Local governance for social sustainability: equity as a strategic response to neoliberal constraints in food security initiatives

Slade, Christine and Carter, Jennifer (2017) Local governance for social sustainability: equity as a strategic response to neoliberal constraints in food security initiatives. Australian Geographer, 48 3: 385-399. doi:10.1080/00049182.2016.1265882


Author Slade, Christine
Carter, Jennifer
Title Local governance for social sustainability: equity as a strategic response to neoliberal constraints in food security initiatives
Journal name Australian Geographer   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1465-3311
0004-9182
Publication date 2017-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/00049182.2016.1265882
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 48
Issue 3
Start page 385
End page 399
Total pages 15
Place of publication Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Publisher Routledge
Language eng
Abstract Scholarly literature recognises the importance of social sustainability as part of the wider sustainability agenda. A wide array of concepts such as equity, social justice, democratic government, social inclusion, social capital and quality of life are thought to constitute social sustainability. Local governments are charged with delivering social programs and services to their constituency, but market logics and performance-based institutional cultures, along with limited authority and funding, constrain their capacity to respond to new initiatives. We analyse two case studies in Victoria, Australia, to explore how elements of social sustainability are articulated and operationalised within local government. Each case study involved State-level and local government partnerships in health-promotion initiatives to improve food security. Analysis was conducted on 50 primary policy documents, 22 secondary data documents and 27 interviews. Findings reveal that a systems-based or integrated approach to social sustainability was not workable but not completely ineffective. Equity was prioritised by local government in both case studies, and well acknowledged as interconnected with other social goals. Although constrained in its capacity to deliver new initiatives, local government responded to neoliberalising ideologies, as well as its constituency, by strategically focusing on a particular goal, such as equity.
Keyword Local government
Neoliberalism
Partnerships
Social outcomes
Social sustainability
Strategic response
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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