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American Outlaws in Australia

Author

Listed:
  • Bruce Tranter
  • Jed Donoghue

Abstract

An aspect of the diffusion of American popular culture is examined in this research drawing upon national survey data. Measuring Australians¡¯ knowledge of American and Australian outlaws, we found that Jesse James and Billy the Kid are better known in Australia than any of the local outlaws, or bushrangers, with the exception of Ned Kelly. While a relatively large proportion of Australians identified Ned Kelly, Ben Hall, Jesse James and Billy the Kid as outlaws, few identified other Australian ¡®outlaws¡¯. Social background and political ideology is associated with greater knowledge of outlaws. Men, baby boomers and their predecessors, those born in Australia or the UK, those with a basic secondary level education and those identifying as left on the political spectrum are the most knowledgeable. This Australian study suggests that outlaws such as Jesse James and Billy the Kid are not just national folk heroes, but recognised globally. Promoted by visual and print media they have transcended their outlaw heritage to represent romanticised notions of freedom, loyalty and the ¡®underdog¡¯, regardless of the historical facts surrounding their lives and deaths.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce Tranter & Jed Donoghue, 2013. "American Outlaws in Australia," International Journal of Social Science Studies, Redfame publishing, vol. 1(2), pages 124-132, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:rfa:journl:v:1:y:2013:i:2:p:124-132
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    File URL: http://redfame.com/journal/index.php/ijsss/article/view/158/157
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    File URL: http://redfame.com/journal/index.php/ijsss/article/view/158
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    outlaws; bushrangers; social bandits; Jesse James; Ned Kelly; Australia;

    JEL classification:

    • R00 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General - - - General
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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