Review- The Bogan Delusion

A couple of years ago, David Nichols and his wife, artist Mia Schoen, bought a house in Jacana, in Broadmeadows and moved out of the inner city. The Bogan Delusion was written during David’s commute from his new home to the University of Melbourne, where he lectures in urban planning- a good use of his time!

In the book, David deconstructs the myth of the bogan and the bogan’s  place in suburbia. He posits the existence of the anti-bogan, an inner-city elite who are scornful of the bogan’s tastes and lifestyle, without ever having actually ventured beyond the pale of the inner city to experience suburban life. The derision  of the anti-bogan’s towards its counterpart is simply another iteration of class snobbery (yes, Virginia, there are social classes in Australia, we just don’t like to talk about it). In many ways it’s another way of labelling undesirables as the ‘other’, a mantle which has been worn by women, and people of various religions and cultures over the centuries.

The book is also an expose of suburbia, and regions in Victoria and New South Wales which are typically associated with bogans, are discussed from a planning and sociological stance.

The book draws from David’s experiences and background as a lecturer in planning at the University of Melbourne, sociological stories and historical analysis. It is also illustrated by his wife Mia, who has focused on depicting suburbia in her art and also played in a band called New Estate. It’s a book which is readable and ultimately thought-provoking.

I’ll be honest with you- I like to wear black, drink coffee gin and red wine (I hope my dentist isn’t reading this). I go to farmer’s markets, prefer vintage over brand-new and am an avid watcher and listener of the ABC. On the basis of this I am an anti-bogan. However, I have never lived in inner city Melbourne, lived and worked in the suburbs (Mr BG worked in Narre Warren, which is Kath and Kim country) and since moving to regional Victoria, have just become the proud owners of a lawnmower.

I also used to read the What Bogans Like blog which David mentions, and which quickly became an excuse for a bunch of inner-city snobs to pour scorn on everything and everyone they didn’t like. The viciousness quickly turned me off their blog

, I would think twice about casually labelling someone with that epithet now.

Caveat: I know David and Mia personally and they are both very nice (and talented people).

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