The intercultural practice of local governance in an Aboriginal settlement in Australia

Moran, Mark (2010) The intercultural practice of local governance in an Aboriginal settlement in Australia. Human Organization, 69 1: 65-74.

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Author Moran, Mark
Title The intercultural practice of local governance in an Aboriginal settlement in Australia
Journal name Human Organization   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0018-7259
Publication date 2010-04-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 69
Issue 1
Start page 65
End page 74
Total pages 10
Place of publication Oklahoma City, OK, United States
Publisher Society for Applied Anthropology
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Abstract Drawing on research undertaken at a remote Aboriginal settlement, the paper describes the interpersonal interactions occurring in the practice of local governance, by conceptualising an intercultural field on which actors from a variety of institutional positions practice. Local governance in Kowanyama exhibited a political pluralism, encompassing a complex array of competing and at times balancing interests. Informal and formal checks and balances operated to curb the excesses of leaders. There was considerable diversity in the personal characteristics of leaders and of local organizations and forums. The pluralism and specialisation observed was an innovative response to the complexity of local governance and indicative of a political maturity in leadership and their constituency. Critical to local governance was productive relationships operating locally between leaders and trusted outsiders. The bulk of administrative burden was borne by a surprisingly small number of leaders and trusted outsiders, raising questions about how to broaden public participation in decision-making. The paper concludes by encouraging researchers and commentators to move beyond the notion of a narrow interface between monolithic opposing cultures, to the rich sociality that is occurring in the intercultural practice of local governance. Copyright © 2010 by the Society for Applied Anthropology.
Keyword Australia
Aboriginal peoples
Local governance
Intercultural practice
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Social Science Publications
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Created: Sun, 21 Mar 2010, 00:06:59 EST