Publication Details

Gibson, C. (2013). Welcome to Bogan-ville: reframing class and place through humour. Journal of Australian Studies, 37 (1), 62-75.


On August 4, 2009, Australian online news commentary website the Punch announced that Albion Park, in the Australian industrial city of Wollongong, was one of the nation's top ten “most bogan” places. This paper explores what it means to be bogan in Australia, tracing historical antecedents, local debate at the time of this media event, and the manner in which the politics of class and place identity are negotiated through humour. Some local residents railed against associations with “lower-class” culture or feared damaged reputations for their neighbourhoods; others responded in sometimes unexpected and creative ways—through humour, and by claiming bogan as an alternative source of legitimacy for working-class identity. I reflect on this case for how humour operates ambiguously in an age of email, blogs, and social media technologies—building on previous norms of media dialogue and on established understandings of class polarisation in Australian cities.



Link to publisher version (DOI)