University Of Tasmania
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Small island governance and global-local change in King Island, Tasmania

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posted on 2023-05-26, 01:05 authored by Jones, ER
It is claimed that small islands fall prey to powerful forces that transform place and life, creating major political, economic, social and environmental challenges simultaneously global and local in their reach and impact. This research examines whether, how and to what extent modes of governing fail or succeed to support such challenges of change. A qualitative work positioned between island studies and cultural geography, it fuses notions of island, place and governance in a case study that examines how members of a small island population dealt with global-local change. The setting was King Island, remote dependant of Australian island state Tasmania. Three methods were used: community observation by the researcher, analysis of primary and secondary documentary evidence, and the interpretation of three rounds of interviews conducted with King Islanders over six months. Data were first categorised, described and analysed in terms of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats or challenges that islanders perceived in relation to quality of life. Second, four challenges of chief significance to participants were examined in depth: governance, population, land use and tenure, and climate. Hermeneutic analysis of these four cases points to both failures and successes to manage global-local change in the short term, which participants explained in terms of particular mindsets in King Island contoured by local (island) place, and tensions over relational place with two powerful sovereign governments. Examples of the potential of governance‚ÄövÑvÆdealt with in depth in the final discussion‚ÄövÑvÆsuggest that both failures and successes of various kinds and intensities are possible in small island systems. Such insights stand as conclusive and object lessons in two ways. First, what appears to be governing failure can lead to change and opportunity for growth in governing capacity and outcomes for the common good. Second, occupants of small islands can indeed find ways to manage their global-local challenges.


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