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Battling with words: a study of language, diversity and social inclusion in the Australian Department of Defence

15 Feb 2014

Background: This report, Battling with Words, takes a distinctive sociolinguistic approach to current efforts by Defence leadership to bring about cultural change in the Department of Defence and establish a more heterogeneous workforce. The report describes the role language plays in maintaining and perpetuating cultural norms, and provides linguistic evidence for the current, homogeneous demographic of Defence. It offers recommendations for language change in support of the other social inclusion policy interventions now being rolled out across the organisation. It is the first study of language use in Defence using social and linguistic theoretical frameworks to understand culture and cultural change, and provides a strategy for the use of inclusive language that promotes and supports heterogeneity. The report arises out of the 2013 Secretary of Defence Fellowship, titled Representing the Community We Serve - Diversity in the Defence Workforce: How do we make an impact now?

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