Understanding nonsense : breathing life into shibboleths and killing critical thought in higher education

Graham, Philip W. (1999) Understanding nonsense : breathing life into shibboleths and killing critical thought in higher education. In ASFLA '99. Proceedings of the Conference, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld.


In this paper, I focus on the growing "nonsense industry" which is most apparent in the writing typical of business, government departments, and the financial press. This writing, like technical writing, is characterised by heavy reliance on grammatical metaphor. It endows shibboleths - for instance, "globalisation"; "efficiencies"; "competition"; "modernisation"; "consumer sentiment"; "reform"; and so on - with anthropomorphic qualities. These anthropomorphic artefacts of technocratised language are then presented as having immutable powers over people. Thus they become banal public excuses for negligent practices in both business and government.

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ID Code: 43774
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Higher Education (130103)
Divisions: Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 1999 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 02 Aug 2011 23:12
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2011 12:15

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