The Kerrigan Family from The Castle.

The Kerrigan family from The Castle. Photo: Supplied

We all have a little bogan in us sometimes.

Or perhaps, in the case of the Shane Warnes of the world, a lot of the time.

In 30 years, the distinctly Australian term has evolved from derogatory to culturally embraced - to the point where many of us proudly and jokingly acknowledge that we have some ‘‘bogan’’ tendencies.

Rebel Wilson in the series Bogan Pride.

Rebel Wilson in the TV series Bogan Pride. Photo: Supplied

The rapid evolution and meaning of the word is the focal point of Griffith University student Roz Rowen’s  PhD in linguistics.

‘‘We change and adapt its use to our surroundings, some people say it as a way of saying, ‘I’m proud of where I came from’,’’ Ms Rowen said.

‘‘People are passionate about saying bogan is a derogatory term but we use it in a jocular way.

Five-piece Perth band Karnivool thankful for the 'bogan award' - Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal album with Asymmetry - at the ARIAS.

Five-piece Perth band Karnivool thankful for the 'bogan award' - Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal album with Asymmetry - at the ARIAs. Photo: Edwina Pickles

‘‘People will say, ‘you’re looking a bit bogan’ but not in a derogatory way.

‘‘It’s got a different meaning, every interaction is different.’’

‘‘It seems to have this love-hate relationship.’’

Eric Bana’s Poida with guest Bruce Ruxton on his show "The Eric Bana Show Live" in 1997.

Eric Bana’s Poida with guest Bruce Ruxton on his show "The Eric Bana Show Live" in 1997. Photo: Supplied

The 23-year-old has been researching the cultural relevance of the word for the past two years.

She said while it originated as a derogatory term for the flannelette shirt wearing, mullet-sporting, lower socio-economic types in the 1980s, it had quickly evolved into a term we fondly embrace.

Ms Rowen said historically, the first use of the word dates back to the late 1800s, when renowned poet AB ‘‘Banjo’’ Patterson used it to describe a narrow flowing stream.

PhD Student Roz Rowen.

PhD Student Roz Rowen.

By the 1980s it took on a whole new meaning, however, and it wasn’t a flattering one.

‘‘Most people can trace back its first use to the early 80s, when it was used to label so-called ‘westies’,’’ Ms Rowen said.

‘‘I think it shares a similar cultural description to your ‘chavs’’ in the UK and your ‘rednecks’ in the US in that it is specifically targeting a cultural group with underlying cultural values and it’s derogatory in that way.

<em>Illustration: Cathy Wilcox.</em>

Illustration: Cathy Wilcox.

‘‘But its a bit broader than that now. I think people tend to forget language is a bit dynamic.’’

Ms Rowen said the evolution of the embracing of the term could be traced to the time popular culture started celebrating the concept of boganism.

Think the loveable bogans in The Castle, Kath ‘n Kim and characters such as Col’n Carpenter in The Comedy Company and Eric Bana’s Poida, in the 1990s skit show Full Frontal.

Gina Riley (Kim Craig) and Jane Turner (Kath Day-Knight).

Gina Riley (Kim Craig) and Jane Turner (Kath Day-Knight): The ultimate bogans. Photo: Marco Del Grande

‘‘It’s a word we use all the time and no-one has really looked at why and how we use it,’’ Ms Rowen said.

‘‘It’s a cultural word. We don’t just say bogan and it has no meaning.

‘‘We are talking about certain people’s behaviour in a derogatory or jocular way, it has these underlying cultural values, specific behaviours, certain looks.

‘‘It’s not a term that can be interchanged with another term.’’

While still widely used in the derogatory way, Ms Rowen said it’s also a word that has grown significantly to encompass a broad range of people and behaviours.

The relatively recent, ‘cashed-up bogan’, for example.

Which can just go to show one thing.

‘‘It’s hard to restrict it. Now everyone has a bit of bogan in them,’’ she said.