Rural Australia: an introduction

Bourke, Lisa, and Lockie, Stewart (2001) Rural Australia: an introduction. In: Lockie, Stewart, and Bourke, Lisa, (eds.) Rurality Bites: the social and environmental transformation of rural Australia. Pluto Press, Annandale, NSW, Australia, pp. 1-13.

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Introducing books and media reports with the statement that rural Australia is in 'crisis' has become so commonplace as to seem cliched. For a decade or more our newspapers and tele¬visions have been regularly littered with images of drought¬stricken, salt-infected and barren landscapes; worthless livestock being shot and buried; bank foreclosures; the grieving relatives and friends of suicide and accident victims; boarded up and derelict buildings; and angry political meet¬ings. As emotive and at times cliched such images are, they do speak to what are substantial and serious issues. In too many ways rural Australia is in crisis. But the rapid and profound change which rural Australia is undergoing is at times as exciting as it is worrying. At the same time that many rural communities face considerable problems, they remain a potent source of national identity and a focal point for the development of more ecologically sustainable production processes and for processes of reconciliation between Indige¬nous and non-Indigenous peoples. Rural Australians are not merely the passive victims of change. While rural activism has become visible to urban Australians through the rise of Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party - a populist right wing political group offering to secure markets, property and jobs by restricting imports, Indigenous land rights and migration - a multitude of quieter revolutions have been underway through, for example, the rural women's and landcare move¬ments. Indeed, the prominence given to One Nation in both politics and media tells us a great deal more about those partic¬ular spheres than it does about rural Australia more generally. For while the focus on One Nation reinforces stereotypes of rural Australians as conservative, traditional, patriarchal and intolerant of difference, it ignores the many challenges to these stereotypes. This book attempts to provide a succinct and coherent discussion of rural Australia in a time of change, disenfranchisement and misrepresentation. Such a time raises questions about rural policies, politics and the place of rural Australians in the general population. The following chapters attest to the diversity of rural Australia, the many issues confronted by its residents, and the myths and everyday assumptions associated with rurality.

Item ID: 31260
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-86403-169-0
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2017 02:08
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160804 Rural Sociology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960705 Rural Land Policy @ 80%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960601 Economic Incentives for Environmental Protection @ 20%
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