The Death of Mr Practical: The Practical man and Globalisation

This is a polemical article I wrote in 1995 and published on my blog in 2003. In reflection there is perhaps no such thing as ‘practicality’ (well there is; but it is also not value neutral).  Practicality can be a form of ‘non-thinking’; it is a thing that we do without understanding the context that we do it in.  It is the scholarly journey that is important, not just the practical outcomes.  It is more ‘useful’ to describe and discuss the skills of finding things out; not just the ‘results’.  More on this later…


There is a prevailing historical connection between Australia’s colonial experience and our dominant intellectual tradition. Throughout the nation’s short history of settlement, most of our leading intellectuals and rulers have displayed a certain ‘practicality’ that is an Australian adaptation of a British creation. This practicality disguises its hegemony through the doctrines of ‘commonsense’ and ‘factual truth’. Practical thinking has its roots in a form of Utilitarianism that is perpetuated by and primarily beneficial to a powerful Anglo elite (link)



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