Reconfiguring rural resource governance: the legacy of neo-liberalism in Australia

Lockie, Stewart, Lawrence, Geoffrey, and Cheshire, Lynda (2006) Reconfiguring rural resource governance: the legacy of neo-liberalism in Australia. In: Cloke, Paul, Marsden, Terry, and Mooney, Patrick, (eds.) Handbook of Rural Studies. Sage Publications Inc, London, pp. 29-44.

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[Extract] Natural resources have historically been seen in capitalist societies as the key asset of rural spaces, with their utilization being one of the primary roles of rural people (Lockie et al., 2003). In the colonies of the so-called New World, spaces beyond the bounds of settlement were attributed little intrinsic value prior to being ‘opened up’, ‘civilized’, and rendered ‘productive’ in the service of nation and empire building. The contributions that rural people subsequently made to national identities, gross domestic product and export earnings gave them what many believe to be disproportionate levels of political influence (Green, 2001). With the rural conceived — in the Antipodes — as little more than a quarry and a farm, that influence was limited in both magnitude and scope. The economic interests of farmers, foresters and miners have been seen as the interests of all rural people, while groups such as women and Indigenous peoples — together with issues such as rural inequality, economic diversification and environmental decline —have largely been ignored (Lawrence, 1987). Rural resource management in Australia has focused primarily on fostering conditions for the ‘development’ of natural resources and, to the extent that it has addressed social and environmental issues, managing negative externalities in order to maintain production (Lockie, 1994, 2000). While the state has been, and remains, a key facilitator of this process, changes in the mode of governing in Australia -as elsewhere — have meant that the state is no longer the sole arbiter of legitimate action. Instead, we adopt the concept of rural resource governance to refer to the range of institutions and actors that exist, and have quite profound influence over the way Australia's natural resources are managed. In exploring rural resource governance, particular attention is paid to the exercise of political power that occurs ‘beyond the state’ (Rose and Miller, 1992), and the way in which that power works to contour what is expected (and is possible) of social actors — in this case, farmers, graziers, foresters and miners. Contemporary governance is about extra state authority as the means of legitimizing action, and of achieving local ‘ownership’ of natural resource management. This chapter, then, is about the ways in which natural resource governance has been fashioned, within Australia, under neo-liberalism — a policy regime that has had prominence over the past 20 years.

Item ID: 30863
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-7619-7332-4
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2017 02:46
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160801 Applied Sociology, Program Evaluation and Social Impact Assessment @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160804 Rural Sociology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960601 Economic Incentives for Environmental Protection @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960704 Land Stewardship @ 30%
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