The Slap's Resonances: Multiculturalism and Adolescence in Tsiolkas' Australia

Glyn Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This article discusses Australian author Christos Tsiolkas’ novel ‘The Slap’ (2008) and its television adaptation (2011). The latter is situated in relation to Television Studies debates relating to ‘quality’, with elements of the adaptation that enable its categorisation as ‘quality TV’ highlighted. Tsiolkas, whose novels all prominently feature Greek-Australian characters, has described ‘The Slap’ as a response to John Howard’s period as Prime Minister. The article thus examines in detail particular policies produced in Australia during those years, and the competing discourses relating to ‘multiculturalism’ which were in circulation. Drawing on the writings of Ien Ang and John Stratton, as well as David L. Eng, it is argued that both versions of ‘The Slap’ expose faultlines in Australian society relating to race and ethnicity which multiculturalism policies may attempt to paper over and bury. The article also compares and contrasts the two versions of ‘The Slap’, situates the novel in relation to Tsiolkas’ other writings, and positions the adaptation within the landscape of Australian film and television. The essay concludes with a consideration of the significance of music in Tsiolkas’ novels, and how, in particular, this shapes his representations of younger characters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-186
Number of pages14
JournalInteractions: Studies in Communication and Culture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Christos Tsiolkas, The Slap, adaptation, multiculturalism, queer theory, Australia, 'quality TV'


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