The recent 11 years of conservative government rule in Australia was marked by what some commentators refer to as a 'hardening of hearts' and a notable decline in the public realm. At the same time, climate change and drought made an increasing impact on Australian environments and society. This paper responds to the overwhelming tendency, which it aligns with a retreat from the concept of public-ness, to instrumentalise efforts to remediate environmental decline. Focusing in particular on water - or the lack of it - in Australia today, the paper draws on innovations in cultural theory and research practice to retum the question of public-ness to centre stage. This involves a reorientation of what it might mean to 'make water public' that is not reliant on the sole agency of humans.
Field of Research
200204 Cultural Theory
Socio Economic Objective
970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture