Terms of engagement: consensus or control in remote Australian resource management?

Measham, Thomas G., Richards, Carol, Robinson, Cathy J., Larson, Silva, and Brake, Lynn (2013) Terms of engagement: consensus or control in remote Australian resource management? In: Aslin, Heather J., and Lockie, Stewart, (eds.) Engaged Environmental Citizenship. Charles Darwin University Press, Darwin, NT, Australia, pp. 118-135.

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[Extract] Public engagement is a defining feature of collaborative approaches to environmental management (Petts 2006, Whelan and Oliver 2005). Public engagement in this context is focused on incorporating residents and communities of interest in activities like ecological restoration, catchment management, and environmental conservation in a wide range of situations (Nelson and Pettit 2004, Petts 2007). Some authors consider public engagement to be a sign of healthy democratic functioning in society (Skocpol and Fiorina 1999). Others draw attention to overcoming widely-noted practical limitations of top-down mechanisms, emphasising that public engagement results in programs being implemented more effectively (Broderick 2005, Leach et al. 1999).

There is an increasing need to critically consider public engagement and its role in natural resource management (NRM) governance in relation to empirical evidence Qordan 2008). In this paper we consider the role of public engagement in relation to two theoretical perspectives: deliberative democracy and 'governmentality'. In doing so, we present an empirical case study of defining the 'factors for successful engagement' in a remote area of Australia, as perceived by local residents and government managers. Interest in public engagement developed in the wake of heavy criticism of top-down regulation (Kapoor 2001). Public engagement can be seen as moving beyond passive participation to a focus on generating shared understanding and a mutually-acceptable agenda for resource management held by multiple actors. It emphasises actively reaching out to voices that are infrequently heard (Bloomfield et al. 2001). In the NRM domain, public engagement is defined as 'processes and practices in which a wide range of people work together to achieve a shared goal' (Aslin and Brown 2004, p. 3).

Item ID: 32609
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-921576-80-5
Keywords: community-based NRM, dryland development paradigm, desert environments, deliberative democracy, community participation
Date Deposited: 22 May 2014 02:43
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160401 Economic Geography @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160403 Social and Cultural Geography @ 20%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960904 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Land Management @ 35%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960504 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments @ 35%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960311 Social Impacts of Climate Change and Variability @ 30%
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