Regimes of truth
: a critical theory analysis of Australian aid to Southeast Asia, a thesis in political philosophy

  • Wilfred Brett Aldam

    Student thesis: Masters by Research - CDU


    The following paper attempts to analyse Australian aid using the Critical Theory of Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno. Accordingly , reason, or the development of thought and cognition, is examined with in a nature dominating discourse. As for Horkheimer and Adorno, knowledge has been shaped by the need to comprehend and control nature. Unlike traditional theories of modernity and enlightenment, the history of humanity is not an inexorable movement towards the ultimate rational state. Instead, reason is located in history. It is an organic entity that changes pari passu with the society in which it is located. The history of humanity has thus been characterized by the ongoing reinterpretation of belief systems that afford humanity the opportunity to comprehend and control our surrounds. State-capitalism is the latest stage in this process. Given increased monopolisation and subsequent stagnation within Western economies, the state has had to intervene. Through expanding control it has provided the impetus for continued growth. As a result, nature-domination has translated into bureaucratic control for system preservation. To maintain our material standing over nature, prosperity must be safeguarded. As without it, our technological and scientific dominance, (or our ability to comprehend and control our surrounds) , may be lost. Hence, aid policy and practice is formulated according to state capitalist reason. It is governed by the need for the state to act as a bulwark. That is, for the state to implement policies that will preserve and enhance our advanced material status.
    Date of Award1993
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDennis Shoesmith (Supervisor)

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