Cover image for Australia, the recreational society
Australia, the recreational society
Mosler, David, 1941-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, 2002.
Physical Description:
vi, 193 pages ; 25 cm
Reading Level:
1590 Lexile.
Format :


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DU121 .M67 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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From its very inception Australia has been a derivative society: First as part of the British Empire and then, soon after World War II, what Mosler considers the American Empire and the new end-of-century Americanized global culture. This has meant that Australia has struggled to attain its own identity. Mosler explores that struggle for national independence, a struggle that seems to be doomed to failure.

According to Mosler, the reasons for this failure lie in Australia's propensity to remain a recreational culture; a culture more attuned to pleasure and dependence than regimented hard work and the concomitant collective pattern of national assertiveness. The Australian economy, defense arrangements, culture, and psychology have been dominated by other nations and transnational forces. The prospects for the nation in the future appear to be somewhat grim unless this historical pattern of dependence and lack of respect, indeed almost contempt, for national institutions is reversed. A provocative analysis that will be of interest to scholars, students, researchers, and anyone interested in Australian history and contemporary life and culture.

Author Notes

DAVID MOSLER is Senior Lecturer in American History at the University of Adelaide. His most recent book, co-authored with Bob Catley, was Global America: Imposing Liberalism on a Recalcitrant World (Praeger, 2000).

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Mosler (economics, Univ. of Adelaide), an American who has lived in Australia for 30 years, believes that his adopted country's dedication to pleasure and hedonism has resulted in "a propensity to political and cultural adolescence," to "a kind of anti-nationalism," clearly demonstrated in the defeat of the Republic Referendum in 1999. Aussies are united only by their devotion to leisure time, sports, gambling, "barbies," drinking, and lighthearted socializing. They do not know their history; "to care about it is to be un-Australian." "Australia Day," not even celebrated on the same date throughout the country, provides "just another excuse for having a bit of fun." Anti-intellectualism is pervasive; schools and universities are underfunded and badly administered. Serious study is avoided by endless excursions--"learning experiences"--which are actually programmed student fun activities. The system has made it "impossible to train the next generation of a governing elite." Mosler thinks "a country held together with recreational glue alone just might implode." As a nation, Australia might be "a lemon, a nonstarter." He argues that "without a sense of national purpose its best future option is to become the fifty-first state of America." An interesting, indeed fascinating, well-documented volume. All levels and collections. W. W. Reinhardt Randolph-Macon College

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
1 The Historical Origins of the Recreational Societyp. 1
2 The Birth of a Nationp. 17
3 The Economyp. 33
4 The Statep. 65
5 The Culturep. 87
6 The Education Systemp. 127
7 Conclusion and the Future: Australia-the Fifty-First State of America?p. 153
Epilogue: Australia in 2050p. 163
Glossaryp. 171
Selected Bibliographyp. 175
Indexp. 179
About the Authorp. 195