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Interaction between humanitarian social movements and the state in Australia on selected Third World Issues, 1945-1985

Watson, Norma (1991) Interaction between humanitarian social movements and the state in Australia on selected Third World Issues, 1945-1985. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis examines the interaction between Australian social movements with a humanitarian focus and sections of the Australian state concerned with foreign policy making in the period between 1945 and 1985, regarding four issues: Official Development Assistance; the Vietnam War and conscription; racialism and colonialism in Southern Africa; and Indonesia's invasion and annexation of East Timor. The focus is domestic even though the interaction centres on foreign policy matters.

The purpose is to understand the nature of this interaction, utilising two major and contending post-war perspectives on collective action and the state in social science; pluralism and Marxism. Studies concerning collective action and the state on Third World issues are few, and, to the author's knowledge, no major comparative study of the four topics has previously been undertaken. Nor have pluralists and Marxists done much theorising about collective action in the foreign policy realm.

This thesis argues that contemporary pluralist and Marxist theories have converged in many areas. The points of convergence concern state bias, manipulation of public opinion, the possibility of open-ended outcomes, the complexity of the state in its international setting, the conjunction of economic and political factors .in this context, the importance of issues and forces other than class ones, inequality amongst pressure groups and attitudes towards the social order. The points on which pluralists and Marxists agree help to illuminate the case studies, and the evidence supports the points on which they have converged. The Marxist perspective appears to be the stronger in that, where convergence exists, it has come about more by pluralists moving towards Marxists than vice versa, and in that Marxists have more to say on most aspects of the state and collective behaviour, their points are substantiated by the evidence, and their observations are often more subtle. The thesis draws a number of specific conclusions about the interaction between social movements with a humanitarian focus and the Australian state.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Baldock, Cora, Harris, Patricia, Warren, Carol, Collins, Hugh, Davis, Bruce, Higgott, Richard and Robinon, Richard
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