Inside Australian culture: legacies of enlightenment values
Offord, B, Kerruish, E, Garbutt, R, Pavlovic, K & Wessell, A 2014, Inside Australian culture: legacies of enlightenment values, NY Anthem Press, New York. ISBN: 9781783082315
Given Australia’s status as an (unfinished) colonial project of the British Empire, the basic institutions that were installed in its so-called ‘empty’ landscape derive from a value-laden framework borne out of industrialization, colonialism, the consolidation of the national statist system and democracy – all entities imbued with British Enlightenment principles and thinking. Modernity in Australia has thus been constituted by the importation, assumption and triumph of the Western mind – materially, psychologically, culturally, socio-legally and cartographically. ‘Inside Australian Culture: Legacies of Enlightenment Values’ offers a critical intervention into the continuing effects of colonization in Australia and the structures it brought, which still inform and dominate its public culture. Through a careful analysis of three disparate but significant moments in Australian history, the authors investigate the way the British Enlightenment continues to dominate contemporary Australian thinking and values. Employing the lens of Indian cultural theorist Ashis Nandy, the authors argue for an Australian public culture that is profoundly conscious of its assumptions, history and limitations.