Pursuing the radical objective : discourse, ideology and the text : a study of the archive of the Australian Waterside Workers' Federation

Walker, Andrew Gordon (2002) Pursuing the radical objective : discourse, ideology and the text : a study of the archive of the Australian Waterside Workers' Federation. Coursework Master thesis, Victoria University of Technology.


The texts of the Waterside Workers' Federation offer a valuable insight into the beliefs and activities of one of Australia's more powerful and militant unions. This investigation focuses on the period following the end of the 1930s and the years of World War 2 when the WWF was going through a rebuilding phase under a strong Communist leadership. Seen as an essential tool for the organizational rebuilding of a battered and fragmented Federation, the leaders of the union saw the establishment of a journal as a priority. The product of this vision was the widely distributed, monthly Maritime Worker. This newspaper became the masthead of a politically re-awakening union and through it historians have been able to access the ideological directions the WWF took to achieve its industrial and political objectives. This investigation places the texts of the Waterside Workers' Federation under the scrutiny of a post-structuralist analysis that has the work of Michel Foucault as one of its principal features. The object of this project is to develop a critique of the organising processes that inform historical knowledge. These processes are recognised as the constraints that discourse functions place on all meaning and understanding. By focussing on the texts of the Waterside Workers' Federation and interrogating the interpretative features that support the notions of text, ideology and discourse, this investigation introduces the need for a re-examination of the constitutive and organisational features that have constrained and limited historical knowledge in the modem period.

Additional Information

Master of Arts

Item type Thesis (Coursework Master thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/33021
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Communication and the Arts
Historical > FOR Classification > 2005 Literary Studies
Historical > FOR Classification > 2102 Curatorial and Related Studies
Historical > FOR Classification > 2202 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields
Keywords language, identity, archives, Waterside Workers' Federation of Australia, maritime workers, Maritime Worker, newspapers, communism, politics, ideology, stevedores, labour unions, Australia, critical discourse analysis, history, 20th century, historical research
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