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ERIC Number: EJ796036
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jul
Pages: 14
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0743-0167
Making Democracy Matter: Responsibility and Effective Environmental Governance in Regional Australia
Wallington, Tabatha J.; Lawrence, Geoffrey
Journal of Rural Studies, v24 n3 p277-290 Jul 2008
This paper will critically examine the changing social relations of responsibility associated with Australia's current regional "experiment" in environmental governance. This experiment centrally involves the transfer of responsibility for natural resource management (NRM) from Federal and State governments to community-based regional bodies. Although governments are promoting democratic NRM planning at the regional level as a more effective means of addressing Australia's environmental problems, we argue that a tension is emerging in association with the simultaneous pursuit of these goals: "effectiveness" has been defined in terms of the accountability of regional communities to central governments for the achievement of short-term results, an approach which is undermining the democratic promise that regional bodies would be responsive to wider community concerns. The notion of "responsibility" provides a means of investigating this tension, as accountability and responsiveness are both elements of the overarching concept of responsibility. The examination of NRM institutions through this theoretical lens indicates that the shared substantive interests required to motivate a sense of shared responsibility amongst regional actors have been sidelined by the procedural demands of accountability. We argue that, if NRM planning is to be genuinely accountable and responsive to substantive public ends, the properly social and dialogical nature of responsibility relationships must be recovered. The paper concludes with a discussion of the social and political relations of responsibility that appear to provide the best opportunities for effective environmental governance, and thus for the achievement of more sustainable NRM outcomes, at the regional level.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia