Resilience: a lived experience

Noble, Keith Andrew (2016) Resilience: a lived experience. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Contemporary Australia is seeing a renewed national focus on northern development (above the Tropic of Capricorn), with agriculture as an important component. The history of agricultural production in northern Australia is one of constant perturbations. Therefore, it was seen as essential to seek the views of those with lengthy experience in the industry to determine what factors might contribute to their resilience.

A qualitative Grounded Theory approach through two distinct (but non-sequential) processes - the first literature-based, and the second in-depth semi-structured interviews, addressed these objectives: (1) Determine whether a study of the context, personal strategies, perspectives and operating environment of individuals (now and in the past), could identify and understand the factors and strategies that contribute to or enhance an individual's chance of achieving successful outcomes; (2) Determine whether such factors and strategies might improve planning and policy, particularly in the consideration and reduction of industry risk.

To address these objectives, the context in which Northern Australian agriculture has operated was considered in order to understand the nature of industry perturbations, and to identify and understand the factors and operational environment that both influence and contributes to the ability (or otherwise) of individual industry participants to survive and prosper. Phenomenographic analysis of 66 interviews, conducted across a range of farms and related agencies, identified four themes of (1) Situational Awareness, (2) the Ability to Plan, (3) the Ability to Adapt, and (4) Social Connectedness: which illustrate resilience strategies farmers used. Inter-twined through these was the Perception of Fairness, which relates these attributes to a broader sense of agency, and which acts as an enabler of the resilience individuals derive from the implementation of their strategies. It is proposed that this sense of fairness needs to be fostered through ensuring a deliberate process of engagement, consideration, and inclusion of impacted communities during policy development, particularly for policy that bonds communities and cultures within their environment.

This identification of the Situational Awareness, the Ability to Plan, the Ability to Adapt, Social Connectedness and perception of Fairness through a Grounded Theory Approach contributes a new understanding of resilience. This understanding is from the perspective of those who have lived the experience, rather than predetermined notions of what constitutes resilience. In different ways, these factors may also apply for those who have left the industry, and for people in other contexts.

Item ID: 49806
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: adaptability, agricultural development, agricultural policy, agriculture, disaster, farmers, food security, government policy, history, infrastructure, Northern Australia, opportunity seeking, planning, resilience, situational awareness, social connectedness
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Copyright Information: Copyright © 2016 Keith Andrew Noble
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Thesis embargoed, restricted access. Full thesis may either be requested via document delivery at your local library or viewed in the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library at JCU, Townsville.

Publications arising from this thesis are available from the Related URLs field. The publications are:

Noble, Keith (2013) A (re-)assessment of Northern Australia's agricultural future. Queensland Planner, 53 (4). pp. 30-36.

Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2017 23:48
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified @ 10%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070199 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management not elsewhere classified @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160404 Urban and Regional Studies (excl Planning) @ 40%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9405 Work and Institutional Development > 940599 Work and Institutional Development not elsewhere classified @ 40%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970107 Expanding Knowledge in the Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences @ 60%
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