The practices of local governance : a Tasmanian case study
thesisposted on 2023-05-26, 05:22 authored by Armstrong, D
In this thesis I examine how local government and community actors are managing change in local governing processes. I describe how governing is practised and document the effects of such practices for the rural township of Geeveston in the Huon Valley Council, Tasmania, Australia. The aim of the research is to apprehend the materiality of governing at the local level under neoliberal governmental regimes in order to comprehend what happens and what is at stake when people govern and are governed in particular ways .This project is underpinned by an interest in everyday practices and the particular experiences of individuals in communities of place and interest and grounded in a case study of township revitalisation. The implementation of neoliberal governmental technologies has changed profoundly governing practices at all levels of government. The term governance is being used as a general reference for these changing conditions of governing. Of concern here are the effects of those changes on local government that occurred in Tasmania, Australia during the 1990s. This period of local government modernisation emphasised managerial and structural changes designed to increase local government efficiency and effectiveness and were accompanied by legislative requirements to enhance citizen participation in local government processes. Determining how to integrate these twin goals has generated significant challenges for local government and community actors as they negotiate what it means to govern and be governed in the new governance environment. The design for the research is based on a case study approach and draws on qualitative research methods. It assumes great value in working from the particularities of people's experiences; a position central to the practice of cultural geography. The theoretical framework draws on concepts of government developed in literature on governmentality; a perspective that highlights the regimes of practices of government used in attempts to shape rationally human conduct for particular ends. In its detailed examination of the practices of government, this project addresses a gap identified in the literature calling for more empirical research to explicate theorizations of governmental practices. This research builds knowledge about local governance with attention to its constitution through the discursive and material practices of identity, community, representation, citizenship and politics in place. The work links the empirical findings of this research with concepts of the representative claim, agonistic pluralism and governing through community to problematise, respectively, meanings and practices of representation, the role of conflict in democracy and practices of community empowerment.
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