Laceweb - Mental Health and
Social Change


Posted Oct 2000. Last Update April 2014.

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Monograph by Dr Neville Yeomans, July 1971

(Yeomans, N. T., 1971.Collected Papers. Mitchell Library NSW, Vol. 1, p.295.).


Background to the paper

Neville began pioneering social change in Fraser House in 1959. From the outset Neville was exploring Global Reform and social processes for easing the transition towards a more humane world.

Fraser House was a micro-model of a dysfunctional culture - a community filled with the mad and the bad. It was a self help community with residents evolving wellbeing together.

In 1962 Neville took time away from being Head of Fraser House to search the world for the best place to evolve an Intercultural Normative Model Area (INMA) where ways of humane living together could be explored. He went to the most oppressed people - the Indigenes and the disadvantaged/oppressed micro-minorities and asked them, where in the world would it be best to commence global humane change. Consistently the answer was given - 'The best place is in the remote regions of Far North Australia.

Neville wrote the poems, 'INMA' and 'On Where' to encapsulate his healing aspirations and the place identified by the oppressed people he had spoken to.

Neville extended the ideas in the following monograph in his paper entitled, Global Reform - International Normative Model Areas written in 1974. Another link to that paper is at the conclusion of the monograph.



Dr Neville Yeomans


In a social system the growth phase creates new norms and values. These are codified, formalised and elaborated in the mature, stable phase. They are then meaningful rituals and ceremonies which provide a stable background to human interaction and organisation.

In the phase of decline, norms and values lose their relationship to the reality of the system's behaviours. They become meaningful rules which people do not follow.

The decline phase may be absolute or unirrelative to the general movement of other cultures. The so called Decline of the West is purely relative in the technological sense. In the cultural sense its decadence may be actual.



The take off point for the next cultural synthesis, (point D) typically occurs in a marginal culture. Such a culture suffers dedifferentiation of its loyalty and value system to the previous civilization. It develops a relatively anarchical value orientation system. Its social institutions dedifferentiate and power slips away from them. This power moves into lower level, newer, smaller and more radical systems within the society. Uncertainty increases and with it rumour. Also an epidemic of experimental organisations develop. Many die away but those most functionally attuned to future trends survive and grow.

Australia exemplifies many of these widespread change phenomena. It is in a geographically and historically unique marginal position. Geographically Asian, it is historically Western. Its history is also of a peripheral lesser status. Initially a convict settlement, it still remains at a great distance from the core of Western Civilization. Culturally it is often considered equivalent to being the peasants of the West. It is considered to have no real culture, a marked inferiority complex, and little clear identity. It can thus be considered equally unimportant to both East and West and having little to contribute.

BUT - it is also the only continent not at war with itself. It is one of the most affluent nations on earth. Situated at the junction of the great civilisations of East and West it can borrow the best of both. Of all nations it has the least to lose and most to gain by creating a new synthesis.

Much has been written of the Post-Industrial or Human era. The world is at the threshold of this. There is now the capacity to produce more food, more electrical and other energy, more transportation facilities, more knowledge and more communication than present institutions and bureaucracies can effectively distribute. Creative consumption is prevented by maladministration, whether this be of knowledge, food, travel or any of the facilities now technically available.


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Global Reform - International Normative Model Areas


Whither Goeth the Law - Humanity or Barbarity

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