What is distinctively Australian about our culture is under assault from homogenised international mass culture.

(Commonwealth of Australia 1994: 1)

In the previous chapter, we talked about the importance of the context of policy, at the same time recognising the point that contexts are also policy constructs which need to be treated with some caution. Policy rationales often argue the imperative for a particular position because of pressing concerns or problems within 'the context'. So to the subject matter of this chapter. Much is written these days about the global context, and the rhetoric of 'global imperatives' now underpins a host of policy prescriptions, from the study of Asian languages and cultures in Australia, to computers in schools, administrative reform or increased participation in higher education. As Waters has pointed out, globalisation appears to have become a key idea with which many social theorists are now attempting to 'understand the transition of human society into the third millennium' (1995: 1). Yet, as a conception upon which so much explanatory weight has been placed, it remains poorly understood and inadequately utilised in policy research generally.