The Intersection of Nationalism, Transnationalism and Capitalism – “I Still Call Australia Home”

QANTAS, Australia’s main airline company, began using Peter Allen’s poem “I Still Call Australia Home” in the 90s to capitalize on the spirit of wanderlust and restlessness that a lot of Aussies have, while still reminding them to ultimately come home (strategically encouraging people to take their flights elsewhere, but making sure that it’s a return flight).

Prepare for some cheesiness…

Peter Allen – “I Still Call Australia Home”

I’ve been to cities that never close down
From New York to Rio and old London town
But no matter how far or how wide I roam
I still call Australia home

I’m always traveling, I love being free
And so I keep leaving the sun and the sea
But my heart lies waiting over the foam
I still call Australia home

All the sons and daughters spinning ’round the world
Away from their family and friends
But as the world gets older and colder
It’s good to know where your journey ends

And someday we’ll all be together once more
When all of the ships come back to the shore
I’ll realize something I’ve always known
I still call Australia home

But no matter how far or wide I roam
I still call Australia, I still call Australia, I still call Australia home
But no matter how far or wide I roam
I still call Australia, I still call Australia, I still call Australia home

The nationalist tones in this poem can be felt in the refrain, “I still call Australia home,” but what sticks out about this line is the usage of the word “still.” In the so-called global era, nations (and apparently their biggest airline companies) have a more tenuous hold on their citizens than ever. Australia has a particularly large population of expats who decide to explore other parts of the world and never fully move back. Allen’s poem, “I Still Call Australia Home” attempts to instill national pride in a population that’s prone to wandering off elsewhere- making it ideal for a transnational corporation like QANTAS to capitalize on.

This poem is a particularly cosmopolitan and privileged example of countries (and companies) needing to put more effort into maintaining ties with their descendants (and customers) who live across the world. Read more in Georges’ article on Transnationalism, “Georges Woke Up Laughing – Transnationalism and the Search for Home.” Also, if anyone’s interested, here is Allen’s poem sung by the Australian QANTAS choir. The first verse is in an Aboriginal language:

2 thoughts on “The Intersection of Nationalism, Transnationalism and Capitalism – “I Still Call Australia Home””

  1. This is a really interesting example of how globalization and immigration are being capitalized on. This can also be seen when products from the home country of immigrants are sold in the country they immigrate to. For example, in Ireland there are many Polish shops that sell Polish food and other goods, and are largely targeted at the Polish diaspora community. Appardurai references this idea in his essay; he talks about how deterritorialized individuals want to experience elements of their home country, so there is a market for media and goods from their home country in the country that they move to. This trend can also be seen as an example of the interaction between the financescape and the ethnoscape; the fact that people are moving and traveling more frequently, and the fact that this movement is being capitalized on, alters the flow of global capital. – Tanya

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