intention of this thesis is to comprehend and analyse the critical infrastructure developed by ethnic communities, to document its evolution and significance in communal life, and to increase awareness of this aspect of social and urban development. This important development is generally unrecorded and is a relatively unknown aspect of migration. This social phenomenon is not a subject of any major study and even ethnic communal organisations have been subject to little research in Australia and other immigration recipient countries. For this purpose a survey of 390 ethnic organisations in Sydney who managed their own properties was undertaken during 1999-2001. Nearly ninety per cent of contacted organisations responded to the survey. The data they provided indicate among other things that ethnic community capital has created over five thousand jobs and enables an estimated 200,000 people to satisfy their particular religious, leisure, educational and welfare needs at any moment. These buildings are now characteristic nodes of Sydney's ethnically diverse social and physical landscape. They provide important cultural and economic dimensions to Sydney's cosmopolitan character. This thesis tells the important but neglected story of how many migrants gave their time, money and support to establish social infrastructure for their communities. But at the same time, it tells how the function and nature of ethnic community capital has changed over time as migrant communities and the society and city has also changed. The development of economic community capital continues because of incessant migrant settlement. These migrant created communal elements of Sydney's built environment are now important nodes in an emerging transnational, globalised, world. The embedded ethnic community capital that helped to create the foundations of multicultural Australia now impacts beyond ethnic, metropolitan and national boundaries.
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