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‘Are we wasting our time?’: bushfire practitioners and flammable futures in northern Australia

Neale, Timothy 2017, ‘Are we wasting our time?’: bushfire practitioners and flammable futures in northern Australia, Social and cultural geography, In press, pp. 1-23, doi: 10.1080/14649365.2017.1285423.

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Title ‘Are we wasting our time?’: bushfire practitioners and flammable futures in northern Australia
Author(s) Neale, TimothyORCID iD for Neale, Timothy
Journal name Social and cultural geography
Season In press
Start page 1
End page 23
Total pages 23
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Place of publication Abingdon, Eng.
Publication date 2017-02-05
ISSN 1464-9365
Keyword(s) bushfire
risk management
natural hazards
Northern Territory
Summary Humans are ‘fire creatures’ that have used fire for millennia to shape local environments to diverse purposes. Our capacity for combustion has also forced global climatic changes and rendered the planet increasingly flammable, creating the conditions for progressively higher impact bushfires now and into the future. Meanwhile, governments in fire-prone countries such as Australia have continued to allow settlements to be established (and re-established) in wildland–urban interfaces. Like other ‘natural hazards’, bushfire is thereby a social phenomenon bound up with human values, practices and decisions. But, while studies of the social dimensions of ‘natural hazards’ are steadily rising, this scholarship has rarely addressed natural hazard management practitioners directly, precisely those authorised and entrusted to intervene in the distribution of hazard probabilities and consequences. This paper seeks to help remediate this research gap, illustrating how cultural, ecological, economic and political factors thoroughly condition hazard management and modes of intervention. Drawing on a case study in the Northern Territory’s Greater Darwin region, this paper suggests not only that examining such sociocultural realities provides new insights into hazards and their distribution, but also that attention to such issues is crucial to understanding our flammable future in the Anthropocene.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/14649365.2017.1285423
Field of Research 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
1604 Human Geography
2002 Cultural Studies
Socio Economic Objective 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2017, Informa UK
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Arts and Education
Alfred Deakin Research Institute
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Created: Tue, 28 Feb 2017, 13:40:24 EST

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