Suiting the Action to the Word: The Changing Rhetoric of Australian Cultural Policy

Julian Meyrick


This paper discusses the rhetoric of five peak Australian arts and cultural policy documents that have been handed down at a federal level since the establishment of an independent arts agency, the Australia Council, in 1973. It describes the historical and political context in which they first appeared, presenting a table of their significant traits and examples of their verbal styles. It deploys J. L. Austin's concept of 'the performative' to explore the rhetorical register of each document, identifying their locutionary effects and devices in speech. The illocutionary force of the five policies is briefly examined to suggest which performatives are associated with which documents and to draw from this some tentative conclusions. Underpinning the paper is an argument concerning the limits of functional logic for the provision of cultural goods and services in modern democratic states.



rhetoric, the performative, cultural policy, Australian culture, illocutionary force

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Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management; ISSN 1449-1184
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