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Australian public policyProgressive ideas in the neo-liberal ascendency$
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Chris Miller and Lionel Orchard

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781447312673

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447312673.001.0001

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Neoliberalism, the culture wars and public policy

Neoliberalism, the culture wars and public policy

(p.27) Two Neoliberalism, the culture wars and public policy
Australian public policy

Mark Davis

Policy Press

Culture has often been thought secondary to debates over public policy. Yet many high-profile policy debates now, over such things as gay marriage, global warming, Aboriginal rights, and asylum-seekers, are transmuted through the lens of the culture wars, configured primarily as ‘left-versus-right’ issues rather than being understood primarily in policy terms. Even traditionally ‘serious’ policy areas such as employment rights, health, education, national security, and foreign policy are increasingly understood in normative and polarised cultural terms as a battle between outmoded leftist ‘elite’ cultures and a righteous yet ‘silenced’ majority. This chapter seeks to investigate the ‘cultural turn’ in public policy debate. It argues that culture has emerged as a factor in public policy debate as part of a wider-spread neoliberal project to ‘change the culture’, in particular cultures associated with post-war consensus politics and its policy-making norms.

Keywords:   neoliberalism, culture wars, public policy

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