Community governance in rural Victoria: Rethinking grassroots democracy?

O'Toole, Kevin 2006, Community governance in rural Victoria: Rethinking grassroots democracy?, Rural society, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 303-319.

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Title Community governance in rural Victoria: Rethinking grassroots democracy?
Author(s) O'Toole, KevinORCID iD for O'Toole, Kevin
Journal name Rural society
Volume number 16
Issue number 3
Start page 303
End page 319
Publisher Centre for Rural Social Research, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Charles Sturt University
Place of publication Wagga Wagga, N.S.W
Publication date 2006
ISSN 1037-1656
Keyword(s) rural governance
Summary The development of local community associations in small rural towns in Victoria has engendered a sense of local self-governing that can be described as a shift from government to governance. This ‘more flexible’ approach extends beyond government, and the place of its agencies, to a greater sharing of power between the state, the market and civil society via new network and partnership structures. The question arises whether  community networks and partnerships bring with them a new sense of  democracy as well. The paper begins with a discussion of governance, its  relationship to two democratic frameworks - liberal minimalism (or representative governance) and associationalism - and the implications for democracy in community governance. Focusing on three internal factors (accountability of the leadership, inclusiveness and the scope of  responsibility), and two external factors (relationships to the state and types of relationships with other groups), the paper then explores the ways that community governance has been adopted in rural Victoria using in-depth interviews and a survey of community groups in 35 small rural towns. The ensuing discussion argues that while these community associations may be involved in forms of associational democracy, there is still some doubt about the inclusiveness of their membership and the extent to which their advocacy represents all sections of their communities. The paper then  concludes by suggesting that representative and associational forms of democracy need not be seen as opposites but as a more enhanced form of local governance.
Language eng
Field of Research 169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2006, eContent Management
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