This issue of Arena Journal emerges from a day-long symposium held at the University of Melbourne in 2013 marking fifty years of publications by the Arena group. The event was composed of diverse presentations, some from among the original editors of the first series of Arena, some by contributors to that first series and others by editors and contributors from more recent times. The day was marked by an unusual vitality as well as recognition of a unique contribution made by the publications, not only to Australian political and cultural history but also to the development of a theory of social transformation not found in publications elsewhere. There was a strong sense that something of this contribution needed to be reflected upon in a further publication looking back on those past fifty years.
Four articles by Paul James (one with Freya Carkeek), from the eighties and early nineties: ‘Australia in the Corporate Image: A New Nationalism’, ‘The Nation and its Post-Modern Critics’, ‘ Theory Without Practice: The Work of Anthony Giddens’, and ‘ This Abstract Body’