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Geoffrey J. Syme & Blair E. Nancarrow
As the limitations to Australia’s water resources are becoming better understood the issues relating to water allocation are becoming more complex and contested. There is a need to interpret them in the context of the social functions of water. There are two important questions that need to be resolved in this regard. What exactly are we allocating and by what framework can we judge the justice of this allocation. In examining the first issue we suggest that water resource negotiations need to move from a quantity (or gigalitre) approach to one of understanding the benefits that alternative water allocation policies can bring. We define Water Benefits as the ways in which water promotes or diminishes wellbeing in all domains both utilitarian and non utilitarian. We acknowledge that the same quantity of water can deliver multiple benefits as it moves through a catchment which makes it a difficult commodity for economic analysis. In answering the second question we examine Australian studies of lay ethics and common priorities for alternative uses to establish a methodological approach for evaluating the fairness of alternative allocation policies. This can be applied at both local and regional levels. The article concludes by demonstrating that there is ample opportunity for combining the benefits assessment with the systematic application of social justice analysis within the public discussion needed for procedurally just water reform. In this way the negotiations and conflict management accompanying water reform can be more accountable and systematically implemented than is currently the case.
Introduction Essentially, the thrust of the recommendations was to achieve sustainability by using markets to move water to the uses of highest economic value while protecting the environment by limiting human consumptive use. The third ‘social’ bottom line (of the Triple Bottom Line, TBL) was, however, relatively de-emphasised in the early period of reform. The recommended changes for the economy and the environment were supposed to be delivered within ‘social constraints’. These constraints were never defined although there was to be an emphasis on consultation and public education. Culture as an input to water resource policy has been relatively ignored. While other nations such as the USA and South Africa have been more explicit about what should be included in social accounting for such issues as water investment, the uptake of such accounts has been sporadic in practice (Delli Priscoli 2005). This is of some concern for water management generally as reliance on conventional economic analysis may be difficult as water is not regarded as a typical economic good by all (e.g. see Batten 2007; Savenije 2002). To some extent water’s economic value depends on where it is in the water cycle. This has been demonstrated by Hoekstra, Savenije and Social Alternatives Vol. 27 No. 3, 2008
While social perspectives on water resource
management have been researched for some time, there have been recent expressions of concern that such insights have not been systematically incorporated or institutionalised within natural resource decision making (Dale, Taylor and Lane 2001; Selin and Pierskalla 2005). Even though the water management literature actively embraces the rhetoric of sustainable management of water resources which supposedly, at minimum, includes the triple bottom lines of social, economic and environmental analysis, there is relatively little emphasis on the social dimension. The major discourse appears to be between the economic imperative and the need for environmental conservation. This has clearly been the case in Australia where there has been a substantial effort in water reform. In 1992 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) commissioned a joint federal-state working group to report on an efficient and sustainable reform of the Australian water industry. Many aspects of this report were adopted by COAG in 1994 (Smith 1998, 271).
Chapagain (2001) at the catchment scale in the context of the Zambezi River. From their viewpoint, if a cubic metre of water gives some kind of ecological benefit or some aspect of economic value, it needs to be viewed not only at that point in space and time, but in its previous stages in its journey through the catchment. That is, in economic terms the same drop of water has many, and often related values, and the total value of water depends on its context or place in the hydrological cycle.
Similar observations can be made from a social perspective. For example, the same drop of water can provide for both health and recreation and these social values can accumulate as the water moves down the catchment. Perhaps a more difficult problem than understanding what should be counted, is deciding Allocating Water Benefits from Subjective Scaling on the distinction between what should be counted While money is often the obvious common metric, as economic and what should be counted as social it is our view that not everything can be measured in terms of value. While some human variables such in these terms. Another simple metric common to as spirituality or ethics are clearly difficult to view psychological measurement is that of how relatively through an economic lens and therefore can clearly be satisfied people feel with alternative ways of allocating classified as ‘social’ or ‘cultural’ it can be contended water and the alternative benefits that this allocation that others are not. Some of these can and have implies. For this reason a Water Benefits Accounting been viewed through social or economic lenses at the and Assessment (WBAA) methodology has been same time. For example, the importance of health and established (Moran et al. 2004; recreation can be regarded slightly McIntyre et al. 2006) that attempts differently through social and ...the same drop of water to establish and apply such a economic traditions. The question metric. Basically, the methodology then arises as to whether one can provide for both health is based on a hierarchical multicounts both economic and social and recreation and these social attribute utility framework (Michaud values separately or whether values can accumulate as the and Apostolakis 2006). In short, one value includes the other and it assesses individuals’ attitudes therefore a single value will suffice. water moves down towards the importance of a variety Ideally, since there will be overlaps the catchment. of benefits the community feels or correlations, to avoid double it can gain from a particular body of water and the counting it is important to find a way to include them degree to which people feel they are achieving those in one integrated score. Thus social valuation does benefits under current conditions. People are then not become a separate issue and it is automatically asked the same questions in regard to what they feel integrated and included in an overall score. If each would happen to the achievement of each benefit if a component is counted separately the difficult issue particular policy were adopted. In this way, the change of how to combine them to come to some meaningful in score will measure the overall potential increase in overall assessment then needs to be addressed. This benefits if alternative policies or plans were adopted problem is, of course, the basis of the difficulties found (see McIntyre et al. 2006, 22). Ideally also the ‘do in incorporating social assessment in increasingly nothing’ case should be investigated to accurately difficult allocation decisions. assess the value of any policy. That is, if no plan or policy was introduced what would be the effects on the In what follows, we begin to address this problem by delivery of benefits over time due to current pressures examining allocation problems. We do this by moving on the water resource. Is there a stable condition or from a quantitative or gigalitre approach into one in are things likely to improve or deteriorate if nothing is which the overall perceived benefits from access to done? water (incorporating social, environmental and economic components) are the focus of allocation decisions. We More particularly, in the case of an adopted plan and contend that the most important outcome of water limited resources to implement it, a benefits map can resources management for people is the subjective be developed which will show the decision makers overall benefit that they derive from it (Moran et and the community which priority actions can be
al. 2004; Syme et al. 2008). That is, it is the human aspirations in regard to the social benefits, perceived environmental goals, and required economic outcomes that are the key elements of sustainable water reform. A water benefit is not the quantity of water in itself. It is the subjective benefit that is derived from drinking it in terms of refreshment, or the feeling of enjoyment of the amenity of a vase of flowers. We contend that some of these benefits can be measured in dollar terms but some cannot (Ackerman and Heinzerling 2004). Many of these non-economic commodities such as culture or spirituality are firmly in the social category. Nevertheless, both economic and social benefits are important and both need to be included with environmental benefits in any evaluative analysis in the same metric if the success of our water management is to be understood.
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taken to maximise the benefits outcome from the based social justice research literature. This literature implementation of the plan. This benefits plan can centres on ideas of equity, procedural justice and provide very useful input into the debate about priorities fairness among other concepts. Although this research for implementation. This debate will also, of course, has been applied most often to distribution of human have to consider issues such resources, it is equally pertinent ...a benefits map can be developed as the resources, skills, and to the allocation of benefits from which will show the decision state of knowledge available to water. For the planner it also has implement particular activities. the advantage that it often uses makers and the community WBAA, including the benefits reliable and valid psychological which priority actions can be map, has been recently applied scales to provide a quantitative taken to maximise the benefits in two cases of water resources indication of relatively how much management. The first related ‘justice’ has been dispensed. outcome from the implementation to the potential benefits of the of the plan. introduction of a desalination Equity defines the principles that plant in Katanning in Western should underpin the distributive Australia to alleviate soil salinity problems and provide allocation of resources. Generally speaking it has been additional water resources for the town. The second shown that there are two components that are used study examined the benefits associated with the when we make judgments in relation to equity (e.g. implementation of the Lake Milwala Water Quality Plan Rasinski 1987). These have been termed equality on the border of Victoria and New South Wales. Prior (everyone should have equal opportunity for access to the implementation of the latter plan it had been to a resource) and proportionality (people should be the subject of severe community controversy and the allocated resources in response to the effort that they benefits map provided an agreed template upon which have made to gain access). Both dimensions are to move forward. used in each judgment with differing emphases on each depending on the issue at hand. Procedural Another advantage of taking this approach is that justice relates to the perceived justice in the decision because interest groups and demographic and locality making process itself. There are a number of criteria information is collected at the time of the interviews to or components that define procedural justice (see identify the benefits, WBAA is capable of demonstrating Tyler and Blader 2001; Lawrence et al. 1997) such as which parts of the community will perceive different representativeness of public interests included in the benefits from water plans and for what reasons. It will decision making process, planning activities that are also do the opposite in being able to define negative easy to participate in, provision of sufficient and clear impacts on some sectors of the delivery of benefits to information to encourage participation, voice (or the particular groups. Potential conflicts about fairness opportunity to influence the decision), personal respect and equity issues can consequently be collected (sometimes called interactional justice) and so on. in an open and quantitative way. Negotiations and conflict resolution can then be appropriately targeted Syme, Nancarrow and McCreddin (1999) have also rather than the vague and often heated arguments shown that in addition to the two components of about gigalitres of water or need for water quality equity the public have a wide range of lay ethics or targets. But procedural justice would demand that philosophies that they can bring to bear when deciding we have a negotiation procedure that is transparent whether an allocation of water is fair or not. The and open to all over time so that the values behind fairness heuristic is said to include both procedural benefits allocation are as evident as the benefits and distributive justice components. In their studies that are bestowed. Procedural justice demands that these lay ethics associated with distributive justice such key variables as ‘voice’ (or being heard), good were measured at two levels. Those ethics relevant communication between all parties, and an adequate to specific water allocation decisions, and those and visible representation of all values and viewpoints overarching principles that need to be included when are provided during decision making. The WBAA thinking of the overall outcomes of water allocation in approach provides an output that can provide an general were measured at the same time. Both were important and understandable evaluation tool in this included in the evaluation of regional water allocations regard. decisions. In short, the community can provide ethical criteria against which national policies and individual Measuring and Evaluating Justice localised decisions can be empirically assessed. In approaching empirical methods for dealing with the incorporation of justice in the allocation of benefits, It is interesting that the range of principles used by the an obvious starting point is the social psychologically general public is similar in many ways to the formal
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philosophies espoused over the years in relation to resource allocation (Wenz 1988). Any decision can then be crafted to incorporate as many of the basic principles of fairness that are required to represent as many of the community’s views on fairness as feasible. Syme et al. (1999) show how most in the community could have at least some of their fairness views included in a potential decision on reallocating groundwater in a situation in New South Wales where significant cuts in allocation were required. Access by farmers to the fairness judgments of other community members exposed to the outcomes of the re-allocation, and their views of the specific means to address them, can provide a constructive basis on which to design the associated public involvement in decision making. Combining the Approaches From the above it can be seen that we now have the basic tools to reallocate water in a socially accountable manner. Firstly the potential benefits of the resource can be defined. Simple analyses can be conducted to demonstrate how water can be managed for overall wellbeing. The current distribution of these benefits can be established and the effects on that distribution because of changes in water management can be identified quantitatively. ‘Winners’ and ‘losers’ can be identified using this method and potential conflicts better understood. If there are alternative policies for re-allocation or water planning generally, the relative fairness of the proposed actions can be examined and changed if necessary to more fairly reflect the fairness principles espoused by the public. Public discussion and planning can then be interpreted in an accessible way to ensure that the social component of sustainable water management is met in a way that it is not currently. That is, the effects of decisions on overall community wellbeing are demonstrated by WBAA and clarity and resolution of the justice issues associated with sharing are facilitated by the fairness analysis. By applying both benefits and fairness methodologies, conflict management can be enhanced in the short and long term. Regardless of the outcomes of a particular decision, longitudinal analyses over time can improve the inclusion of a wider range of community groups. The negative impacts of any particular allocation on a specific group can be compensated or offset in ongoing decisions for other water bodies. Australian water reform has not to this point systematically included measures of wellbeing and justice which has left the social bottom line largely ignored. By taking benefits and justice considerations seriously and including them in a systematic empirical and theoretically consistent way this problem can be significantly alleviated.
References Ackerman, F. and L. Heinzerling. 2004. Priceless: On Knowing the Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing. New York: The New Press. Batten, D. F. 2007. ‘Can economists value water ’s multiple benefits?’ Water Policy, 9(4):345-362 Dale, A., N. Taylor, and M. (2001). Social Assessment in Natural Resource Management Institutions. Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing. Delli Priscoli, J. (2005) Five Challenges for Water Governance. Address to International Ecological symposium on Ecosystem Governance, Pilansberg, South Africa. Hoekstra, A.Y., H.H.G. Savenije, and A.K. Chapagain. 2001. ‘An Integrated Approach Towards Assessing the Value of Water: A Case Study On The Zambesi Basin’. Integrated Assessment. 2:199-208. Lawrence, R.L. S.E. David, and G. H. Stankey. 1997. ‘Procedural Justice and Public Involvement in Natural Resources Decision Making’. Society and Natural Resources. 10:577-589. McIntyre, W., D. Tucker, M. Green, G. Syme, L. Bates, N. Porter, and B. Nancarrow. 2006. Water Benefits Accounting and Assessment: Lake Mulwala Case Study. CSIRO Water for a Healthy Country National Research Flagship, Land and Water: Perth. Michaud, D. and G.E. Apostolakis. 2006. ‘Methodology for Ranking the Elements of Water Supply Networks’. Journal of Infrastructure Systems. 12(4):230-242. Moran, C., G. Syme, S. Hatfield-Dodds, N. Por ter, E. Kington and L. Bates. 2004. On Defining and Measuring the Benefits from Water. 2nd IWA LeadingEdge Conference on Sustainability: Sustainability in Water Limited Environments – LES 2004. 8-10 November 2004. Sydney: Australia. Rasinski, K.A. 1987. ‘What’s Fair is Fair…or is it? Value Differences Underlying Public Views about Justice’. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 53:201-211. Savenije, H.H.G. 2002. ‘Why Water is not an Ordinary Economic Good, or Why the Girl is Special’. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth. 27(11-22):741-744. Selin, S. and C. Pierskalla. 2005. ‘ The Next Step: S t r e n g t h e n i n g t h e S o c i a l S c i e n c e Vo i c e i n Environmental Governance’. Society and Natural Resources. 18(10):933-936. Smith, D.I. 1998. Water in Australia: Resources and Management. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Syme, G.J., B.E. Nancarrow, and J.A. McCreddin. 1999. ‘Defining the Components of Fairness in the Allocation of Water to Environmental and Human Uses’. Journal of Environmental Management, 57:51-70. Syme, G.J., N.B. Porter, U. Goeft, and E.A. Kington. 2008. ‘Integrating Social Wellbeing into Assessments of Water Policy: Meeting the Challenge for Decision Makers’. Water Policy. In press.
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Tyler, T.R. and S.L. Blader. 2000. Cooperation in Groups: Procedural Justice, Social Identity, and Behavioral Engagement. Psychology Press: Philadelphia Wenz, P.S. 1988. Environmental Justice. State University of New York Press, Albany, NY. Acknowledgements The authors thank Land and Water Australia and the CSIRO Water for Healthy Country national research flagship for support in the development of the concepts that underpin this article.
Authors Geoffrey J. Syme, Centre for Planning, Edith Cowan University Blair E. Nancarrow, CSIRO, Land and Water. The authors have a combined experience of more than 50 years in the research of social aspects of water resources management in both rural and urban spheres throughout Australia. They were founding members of a national centre in CSIRO to bring specialist expertise to research in this area. Geoff Syme is now a Professor for Planning at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia.
The Innate Gypsy
I’ve been gathering driftwood and tumbleweeds An attempt to squirrel away an untamable traveler And on second thought there are the squirrels in the trees Out beyond the tropical vines of a blue Buddha café I’m searching for the romantic to adorn my own back yard Flaming patio torches and rusty tin can lanterns Lined up in a testament to Australian outback culture Even the sweet scents on the air beckon me to stay a while Yet world news broadcasts speak too often of Spice Islands And as the sea breeze snuffs my carefully placed torches and lanterns I’m left in the dark contemplating across what distant shores These driftwoods have drifted and tumbleweeds have swept
Melanie Busato Elliot Heads Qld
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and little replenishment of the aquifer due to drought. Australia. it is unpredictable. which included the Lockyer. triple bottom line sustainability. 3. without rules to constrain use of groundwater. For more than 20 years farmers have been treating groundwater resources like the everflowing magic pudding. a set of rules for self-governance of common pool resources developed by Ostrom can be applied to the Lockyer to maintain viability. because of its apparent never-ending availability. and stewardship of the resource while at the same time meeting basic needs for security. shouted Bill…” Bunyip Bluegum: “To have one’s noblest feelings outraged by reposing a too great trust in unworthy people.Rules for the Magic Pudding: Managing Lockyer Groundwater Claudia Baldwin CClaudu Groundwater resources are often referred to as the ‘The Magic Pudding’ after Norman Lindsay’s Australian bush tale. 48. government regulation of water use in the Central Lockyer only has led to substantial local discontent. baseflow to the creeks has reduced over the past 30 years with groundwater levels falling below the creek bed (NRM 2005) resulting in no visible surface flow for most of the year.” said Sam hurriedly. Bill. “This is a very rare Puddin’”…the penguin leaned across to Bunyip Bluegum and said a low voice. High levels of groundwater extraction in upstream areas have reduced both surface water flow and groundwater recharge in downstream areas.” said Bill. long-term sustainable use. 98). 26 Social Alternatives Vol.. is to end by regarding all humanity with an equal suspicion” (Lindsay 1918. Because of high surface water and groundwater interconnectivity in the alluvial aquifers. and sense of belonging. there are broader social consequences if the rules are abused by a few and trust is no more. Historically. 27 No. The Magic Pudding is analogous to the situation in the Lockyer valley. protect it from thieves and to maintain social norms. there is a hidden trap or punishment for being too greedy: the magical gift must not be abused. 2008 . The metaphor of ‘The Magic Pudding’ is from Australian Norman Lindsay’s 1918 story about a pudding that never ran out and the ‘rules’ and strategies that were devised to protect the pudding from thieves. As Bunyip Bluegum warns. This research refers to the case of the Lockyer valley west of Brisbane where inadequate regulation of groundwater extraction for agriculture has led to inequitable and decreased availability and use. and a sense of community. however water resources have been increasingly stressed as a result of high extraction of water by users. 21. minimal regulation of take. handing him a large slice. Supplementation of reserves through centralised irrigation infrastructure works (storages and pipelines) in the Central and Lower Lockyer has proven ineffective resulting in little community trust in any future government-derived solution. 100 km west of Brisbane in Queensland. As a common pool resource however. all users will eventually be affected by diminished flows. Decreasing availability of water has had a substantial economic impact on horticultural irrigators in this farming community. In the Lockyer an opportunity to address the situation arose in 2005 in the form of the Queensland government’s Moreton Water Resource Planning (MWRP) process. As part of the broader Queensland government water planning process. self-sufficiency. Introduction: Groundwater as a ‘Magic Pudding’ “You’ll enjoy this Puddin’. “To Jeredelum with the rules”. Until recently groundwater was widely considered a secure source for horticulture irrigation in the Valley.. Just as rules were needed to manage the unruly Magic Pudding. Lindsay’s pudding is ‘treacherous’ – like groundwater resources. “It’s a Magic Puddin’. Lockyer irrigators have proposed a system of co-management to meet a number of their values for procedural and distributional fairness.” “Observe the rules. Like many folk stories about limitless wishes.
33 stakeholders (irrigators. The interview analysis revealed the differences in values and interests of various stakeholders that needed to be taken into account to negotiate an agreement acceptable to two major players.Figure 1: The Lockyer Valley illustrating Upper.e. The effectiveness of this approach required a broad understanding of the values underpinning economic viability and community well-being. but did not consider managing water cooperatively on a catchment (i. 27 No. A regime that brings local communities into management and decision making would reduce disparities and achieve better outcomes for all. Strong values about sustainable water use and fairness were evident: • Irrigator views about how to achieve the goal Social Alternatives Vol. watershed) basis until they suffered the effects of a drought and encountered the “threat” of additional regulation by government. In response to these threats the Lockyer Water Users Forum (LWUF – a coalition of 17 subcatchment irrigator groups) proposed a collaborative approach – co-management – to aim for water resource sustainability through the MWRP process. 3. Understanding values thus improves the likelihood of stakeholders having their views reflected in potential solutions and finding a mutually satisfactory outcome (Hassan 2001. and government) involved in Lockyer water issues participated in photovoice interviews1 in which photos taken by participants were used to elicit values and interests about water. Ross et al. Qualitative research methods enable discovery of rules that are considered legitimate by those involved (Trottier 2001). cooperation and trust would be needed to minimise threats to economic viability and community well-being in the Lockyer. Conflict often relates to deep human needs and values (Tillett 1991). Likewise irrigators understood that appropriate rules. 2008 27 . The leadership required and the rules devised to protect the pudding required cooperation among the pudding owners. 2002). In 2005. Identifying Values through Photovoice Research This article reports on research over the period 2005-2007 about diverse values about sustainability within the community and the culture of independence that Lockyer irrigators needed to confront in order to resolve conflicts and respond effectively to water reforms. landcare/ catchment management. the LWUF and Queensland government. Central and Lower Lockyer and regulated areas Landholders had been making ad-hoc adjustments in their practices for some time.
Hardin’s (1968) ‘tragedy of the commons’ concluded that. In fact. in order to handle renamed ‘co-management’ as a way of engaging self-interest. the term ‘self-interest’ is often used. the magic pudding. procedural fairness). implications of the MWRP and how they could influence more than 30 factors have been identified as affecting it.e. Government others to use) (Sarker et al.of sustainable water use ranged from limiting extraction of water within the bounds of the aquifer to adopting more efficient methods of water use. found that the community sees a need for ‘rules or guidelines’ developed by stakeholders with government LWUF proposed a system of ‘self-management’ later responsible for enforcing rules. In such ‘social decision-making was more collaborative within dilemmas’ each person may act selfishly to maximise and between agencies but agency officers were his or her own personal gain. This objective captured irrigators’ fairness. government guidelines and a low level of trust of either at which the photos taken by irrigators were shared self-regulation or regulation solely by government in small groups and agreement was sought around (Baldwin 2007). economic and social sustainability (triple bottom line) values. as well as the need to present a common voice when negotiating with government on the MWRP. Accordingly. those downstream. sense of place and land benefits’ (i. degradation of the whole system For more than 20 years farmers family. disagreements among irrigators and with government on how groundwater should best be managed. have been treating groundwater (Van Vugt and Samuelson 1999). impacts play a role in moderating LWUF needed to understand the predominance of individual self-interest. self-management. This was an important milestone that recognised the diversity of opinions within the group about environmental constraints and regulation. The lack of hard data about the behaviour of the successful management of commons in the collective aquifer and interconnectivity with surface water caused interest (Agrawal 2003). However all participants indicated community should be involved in decision-making (ie. indicated that sustainable water use also included returning environmental flows to the creek to increase surface water flows over time. and an awareness of behaviour was considered critical. individual self-interest would prevail over evident between irrigators and government participants. 3. Strong fairness values were exhibited by those irrigators most negatively affected by existing inequitable regulations and lack of water (i. There was a strong need for independence and selfGroundwater is an example of a common-pool resource sufficiency among irrigators yet their business was where there is ‘low excludability of users’ (beneficiaries highly integrated with family. A recent attitudinal survey of Southeast irrigators in managing the resource collaboratively with Queensland water use confirmed a high level of government. in relation to common-pool resources such In addition. homes and community and destruction of the resource were not directly affected. Sense of community.e. Syme et al. • Upper catchment irrigators were less positive about water being allocated for the public good or for the benefit of downstream users. 27 No. while there is a need topics such as sustainable water management and 28 Social Alternatives Vol. All Ostrom (1992. distributional fairness). 2008 . did not need to live with them on High levels of use can lead to a daily basis and their income. community. (1999) levels. different styles of decision-making were as water. but if all members operate more detached from the outcomes of their water in this way then eventually outcomes for all are reduced management decisions – they and everyone is disadvantaged. Rules that Acknowledge Values When private benefit is considered in isolation to the extent that it ignores impacts on others or the environment. and the are difficult to exclude) and ‘high subtractability of land. in press). 2005) argued that with a set of ‘rules’ parties recognised that better information was needed and the support of governments. Key progress in consolidating irrigators’ support (70%) for community management within views occurred at an LWUF workshop in April 2006. environmental. then it is difficult for stewardship values were important. A major outcome of the workshop was the agreement among irrigators on an objective of self-management: ‘Water users manage a just balance between effective and efficient use of the water resource for the community and environmental benefit’ (Baldwin 2006). resources like the everflowing There is however substantial Lack of information about water evidence that government. stakeholders can on the relationship between extraction and aquifer rise above their individual needs. if used by one. Government and catchment-care participants on the other hand. cooperation unless constrained by some means. planning and data about aquifer community.
as the vehicle for relatively complex. Such concepts are long-term sustainable resource (ROP). decision-making. water-allocation decisions (Syme a long way towards achieving the Resource Operation Plan et al. Thus integrated mechanisms Initiative (COA 2004). community values also have an effect. Self-interest can be moderated by an overarching government framework. Largely this opportunity for accessing water fairness. replacing insecurity about unproven regulations personal demands if they believe there is adequate with a process over which they had more control. the Department of Natural Resources and Water (NRW). or in consensus-building terms. people tend objectives and Queensland’s commitments under the to overestimate the robustness of the environment and Intergovernmental Agreement on the National Water not restrict their activities. at incorporating negotiated rules use. and a sense of was a win-win solution. Thus the onus is on parties to the Lockyer cofor community involvement. believe in equal on co-management. knowledge about their environment. The norm of self-sufficiency ‘implies that people should take care of themselves’ (Hewstone et al. 35). An would allow for adaptive management as information alternative community-based model can foster selfbecame available and would assist irrigators to restraint among users provided they feel attached to take responsibility for their regulated use. monitoring and enforcing rules agreed management rules. While there is a legitimate private economic benefit from water in making a living from the land. the same time. Transparent resource such as water should be through local.rules. economic viability. Natural As a result of negotiations with LWUF. These rules can be used to moderate the short-term selfinterest of users with the long-term collective interest of the user community. 1991). and if they Such a process though is dependent on NRW being understand that management practices will alleviate the convinced that co-management will achieve MWRP problem. The LWUF proposal built in certain governance attributes recommended in Ostrom’s (1992) rules for self-governance of common pool resources. People can. lead to a ‘self-management rules framework with an Shared knowledge and values are integral to concepts underlying base level of regulatory management’ of community. 3. Just as government plays a role in moderating selfRules for the Lockyer Valley Magic Pudding interest. and more informed sub-catchment institutions (Strang 2004). co-management was attractive to the (Syme et al. an ethic and understanding of environmental sustainability. Where there is high uncertainty. 2008). Solutions detailed decisions about ROP are related to the right mix of fairness ingredients allocations. governments need to be management concept to embrace appropriate and responsible for policy. providing the sense of control over destiny sought by landholders and accountability sought by government.1999). could be applied in the Lockyer to ensure success of the comanagement proposal (Sarker et al. recognised that it was in their best interest to of reciprocity (Marshall 2004). It right ‘package’ (Susskind and Cruikshank 2006). relying on the LWUF to convince to ‘distribute’ credible data are vital for users to NRW that it would be a legitimate and accountable participate meaningfully in the process. the Queensland resource management is a social dilemma of conflict government agreed to ‘investigate user-administered between the short-term self-interest of users and the approaches to groundwater management’ which might long-term collective interest of the user community. sense of community. rather than distant alienating centralised across the valley. Self-interest can be tempered by pro(NRM 2005. Managing a connective have well-managed water resources. The MWRP social motivations such as fairness released in July 2006 identified Values-based rules would go and efficiency when making the next phase of water planning.1999). in press). developed through examination of hundreds of cases of successful self-governing institutions (Ostrom 1992. enforcement Social Alternatives Vol. Irrigators their community (Van Vugt 2002) and there is a sense too. 2008 29 . (1999) also argued that people will modify input. 27 No. made by the community to protect everyone’s interests. such as monitoring. independence from excessive regulation. monitoring of belonging. and involvement of the community in developing the Design principles and rules for self-governing institutions of common pool resources. Water management decisions might also be motivated by basic human needs for independence and ‘control over one’s life’ (Fisher et al. Co-management could provide a framework for their Syme et al. of insufficient data on water who have already invested in use in the Lockyer for making developing the resource. selfinterest can predominate when faced with possible negative impacts from reduction of water use. 2005). Because yet support rewards for those community. group to lead the process. co-management incorporating direct feedback on collective and inclusive methods that support sense use and aquifer levels through metering. would alleviate concerns of inequity.
to tailor rules to local circumstances and devise rules that are considered fair by participants. B r i s b a n e. C. well-being and to long-term community sustainability. an initial ‘Ostrom’ for sub-catchment management of groundwater in principle is that the area of the groundwater system the hands of irrigators. NRW however Groundwater in the Lockyer was once thought to be insisted on compliance with bounteous like the Magic its State-wide Metering Policy Pudding. In the absence of In addition. C. First. water extraction should be costed proportional to (Endnote) benefits from use. an independent auditor to monitor resource conditions. There is thus a risk of continuing inequity control. the fourth ‘Ostrom’ principle is that monitors adequate organisational support for LWUF to enable should be accountable to the users or are the users equitable negotiations within the Valley and with NRW. with adaptation These rules illustrate the tensions about how the of use accordingly. 2003. There are contentious value-based regulated will be excluded from the area subject to coissues yet to be resolved. unfair based rules would go a long way towards achieving and infringing on individual freedom (Van Vugt and long-term sustainable resource use. fairness. and a sense of community – core values of the Lockyer irrigation community.and conflict resolution. 2005) eight design principles. Samuelson 1999). Just as rules Strong fairness values were which mandates government were needed to manage exhibited by those irrigators ownership and maintenance the ‘treacherous’ Magic most negatively affected by of meters and control of Pudding. 3. that agreement on a safe yield for the aquifer is likely to be a major issue for sub-catchment negotiations. peak body supported by all irrigators. Water pricing can encourage efficiencies. Valuesnot succeed if they are perceived as costly. ‘Sustainable governance of commonwould place unnecessary strain on those farmers pool resources: context. According to and over-arching regulation through the ROP yet to the MWRP. C and H been discussed. Furthermore another ‘Ostrom’ principle (the third) u n p u b l i s h e d re p o r t . recognising for example. Unless there is Secondly. taken or administration of the co-management system have not. there are two unaddressed principles. It challenges NRW to ease management. 27 No. A.’s (1992. Such structural interventions may ‘Pudding’– groundwater – should be managed. Gatton. An Attitudinal Sur vey of Water Management and Use in South East Queensland. i. 2008 . the co-management proposal accepted by government is either inconsistent with or not addressing four of the principles.e. sufficiency and independence rules for self-governance and is contrary to the thinking of common pool resources that meters give users a sense of control and may be suitably adapted for Lockyer co-management. U n i ve r s i t y o f involves extraction rules being negotiated within subQueensland. and maintaining existing inequitable regulations the irrigators’ desire for selfsocial norms. 2006. with government support and access rights are clearly defined. proportional equivalence between benefits and costs. LWUF is still establishing itself as a respected and inconsistent regulation within the same system. University of Queensland. C. methods. economic viability. 30 Social Alternatives Vol. unpublished pricing was seen as a threat to irrigators’ economic report. user charges for the amount of water Ross (2006) and Baldwin. LWUF proposed owning water meters with co-management is likely to be token. value-based rules Lockyer irrigators are placed in a There has been no discussion between LWUF and ‘treacherous’ position where the benefits of the magic NRW in relation to the second principle which relates to pudding are put at risk for all. the Central Lockyer which is already be developed. accountability over extraction patterns. themselves. This is a huge unknown in relation to the Lockyer proposal. but References irrigators were also concerned that paying for water Agrawal. Until co-management details are agreed between NRW and LWUF. and politics’. Without going into detail about Ostrom et al. There are two areas where the LWUF proposed co-management concept is consistent with Ostrom’s principles but not Co-management is intended to put responsibility accepted by government. the extent of irrigator control or input in negotiations about water allocation and management may simply be rhetoric. 2007. Baldwin. catchment management area groups – ‘collectivechoice arrangements’. LWUF Workshop Outcomes. While charges for metering have 1 The methodology is explained in greater detail in Baldwin. This challenges thieves. irrigator behaviours and compliance. (under review). protecting it from monitoring. introducing more efficient irrigation equipment. Ostrom’s and lack of water. Annual already affected by drought and divert funds from Review of Anthropology 32: 243-263. Water Baldwin.
This work was carried out with the assistance of the Cooperative Research Centre for Irrigation Futures (CRCIF). Philip A. V. 2008 31 .. Ostrom. Water Policy. ‘Laying down the ladder: a typology of public participation in Australian Natural Resource Management’. New York.. Australia. 2005. M. Resolving Conflict: A Practical Approach. Intergovernmental Agreement on a National Water Initiative between the Commonwealth of Australia. 9th International River Symposium. et al. Tillett. 2002. & H. Getting to Yes: negotiating an agreement without giving in. Paris. Oxford University Press. 2008. North Ryde. Berg.Baldwin. Stakeholder Perceptions of Water Reform in Two Catchments in Queensland. Hewstone. et al. 1918. New Jersey. N. Natural and Rural Systems Management. Trottier. Understanding Institutional Diversity. The Need for Multiscalar analysis in the management of shared water resources. Canberra. The Meaning of Water. build consensus. G. ‘Defining the components of fairness in the allocation of water to environmental and human uses’. Her research has focused on improving water allocation planning through addressing values and interests of stakeholders using a consensus-based approach. Oxford. The Magic Pudding. Strang. Ury. S. H. Angus & Robertson. Age into looking like old lefties. (in press). Van Vugt. and collaborative natural resource management and governance in planning. 1992. In History and Future of Shared Water Resources. ‘Farmers cooperating in the commons? A study of collective action in salinity management’. Nancarrow. Oxford. Author Claudia Baldwin is a Lecturer in Regional and Urban Planning at the University of Sunshine Coast. California Social Alternatives Vol. Oxford University Press. ‘Water for Peace: A Cultural Strategy’. 2004. C. 27 No. Ross 2006. Blackwell Publishing. B. Princeton University Press. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 25(6): 735-750. et al. Sarker. Random House. NRM 2005. 1968. G. PhD thesis. M. ‘Managing Groundwater as a Common-Pool Resource in Australia’. …other side of the coin… Right about everything. or Collective Control?: Social Dilemma Strategies for Natural R esource M anagement ’. University of Queensland. Brisbane. Flash Cards Always throwing you a scare. Queensland Natural Resources and Mines. Samuelson 1999. ICS Press. J. Consider the world kissing kin. G. Have beliefs they can never pinpoint. UNESCOIHP. Crafting Institutions for Self-Governing Irrigation Systems... South Australia.. ‘Central. Integrating Values and Interests in Water Planning using a Consensusbuilding Approach. Individual. 1999. 2001. Fisher. Introduction to Social Psychology: A European Perspective. Syme. Amer ican B ehavioral Scientist 45(5): 783-800. J. Ostrom. Paris. ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’. Queensland. and the Governments of New South Wales. Waterhouse Sonoma. NSW. and J McCreddin. M. Van Vugt. Keep the ol’wing ready to throw it. 1991. Brisbane. 3. Victoria. Cruikshank 2006 . R. Reuss. C. Baldwin. the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory Canberra. Wolfgang. M. Australian Journal of Environmental Management 9(4): 205-217. ‘The Impact of Personal Metering in the Management of a Natural R e s o u rce C r i s i s : A S o c i a l D i l e m m a A n a l ys i s’. A. Consider affection in public unmentionable. M. F. 6: 1-19. UNESCO-IHP WWAP: 1-10. Lindsay. Commonwealth of Australia. and C. CoA 2004. Trottier et al. Hassan. Sussk ind. 2001. E. Break ing Robert’s Rules: The new way to run your meeting. E. Hassan. C. UNESCO IHP WWAP. Hardin. Ross. Buchy. Marshall. Journal of Environmental Management 57: 51-70. (under review). California. F. and J. Baldwin. Ecological Economics 51: 271-286. Brisbane. Sydney. 2004. W. New York. G. 1991. Science 162: 1243-1248. Lockyer Valley discussion paper: declaration of the whole Lockyer Valley as a subartesian area. et al. Age into looking like old goods up for a rummage sale. L. and get results. 2002.
(Hone & Fraser 2004. These processes determine the conditions for trading. These include negotiation of water sharing plans and decisions about annual allocations. Lynch-Wood & Williamson 2007). that exists as a relationship between people (the giver and receiver of the access right) (Stallworthy 2002 see chapter 3. Rather social licence depends on law. Many changes in access to water occur with limited regard to the apparent security (or property right) that a tradable entitlement to water suggests. & Thornton 2002. While this secure property right may be necessary. A social licence depends on satisfying social expectations (Gunningham. it is far from sufficient. A social licence is also needed. It is normal for property rights to be subject to constraint. and not necessarily ‘logical’ from the point of view of an irrigation business manager. One is the (tradable) licence to extract some percentage of the available water. beliefs. Ownership of a legal right to resources does not guarantee community support for the exercise of that right. Spencer 2005. administration and expectations. and industry or supply chain codes of practice are all formal expressions of social expectations of behaviour. Managers face a conflict between their legal duties to manage the enterprise in the (economic) interests of its owners and the vaguely defined expectation that they will meet unspecified social obligations. 27 No. These rights are continuously adjusted through mixed political. and public investment in water infrastructure. or the continuance of self-management arrangements. Land zoning. This article suggests that such rhetoric masks a fundamental management problem of the lack of boundaries to social accountability. Property is about the rules governing access to and control of resources. Water reform has changed how the water resource is shared. Expectations are not constrained by legal rights or obligations (LynchWood & Williamson 2007) and do not necessarily respect private ownership. making the tradeoffs between the environment. The second is the use right (usufruct) once that water is available. Introduction Social licence is a voluntary unwritten consent that a community attaches to resource use. It has been suggested that a legal ‘duty of care’. Robertson 2003. use and the availability of water. 77-78). natural resource management legislation. Raff & Cooke 2005. legal and administrative processes.Social Licence to Irrigate: The Boundary Problem Mark L. or triple bottom line reporting will protect that social licence. Shepheard and Paul V. 2008 . Raff 2003. A water entitlement as a form of property involves two property rights. Macintosh & Denniss 2004. Kagan. Martin The ability of an irrigation business to use water depends on having a property right to access water. Lyons & Davies 2007. Shine 2004. Water enterprises are continuously engaged in a negotiation with society. National Farmers 2004. 32 Social Alternatives Vol. suggesting that in the longer term the exercise of private property interests is materially constrained by accountability to the community. with availability being administratively determined. the development of laws to determine the priority of water access. The importance of social licence to farming is seen in processes like the re-negotiation of water sharing. Justification of the social licence is continuously required to succeed in these negotiations. Social responsibility debates are important to irrigation businesses (Gunningham 2004). More dramatic examples exist when a community punishes actions that are legal but violate community expectations (such as in the recent conflicts about mulesing). Many aspects are inherently political. relationships. urban areas and farming more apparent. WWF 2005). 3. but exercise of this right also depends on government decisions to allocate water or invest in water infrastructure.
Triple bottom line reporting is derived from accounting and performance management in business. are constantly changing. reflecting expectations that are neither constant nor defined by any legal instrument. and/or cultural concerns over the consequences of enterprise or management behaviour (Epstein 1987). ecological. 2008 Society expects that any business will not cause avoidable harm. Table 1 outlines these. considering legitimacy and focussing on trust. guidance at a level of precision required to design reporting systems. Without such clarity. They do not provide 33 . The second form is the managerial responsibility of governance. water businesses face significant practical problems. For example. the standards expected of a business for animal welfare. The process has two stages. It is social accountability. There are always groups whose demands go beyond contemporary practice. but they are generally well defined. naïve awareness about the relevant social and environmental issues. Examples of managerial responsibility are a duty to manage honestly and in the interest of shareholders or the common law duty not to harm others through negligence. There is little choice but to comply. A process to objectively define the boundaries of accountability is required to focus investment where accountability truly lies. Social Alternatives Vol. develop investment programs and train staff in response to social concerns. Duty of care emphasises norms of behaviour. used to draw boundaries of responsibility for harms inflicted on others (Cane 2002). Compliance with formal legal responsibilities is the first. Clarity about boundaries of responsibility will not be found merely by responding to the ever-shifting expectations of society. or treatment of people. These include investment of resources in pursuit of fruitless causes. with the potential to cover many economic. A business manager has little discretion other than to satisfy these requirements. These formal requirements may be daunting. management goals and actions that they are prepared to embrace (Brooks 2005). The Boundary Problems A legal duty of care and triple bottom line reporting are two approaches proposed to assist with defence of the social licence to irrigate. It is hard for the manager to say clearly where the boundaries of their social responsibilities lie. Defining Managerial Boundaries of Responsibility Integrating corporate responsibility with business strategy requires that managers decide the social responsibilities. will honour stakeholder rights and adhere to the ordinary canons of justice (Bowie 1991).Accountability and Boundaries of Responsibility Accountability exists in three forms (Figure 1). dialogue with community partners. social. Specifying such social expectations is difficult. This ought to provide a basis for genuine dialogue with stakeholders. Each of these approaches has limitations in providing clarity about undefined social accountability as neither reflects all the key dimensions (identified in Table 1 above) of a boundary setting framework. a weak basis for working relationships and reaction without the benefit of strategy. Both reflect aspects of legitimacy and trust (Table 2). This is because of their diversity. The first determines if one person owes another a duty to prevent certain harms (Fleming 1998). the environment. while triple bottom line reporting is more focussed on alliance building with the community. 3. If a duty exists then specific behaviour is judged against the duty to determine liability. an ability to guide the development of expertise and encourage management action that is disciplined by clear accountability. 27 No. Vague informal expectations of responsible behaviour are often couched as arguments about environmental stewardship and ecologically sustainable development (McKay 2006. Reporting performance against three categories (the triple bottom line) is expected to provide transparency and through public scrutiny provide an impetus for improved performance. Warhurst 2005). Duty of care is a process from the common law. The third form of accountability is different. These are: reference to norms of behaviour within society. or some mixture of these interlocking concepts. political. There are four logical approaches to help a business define its social responsibilities.
from the law and the political rhetoric it is possible to distil twelve distinct meanings for “duty of care” (Table 3).The Boundaries Problem in Duty of Care Duty of care has been promoted to improve clarity about social boundaries of responsibility (Gunningham 2004). 27 No. Australian Farm Institute 2001. 2008 . For example. National Farmers Federation 2004. However. Many debates involve the relative moral value of irrigation versus other values (notably environmental). The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists 2003. 2002b. 2003). Keogh 2002. Duty of care is expected to clarify the responsibilities of access to resources. Industry Commission 1998. Multiple meaning and lack of clarity will make duty of care an awkward tool for defining clear boundaries of responsibility. a trade-off between water 34 Social Alternatives Vol. and apportion costs for public good conservation (Australian Conservation Foundation 2002a. Even if these alternatives could be reconciled and a settled meaning for duty of care developed. House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Heritage 2001. this does not solve the problem that social expectations of irrigation businesses have a moral basis that defies clear definition. 3. This has strong political appeal from various quarters. provide regulatory targets for sustainable agriculture. Watts 2004. Young et al.
will greater transparency be more effective? Social Alternatives Vol. 2008 35 . rather than setting functional boundaries. while virtue represents a desired standard of ethical performance (Bovins 1998). If a ‘duty of care’ model is unlikely to resolve the social licence boundary problem for managers. Active debate and grappling with the uncertainties of evolving social expectations is important to the development of better resource management. Conceiving duty of care as part of a learning cycle is probably more realistic than other interpretations. The intractability of moral issues raises the question about whether a social licence to operate is about formal accountability. Over time it can be expected that social learning will give the term more precise content. 27 No.for the Macquarie Marshes and water for cotton farmers at Narromine is not just about whether the irrigators have done the right thing. or is based on expectations of the virtue of those who own or manage irrigation business. but meanwhile it seems unlikely to reduce uncertainty and address the immediate concern about ill-defined social expectations and act as a cornerstone of a social licence to irrigate. but is likely to disappoint advocates as it fails to deliver certainty. 57). The boundary between these two types of behaviour is not clear in discussions about duty of care and management of natural resources. It is also about the ‘rightness’ of allowing access to water that could otherwise help to maintain the values of the Ramsar wetland. 3. This envisages duty of care as one part of a cycle of learning about sustainable natural resource management (adapted from Woodhill & Roling 1998. An alternative view proposes duty of care as a focus for debate and learning. Accountability is a minimum required level of behaviour.
Muller & Siebenhuner 2007). 27 No. This would lead enterprises to report against specific contributions to welfare of specific networks. its operations. Well-being is described as an overall satisfaction with life (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2004.Will Triple Bottom Line Reporting Prove Responsibility? Reporting should reflect those effects for which the business is prepared to be held accountable and committed to act upon. environmental stakeholders. 149) and is recognised as a valuable concept in developing expectations of performance associated with natural resource management (Lockie et al. rather than more ill-defined generalities about corporate impact. Networks are likely to be the ‘place’ where criticisms of irrigation enterprises acquire political power. and any other considerations that it believes define its boundaries of responsibility (Longstaff 2000. its sense of its ethical obligations. This suggests that boundaries of responsibility may be best refined through a process where irrigation businesses develop networks with their most relevant communities. Without this. triple bottom line reporting is little more than public relations. 3. 2002). Preparedness to act reflects the underlying values. through which they explore their specific contribution to wellbeing (figure 2). or networks of competing water users. circumstances and power relations will be reflected in a tacit agreement about social responsibilities (Lockie et al. socio-cultural norms and perceptions that exist about the organisation. Preparedness to act is likely to arise through awareness of community well-being and through dialogue with the networks which link the business to society. Attention to the welfare concerns of relevant networks makes it more likely that specific issues. 36 Social Alternatives Vol. 2008 . Critical evaluation of the social and environmental performance of irrigation businesses occurs through networks such as local communities. 2002). Networks then are relevant for considering social responsibility and defence of the social licence as they can foster shared norms and support cooperation that leads to changes in wellbeing (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development 2001).
However the adoption of some aspects of managers we conclude this article with a proposal of community expectations into law or management for irrigation businesses to address social licence practice will not eradicate disputes which prejudice concerns. to be publically reflected in probably be more meaningful in terms of the performance reporting. The strategy should be subject fundamental purposes of triple bottom line reporting. and be more concerned with likely irrigation business and selected stakeholder groups opponents to its continued social licence. Defence of the social licence to seems to be necessary.Triple bottom line performance reports from irrigation reporting. Duty of care and triple bottom line reporting can A Proposal to Action Social be beneficial if they can be Accountability advanced to a practically Rather than leave this problem hanging over the heads useful stage. are matters upon which in reporting performance. help managers to deepen their understanding of social These managers will have to re-define the boundaries expectations. It could be argued systems to be used to satisfy that a politically more sophisticated approach to the accountability requirements. the enterprise is prepared and the internal business to act. This is water providers typically classify social licence issues an important practical step because reporting costs under the headings of community service. Political It would seem that a process of deciding ‘which conflict over its best use will be a feature of irrigation. It could also make triple set by the law. population Once these accountabilities have been clarified. Murrumbidgee Irrigation The irrigation business will then be in a position 2006. irrigate is a matter of strategic with improved sensitivity to and economic concern. customers. 27 No. self-definition. Figure 3 suggests three steps to better the social licence to irrigate. may assist Those businesses that are best able to preserve the the business in defining its voluntary social reporting support of the community can be expected to be more strategies. It could be the priorities for reporting Water enterprises are continuously assumed that these reflect and action. 3. increase and continuing changes in attitudes give rise genuine engagement with staff and stakeholders can to new social expectations and fundamental conflicts. to the business arise largely from internal processes staff and governance (Goulburn-Murray Water 2006. the business can examine the appropriate measures for Social Alternatives Vol. Once accountabilities have been identified. State Water 2005. Some and infrastructure provision for its delivery will remain process for marrying self-defined views of responsibility substantially political. to regular management review and remain a foundation The question of what welfare issues (of what networks) for reporting performance. but may be as powerful as the law in bottom line more meaningful. particularly as water allocation processes clarify the boundaries of its social responsibility. rather than external expectations. Justification of the social licence is not necessarily respect that continuously required to succeed. 2008 37 . Managers of irrigation identify social accountability. thus accountability likely to be social accountability is of imposed by others who do more than academic interest. This statement and its review process would form the basis for a formal citizenship While this would inevitably be challenging. the issues which networks’ welfare and metrics to be used engaged in a negotiation with society. We have suggested one possible process for tackling this difficult challenge. businesses must expect that their use of water will remain contested as climate change. for review and feedback. These boundaries will not be the business’ accountability. merely doing so may not serve to competitive. citizenship approach and SunWater 2006). However. defining access to resources. it would strategy for the business. are most relevant to social accountability is one that could be fruitfully researched. networks’ and then ‘what welfare issues’. and assist in refining the boundaries of of their responsibility. Such a statement protection of the social licence would be less focused of external accountabilities and leadership intentions on the interests of networks already aligned to the can be circulated to owners and regulators of the water enterprise. Murray Irrigation Limited 2006. and the internal processes required. Irrigation Sector Strategy and Social Accountability Water will remain a contested resource. Southern Rural Water to publically specify: its 2006.
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changing weather patterns. of course. In framing the Australian response. such scarcities can no longer be ignored without placing at risk basic quality of life issues for future populations. industrial and commercial water-use and demand. as well as residential users’ access to water. the range of industries and commercial enterprises that rely upon infrastructures of water. the relevant harms are trivialised in scope and provide only a thin understanding of both the harm at issue and the underlying conditions which underpin the restrictions. 3. water management infrastructures. 2008 . One common response has been to effect water restrictions. drawing broadly upon the criminological literature (See Halsey 1997a.Criminological Approaches to Residential Water-Restrictions: A ‘Sensitising Perspective’ Rhain Buth In many areas throughout Australia. the associated prospect of climate change and a range of other related issues make for haunting scenarios over dangerously low reservoirs and future water supply (Cullen 2005). future water allocation. 27 No. I will argue that the harms which surface in breaches of residential water-restrictions across Australia are dominated by anthropomorphic concerns and a broader emphasis on ecologic health would be of benefit. shifting demographics underpinning urban planning. Such regulatory frameworks operate to (1) frame the harm at issue in overly anthropomorphic terms as well as (2) concentrate on the instrumental impact of water-restrictions rather than providing a multi-dimensional understanding of those harms associated with breaching residential use. In light of such issues. supply and pricing issues are also relevant. the perceived severity and scope of securing water for residential. the impact on the ecologic health of the wider Australian landscape. water use is of prime concern and its management requires a complex grasp of a number of inter-related features. weather patterns. lowering water-tables. commercial and industrial use is a problem requiring sustained regional solutions. local water authorities are positioned to make informed decisions about the quality and type of restrictions imposed on residential users. particularly here in Australia. White 2003. this article discusses what is gained by viewing aspects of excessive water-use in terms of environmental harm. water infrastructures. Schemes to restrict water-use are only one plank of a larger platform of reforms to address the expanding scope of the water problem. By underemphasising the ecologic and environmental impacts associated with breaches of residential water restriction schemes. population density. Regulating water-use raises issues for federal. state and local governments. Mapping Australian residential water-restriction schemes typically involves a series of decisions by the applicable water authority determining the level 40 Social Alternatives Vol. while remaining a complex governance issue with regional and national waterpriorities at stake. Population explosions. This article explores residential water restrictions in Australia. Lynch and Stretsky 2003. One plank of the NWI is that environmental harm is created by not returning environmental flows to waterways and rivers (NWI 2004). as well as sensitively respond to the handling of current and future residential. This article reflects upon Australian residential water restrictions in a criminological light. The lavish use of water for residential purposes is eroding in the developed world. Consequently. local hydro-geologic conditions. In the main. the effect of water-use on the economy and. Situ and Emmons 2000. with the Coalition of Australian Government’s National Water Initiative (NWI) of 2004 reflecting the broad principles upon which issues of water are to be dealt with. Residential water-restriction schemes are presided over by local government unless otherwise overridden by state governments. A significant re-think on water supply has been one of the main policy initiatives. Beirne and South 2007. Yet with growing urban populations. White 2005). irregular rainfall. These proposed solutions take account of increased internal water demands. the demand for residential water has proportionately increased even with the present and future concerns of water scarcity. These bodies are able to account for the variables of rainfall.
this framing of harm suggests examining the broader ecologic systems that As it is a mainstream criminological concern to are impacted by residential water-use. fines and An eco-centric approach widens the framing of harm in rare instances. perspective presents harm as it directly relates to a set of residential water-restrictions are triggered. context. A of the water restrictions is a bio-centric approach broadens By underemphasising the ecologic $150 fine. comment on the regulation of certain harms. these three perspectives on harm are criminological perspective requires an appreciation of addressed in various pieces of environmental legislation how harm is socially and historically constructed’ (White in Australia in relation to water. schemes are subject to infringement notices. Of course. for instance. section 14 2003. The anthropomorphic the determination of a local level of water-restriction. this article follows the lead of (b) another quality of the environment identified White and Halsey (1998) who assert that three frames and declared to be an environmental value under of reference are useful in understanding varying an environmental protection policy or regulation. For instance.000 (South Australia of water scarcity extend beyond humans and the frame Water 2008). Each perspective provides a register for understanding general outdoor cleaning. Herein. Continuing in the Queensland 2. set forth by the Queensland Water Commission in July 3. duration or frequency) on dimensions of harm and its redress. lack schemes. 3. or a range of normative. South Australia Water with a animals as well as the $315 fine for an initial breach excessive reduction of fish with subsequent breaches by stocks. humans. problems individuals liable for fine up to $5. which are important or public amenity or safety. cultural and technical potential adverse effect (whether temporary or permanent orientations. advocating that risks to ecologic health for a limited period of time.of restriction applicable. which often overlap as providing targets for individual use per day. section 9. focusing on the Brisbane example. (Brisbane City Council 2008). 27 No. as Halsey nuisance’. and includes environmental can also give legal sanction to such harms. where environmental values pertain to: (a) a quality or physical characteristic of the While these and other factors sketch frames for environment that is conducive to ecological health conceptualising the harms at issue. This framing of environmental harm in terms has demonstrated in his work on the clear-felling of old of environmental values is given further specificity in growth forests in Tasmania (Halsey 1997b). Across Australia. an eco-centric approach concentrating on the of 2008 (subject to being lowered to Medium Level viability. Legal provisions may capture certain and of whatever magnitude. or in and of themselves. households in breach of the harm in question extends to encompass other of their geographically circumscribed water-restriction species affected by the breach of water-restrictions. ‘investigating environmental issues from a Interestingly. an anthropomorphic position which transposes the environmental values upon which harms are issues of environmental health as significant to defined. and 1. illegal drug-use and linking unlawful uses of water to a range of penalties. a bio-centric approach which raises the profile. also constitute harms. Assaults. those environmental values are tied to Social Alternatives Vol. articulating that harm associated with breaches of third is $1. the greater susceptibility and vulnerability of particular Brisbane area was subject to High Level Restrictions species and their relative diversity. With and most certainly interrelate. watering gardens. the relevant harms are restrictions are detailed by of protection for endangered trivialised. To compare. These restrictions dictate the use of water for cleaning cars. In this light. severe limitations on their water-use even further. frameworks for understanding of Queensland’s Environmental Protection Act (1994) harms are complex. 484). robberies. other conventional crimes are routinely understood in For instance. 2008 41 . social. domains of harm associated with crimes against the environment: Such broad articulation of environmental harms. the abuse residential water restriction Adelaide’s level 3 waterof companion animals. pieces of legislation. vulnerability and health of a particular Restrictions upon certain dam levels reaching 50%) ecosystem. For instance.050 (Brisbane City can be understood in relation Council 2008). yet such provisions an environmental value. contested and embedded with defines environmental harm as ‘any adverse effect. are given greater specificity in interrelated human concern. a second offence the definition of harm to other and environmental impacts within two years is $450 and a species. to. keeping with the these terms. maintaining pools as well the terms of the harm at issue. a first breach victims and the offenders.
there is much to gain by holding onto and putting forward an anthropomorphic view of these harms. There is an apparent premise that water-use in a residential context. a commendable response to the problems associated with the scarcity of water. by the very emphasis of such a construction. In short. well-intentioned quality attributable to an are proposed or with the introduction of recycled water anthropomorphic understanding of these harms. Ultimately it is for its effect on individuals and communities of this and future generations that regulating such harms is to have its most proximate benefits (May 1995. commercial and agricultural endeavours. In reviewing the residential water-restriction material for Brisbane and Adelaide. where water could be discourses that value water-conscious behaviours used in a more productive or efficient ways. Braithwaite 2000). where residential users place larger society at risk by their behaviours and choices in relation to their water-use. obviously. given legitimacy for drinking yet asserts that other uses are more contestable. 27 No. this article draws upon a criminological to the wider ecosystem. Indeed or desalination plants). this notion of environmental values underpinning and informing environmental harms appears to be less prevalent in relation to residential water-restrictions. cleaning as water. To be clear. However. Why. should be managed for the sustained benefit of human societies. which he terms as ‘mis-uses’. 3. Acknowledging two central mis-uses can be identified (1) excessive that residential water-restrictions are embedded in water use and (2) improper use. including species diversity and eco-system health. it could dimensions of water-use does not provide adequate be asked.measurable water quality indicators for the Logan and Brisbane Rivers. perspective’ (South 1998. However. connections In conclusion. including issues over bioapproach to harms so as to provide a ‘a sensitising diversity and specific harms to a range of species. the background of this discussion. are positioned in In applying this line of thought to residential water-use. White emphasises that water is. In reviewing does not necessarily emphasise the broader ecologic public campaigns aimed at importance of water increasing water-conscious nor necessarily identify Why… are the harms associated with behaviours. as well as how harm is to be understood in a specific environmental context. it appears that the harms constructed in association with water-use are grounded in riskthinking. biotic high-pressure hosing and and ecologic harms would the like. there instances (such as when new dams and reservoirs is a practical. Even emphasising the common-pool range of direct and associated problems. 2008 . issue as critical and so narrowly when in other instances … overly saturating waterenvironmentally symbolic the scope … is so much broader? intensive gardens. One issue of concern in the anthropomorphic framing of the harms associated with breaches of residential water-restrictions is that it oversimplifies our understanding of the harm and limits the scope of sustainable solutions. which seem distant from broader environmental provide a more solid foundation for addressing the concerns. However. Harm materialises (to humans) with acute shortages of supply. in the context of water. the scope for appreciating the it is responsible to acknowledge the harms associated harms is so much broader? with unchecked residential water-use. a dialogue that sidewalks or driveways with emphasises human. 212) on the absence of fauna and the general health of the environment are environmental harms that surface in relation to a 42 Social Alternatives Vol. hence providing greater clarity over what is meant in terms of environmental values. are the harms associated with breaches of linkage to water’s broader role with respect to nonwater-restrictions framed so narrowly when in other human species and ecologic health. decreasing the quality of residential life not to mention the deleterious effects on urban growth. overemphasising the anthropomorphic frame significantly detracts from appreciating the holistic nature of harms at issue as well as the pursuit of integrated and sustainable water solutions. With this view. the negative ecological impacts on local environments. harm reduction measures will not be sustainable if the broader context and ecological impact are withdrawn from the definition of harm. White (2003) also notes this anthropomorphic framing of harm in relation to the uses of water. as well as industrial. By framing harm in anthropomorphic terms we are putting forward. In an breaches of water-restrictions framed daily showers and baths. in many instances. harms are circumscribed by and understood through a lens of prospective risk to human populations and not a lens of greater concern for other species or ecologic health as a value in itself. Hence one would expect such values to be embedded in the material relevant to residential water-restrictions. written out of both the regulatory framework as well as the public discussion over residential water-use. mis-uses of the environmental water would include lengthy harm at issue. whatever its symbolic and ecologic importance. Clearly.
nwc. W h i t e. R . 2000. Attack. the anthropomorphic framing of these harms waters down the prospect for sustained solutions in relation to residential water-use.br isbane. N. in combat. 2005. attack. P. All around the nut tree trunk. ‘A Green Field for Criminology? A Proposal for a Perspective. Furnass. it’s a game.au/nwi/docs/ iga_national_water_initiative. would merit a framework to promote established norms that fully legitimate the range of harms at issue. Portland: Willan Publishing. 2000. Waterhouse Sonoma California Social Alternatives Vol. http://w w w. South Australia Water. and N. or. among branches. His research focuses on the intersection of criminology and sociolegal studies. Halsey. http://www.au/SAWater/ consulted 1 August 2008. ‘Environmental Crime in a Global Context: Exploring the Theoretical and Empirical Complexities. R. ‘Water: The Key to Sustainability in a Dry Land. and D. Halsey.gov. Ecophilosophy and Environmental Harm. Issues in Green Criminology: Confronting Harms Against Environments. B.’ Theoretical Criminology 7(4): 483-506. Cullen. J. Douglas and B. and P. 1998. M. 2007. retreat. Tiny wren. South. P. young squirrel. May. ‘The Meaning of Green: Contrasting Criminological Perspectives.gov.’ Public Administration Review 65(1): 31-44. Situ. hide. Rhain Buth is the Program Coordinator of the Justice and Legal Studies Program and a Lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast.’ British Journal of Criminology 40(2): 222-238. 2005. P. 2005. T h o u s a n d O a k s. Halsey. ‘ E nv i ro n m e n t a l I s s u e s a n d t h e Criminological Imagination.pdf. ‘Regulation and Compliance Motivations: Examining Different Approaches. Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld). 2 0 0 3 . M. consulted 1 May 2008. and M.’ Theoretical Criminology 2(2): 211-233. ‘Crime. 1997a. Melbourne: CSIRO.’ In In Search of Sustainability. Faultline Philip A. Humanity and Other Animals. Emmons. Goldie. White. http://www.qld. National Water Initiative.’ Theoretical Criminology 7(2): 217-238. 2008. Cultivating an eco-centric or even a diversely integrated bio-centric approach could maximise rather than minimise the ability to moderate those harms. Coalition of Australian Government. Level 3 Water Restrictions – FAQ. 1997b. concentrating on the modes. eds. C A : S a g e Publications. or. as a matter of national concern. Brisbane City Council. References Beirne.’ Current Issues in Criminal Justice 8(3): 217–42.’ Current Issues in Criminal Justice 16(3): 271-285. R.’ Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology 30(2): 121–48. ‘The New Regulatory State and the Transformation of Criminology. In short.au/ BCC:BASE::pc=PC_2162. Braithwaite. 2008.com. Y. J. 27 No. 3. Which the aggressor first tough to tell. South. A nest was threatened. The harms associated with the regulation of residential water-use currently concentrate on direct and collective impacts to people. Author Dr. Hemp and Environmental Harm.’ Theoretical Criminology 2(3): 345–71. I am suggesting that residential water-use. 2004. processes and risks associated with legal and non-legal aspects of dispute resolution. Lynch. state of the world. Environmental Crime: The Criminal Justice System’s Role in Protecting t h e E nv i r o n m e n t . ‘The Wood for the Paper: Old-growth Forest. 2008 43 . M. consulted 10 August 2008. Residential Waterrestr ic tions. Stretsky 2003. 1998.sawater. ‘Environmental Crime: Towards an Ecohuman Rights Approach.generalised sketch of residential water-restrictions on offer throughout Australia. White.
practicing greywater reuse in the garden) (Allon and Sofoulis 2006) . infrastructures of provision and of imagining new consumer roles within them. Similarly. 3. arguably. analysing the 1976 drought in England. water recycling. are constructed by industry experts (water managers and regulators) in delimiting the role of providers and of the ‘customer’. and leakage. Chappells and Shove 2001). As part of a wider reconfiguration of urban infrastructures that has occurred since the late 1980s. in a recent study of the prolonged drought in Australia. Morren (1980) identified the culpability of centralised institutions of water supply in producing vulnerability through rendering all areas. For example. Using the recent drought in the south east of England as a case study.g. we explore how. Introduction Drought is becoming a common feature of life in many developed societies and is set to challenge existing infrastructures of provision and consumption. In this article we explore this relationship between alternative urban infrastructures of water provision and the malleability of consumer practice. Allon and Sofoulis (2006) problematise the role of ‘big water’ – a system historically evolved to embody the fantasy of endless supply – in cementing social and cultural norms and values that provide ‘built-in’ obstacles to water saving. using the 2006 drought in the south east of England as a case study. have traditionally rendered all users dependant upon them commensurate with the ‘big water’ vision of endless and universal supply. findings indicate that while people are ‘stuck’ within current socio-technical systems. In the Australian case. Yet. As constant flows of revenue and resources are required to maintain the embedded system. designed to meet expanding industrial and commercial demand in the 19th and 20th centuries. the occurrence of drought can be seen to act as a catalyst for thinking about alternative.From Big Solutions to Small Practices: Bringing Back the Active Consumer Heather Chappells and Will Medd This article examines the tensions between ‘big’ engineering solutions to sustainable water management and the role of the ‘small’ everyday innovations by domestic consumers. In examining the reasons for such resistance we outline the possibilities for a ‘co-productive’ framework for sustainable water management and what this would mean for a reimagining of the active consumer and for policy. and indeed future possibilities. users essentially become locked into particular scales of operation that help to perpetuate certain patterns of demand. rural as well as urban. many can imagine alternatives and are prepared to take some ‘do-it-yourself’ (DIY) measures to save water (e. 2008 . Water provision in England and Wales In England and Wales much of the existing water infrastructure is based on a modern ‘integrated ideal’ (Graham and Marvin 2001). there is growing recognition that managers of natural 44 Social Alternatives Vol. we identify resistance to including the active consumer in the co-provision of alternative futures. This configuration of big pipes and centralised sources arguably creates inertia when it comes to envisaging alternative infrastructural futures built on a more flexible concept of demand (Chappells 2003. Huge reservoir and distribution systems. 27 No. Periods of water stress are not purely a ‘natural’ phenomenon but are a ‘produced scarcity’ in part shaped by incumbent infrastructures of water management (Swyngedouw 2004). different claims. within the context of the privatised water sector in England. dependent on central priorities in distribution. By juxtaposing accounts of everyday consumer practice and coping strategies with industry perspectives on the potentialities of charging schemes. In both these accounts we see a strong narrative of embedded large technical infrastructures delineating the social practices of consumers that are dependant upon them. and potentially more flexible.
resources must shift their focus from production and supply to finding ways of reducing user demand (Allon and Sofoulis 2006). The experience of the 1976 drought Privatisation of the water industry together with the is exemplary of a time when water management elevation of environmental concern has promoted in England and Wales was still dominated by an a new approach to resource planning. the emergence of new regulatory regimes. consumers and the wider environment have contested the notion of water resource management as a problem solely for large-scale supply engineering to address. and the shift from largescale infrastructure investment to risk-based asset management. has diminished consumption. This has included the retreat of state controlled forms of collectivised provision. created what we might think infrastructure options (which has of as ‘infrastructures of consumption’ thinking about alternative. to ‘co-providers’ involved in embedded within the existing infrastructure of supply. developing new forms of utility provision at a local level (van Vliet et al. emergence of more demand-oriented strategies (Guy and Marvin 1996). including the engineering based logic. drought and future demand been associated with the extension of opportunities The eradication of water stress in England and Wales. Disruptions shed light on the networks can no longer be dismissed as universal and extent to which big engineering solutions have begun homogenous grids or ‘as local public goods which can to disappear into more localised markets of water remain the arcane preserve of the civil engineer’. it has been argued that single monopolistic grids have given way to multiple. new regulatory institutions that place an emphasis on the balance between the needs of commercial providers. these changing consumer roles have not led water management strategies has been challenged developed evenly and the extent to which we can talk since the 1990s as concerns have grown over the of more ‘active consumers’ is unclear. This dependency on supply2001). 47-49). The alternative ‘twin-track’ water strategies currently defining water The historical development of Drought can be seen to policy in England and Wales (DEFRA infrastructures of provision has. of the integrated ideal (cf. infrastructures. 102) describe as to trace changing infrastructures both of provision ‘splintering urbanism’ it is suggested that infrastructure and consumption. By examining the drought in south east alongside the emergence of more active consumer England in 2006. in its act as a catalyst for 2002). 27 No. and through building opportunities the development and distribution of new sources of for the engagement of consumers in small-scale low supply to meet changing demand for water provision cost infrastructure solutions (Graham and Marvin (Guy and Marvin 1996). included proposals for desalination (van Vliet et al. by homogenous infrastructure what has been lacking within this policy field is an arrangements – we have seen a shift towards a more understanding of how these new infrastructural differentiated concept of consumer-provider relations configurations challenge the relationship between supply supported by multiple grid arrangements. New reservoir schemes to Social Alternatives Vol. demand side management (featuring standardised relationship between metering. Yet. associated with monopolistic modes of cultural change in practices of water provision and provision and uniformity of services. 3. Graham and Marvin 2001). changing institutional regimes. Such developments have taken place in the context of what Bakker refers to as a new ‘market environmentalism’ where growing demand. Moreover. we can start to unravel the malleability roles – including ‘customers’ who can choose from a of social arrangements of domestic water consumption range of lifestyle options. through as in many other developed societies. Such developments have Big engineering. if not necessarily the collapse. and concept of universality – where the flexible. feature a mixture of new supply wake. provision. environmental and economic pressures have seen the severe undermining. for example. However. In England and Wales. 2008 45 . Within this context. As part of a wider process of Droughts represent significant moments through which what Graham and Marvin (2001. has historically the differentiation of infrastructure services and been viewed as a techno-managerial problem involving charging regimes. From the and potentially more plants and new reservoirs). 2005). user and provider is supported and water efficiency). separate circuits of infrastructure customised to the needs of different users (Graham and Marvin 2001). The ‘captive and demand. shareholders. 2001. including the shift from a state hydraulic model to market environmentalism (Bakker 2003) and new pressure on resources (drought and climate change) have reinvigorated debate about the relative inertia of large technical systems and the need for alternatives at multiple scales. or to be replaced by technologies organised at multiple scales. for example in generating a significant consumer’. economic and environmental costs of unrestricted infrastructure growth. for the management of demand. new charging structures.
These mounting pressures clearly signified the need for a radical rethink in the way in which socio-technical infrastructures for water provision are configured. the much publicised case of Thames The limitations of existing Historical analysis of drought Water’s planning application therefore helps to provide a for a desalination plant. and during the drought the focus was on supply solutions. and squeezing every last drop out of reservoirs (Andrews 1976. BBC News were here beginning to show. which affected mainly north western parts of England and Yorkshire. Technical weaknesses in regional distribution systems (e. how can the configuration of supply solutions was increasingly we use this moment of crisis to understand continuing framed by new imperatives of marketised provision. leakage they had delayed programmes of planned Two successive winters of below average rainfall saw repair work (even if this might be more efficient in terms groundwater supplies reach very low levels in some of productivity and water saving) to prioritise the fixing areas (Environment Agency 2006a). were working more closely together to engage excessive river abstraction and the unsustainable use customers in coordinated water saving. 27 No. This drought showed the contested political ecology of water in England and Wales following the full privatisation of the water sector in 1989 (Bakker 2003). and for infrastructures in meeting the sense of continuity and change. tensions. However. Another move in the direction of largescale solutions was indicated in talk of desalination plants and new reservoirs – for example. eight water companies in the south east of England banned hosepipe use for 15. At one level there was evidence that a big engineering logic was held up in the resurfacing of debates about a national water grid (Griffith 2006). The drought of 1995. In particular. During 2006.g. debates and possibilities involved in thinking Companies had intensified programmes of leakage beyond big water solutions? repair with relation to public perception and maintaining shareholder confidence.6 million people: for The experience of the 2006 drought was not to simply 3. a new reservoir in Oxfordshire needs of market environmentalism We now turn to address what (Mukherjee 2006. These significant constraints on the much publicised regional ‘beat the drought’ campaign.e.g. of visible leaks. Whilst appeals were made to ‘citizens’ to practice water conservation. Other strategies enacted about the configuration of by water companies during contemporary infrastructures the drought suggested that of provision and consumption. including a of groundwater. the margin between supply and demand that defines spare capacity in the system) and of leakage targets that effectively restrained supply. flexibility of supply are coupled with tighter provisions for target headroom and emergency storage. 46 Social Alternatives Vol. There was evidence region where infrastructures and resources are already that water companies and environmental regulators under pressure from new housing developments. and presented a significant opportunity for change in water cultures. While engineers supported large-scale water transfers. debate about greater interconnectivity between water companies on a local or regional grid basis as a means of ensuring the resilience of supply security continue to form an integral part of a new water strategy (DEFRA 2008). including reversing river flows (by pumping water back upstream). and the restrictive costs of new infrastructure development. Morren 1980). Water resource managers Between 2004-2006 the south east of England explained that because of the sensitivity around experienced one of the driest periods since the 1930s. customers reportedly resisted appeals to save water as providers announced substantial profits) (Haughton 1999. the 2006 drought can tell us 2006). 2008 . demand side management (DSM) was not yet regarded an integral part of water planning. Osborn and Marvin 2001). In the course of the drought there were a number of ways in which this challenge was addressed. more stringent environmental legislation on abstractions. leakage and distributional issues) were highlighted and failings in how newly privatised water companies understood their consumers were exposed (e. DSM formed an summer of water restrictions (Environment Agency integral component of drought planning and mitigation 2006b). such that the capacity to meet increased demand in the south east of England is severely limited (Every and Foley 2005). environmental regulators dismissed such plans on the grounds this would be a cost-ineffective and highly energy intensive option (Environment Agency 2006c). 3. The limitations of existing infrastructures in meeting the needs of market environmentalism were here beginning to show – as witnessed in the subsequent redefinition of headroom (i.4 million people this was the second consecutive underline a supply oriented approach. The water shortage accentuated existing strategies – including hosepipe bans and intensified concerns about high per capita consumption in a water saving publicity campaigns.meet anticipated demand were already planned. revealed multiple cracks and fissures in the logic of big infrastructure.
while reusing water from debate on the limitations of greywater and recycling sinks. roof and transferred to a water tank for storage has the potential to reduce the typical water consumption Among water institutions. using ‘dirty’ or ‘grey’ water rather than clean who had the necessary skills relentlessly experimented potable tap water on gardens). Questions of hosepipe restrictions or appeals garden size. had rigged up pipes to detour ‘used’ water from baths.Whilst this indicated a new emphasis on consumer engagement such initiatives suggested a rather limited notion of consumer expertise. or indeed shareholders. in rigging up new systems of storage and concerns over hygiene and safety aspects of water distribution in the backyard) and for a shift in cultural storage. water institutions or other intermediaries (e. 27 No. uncertainty Evidence from households that were affected by the and responsibility. people and there were plans to upgrade existing would be to support such initiatives arose. micro-climate and be made from domestic water to water saving. ranging from rain water suggestions from householders included the subsidised collection through to grey water reuse. Another Chappells 2008). Hurlimann 2007.g. DIY solutions encountered by household dynamics and social Allon and Sofoulis (2006) in capacities. Social Alternatives Vol. Water 2005. our interest lies in examining the implications Managers questioned whether consumers would of decentralised alternatives with relation to everyday provide a reliable source of recycled waters and asked social arrangements within households. 2004).g. Practical water efficient technologies. Those with a keen interest in gardening and values (e. provision of some sort of device or kit to redirect water it has been estimated that rainwater collected on the from the bath for watering the garden.g. rather than a concern argument highlighted the lack of certainty surrounding with understanding public perceptions or technical the operation of recycling at the household level. Limiting innovation in everyday practice Different propensities to engage in rainwater use or Droughts present a significant opportunity for change recycling reflected the social orientations of different in cultures of everyday water householders and supporting Quantitative studies have shown consumption beyond the institutional and technical the significant savings that can immediate responsive mode of arrangements. Whilst there was general support for the domestic water usage by a third (Sim et al. A variety of companies already promote small rainwater collection individual and institutional barriers to the development tanks as part of their DSM activities but during the and uptake of such solutions have been highlighted drought some consumers reported a shortage in supply (Stenkes et al. These innovations imply quite different responsibilities. baths and showers has the potential to reduce alternatives. ideal of some form of water recycling or reuse this was validated with arguments about scale. 2006) but these do not diminish the of the tanks. However. Water resource managers claimed 2006 drought suggests these innovations have a that they already practiced recycling through the history and a future in England and Wales (Medd and recharge of rivers with treated effluent. The small layout were important. as did systems in light of continued uncertainty over water those of whether promoting innovation at this scale resources. Questions collection was already a popular practice for many of how willing the public. Po et al. For example. Some consumers argued that more need to take such solutions seriously especially in the might be done politically and institutionally to generate context of climate change and increased likelihood a momentum around greywater recycling rather than of water stress. however. planning). Rainwater how this might be monitored and managed. Many were prepared to innovate but out in the UK and further afield (Jeffrey & Jefferson people wanted more support from institutions. while less grey water reuse and rainwater collection is supported skilled novice gardeners sought advice from friends by findings of several public perception studies carried and neighbours. Households with small their Australian study provide children often lacked the time evidence of the propensity for consumer innovation or resources to invest in such innovation and raised (e. 2008 47 . sinks and washing machines to the garden. local we came across a number of cases where people government. there was endless of a UK household by 6%. While the use of grey water required a more should actually be a responsibility of commercialised substantial reconfiguration of domestic infrastructure. sensibilities and skill sets (as well as supporting institutions) than do ‘standard’ water efficiency measures. Quantitative studies have shown the leave it to the wiles of individual households some of significant savings that can be made from domestic whom might lack the capacity for change. potentials. The drought also showed that possibilities existed for more radical engagement – along the lines of what van Vliet et al (2005) would consider ‘co-provision’. 2005). as were efficient technologies. 3. The acceptance of with new innovations and techniques.
and/or the definition of new scales of provision. private investors and shareholders). It is instructive and perhaps unsurprising that in the consultation process for a future water strategy for England and Wales. they do not represent a low-risk option or guarantee a short-term profit for water companies.Social alternatives such as water systems partly based on the engagement of consumers in forms of DIY recycling clearly present a particular challenge for contemporary water institutions in developed societies. is it plausible to create a context in which a new more environmentally forgiving water culture – based on sensibilities and capacities of the consumer – might be forged? Such questions should continue to frame dialogue about social alternatives in water provision and consumption if concerns over the social and environmental sustainability and equity are to continue to be addressed alongside engineering and economic concerns. Even so this movement is limited. which may be effective in their own right. Sofoulis. Chappells.stm. are on somewhat separate tracks. 3. van Vliet et al. Directing the flow: Priorities for future 48 Social Alternatives Vol. Southerton. eds. Strang 2004). 2005). Chappells. 2003.g. Chappells and B. At a policy level this might translate into the need to reframe a ‘twin-track’ rhetoric which currently implies that supply and demand management. but to the local support networks in place for small providers and their relation to the embedded infrastructures of provision. The question of what then might be done to overcome this inertia is difficult to answer. while co-existent. ‘Reservoir biggest in 25 years. 2008 .g. Innovations which require a shift in the values of consumers. Oxford University Press. The production of social alternatives does not only require technical or financial support. infrastructure reconfiguration means not only attending to the need for new reservoirs or desalination. Clearly there is a need at a conceptual level to think in terms of co-provision rather than separation of supply and demand (cf. consumers become activated but only within certain accepted parameters delimited by existing supply arrangements. 2003. Lancaster University.D.bbc. but as a service or convenience. References Allon. Equally. An alternative of co-provision Experience of the 2006 drought in south east England is suggestive of a much more inclusive role for consumers within the big water system (e. crises and the orchestration of demand. it requires a shift in how the consumer-infrastructure nexus is envisaged. 27 No. as partners in drought mitigation). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. Is it considered acceptable to hold up and reinforce the integrated ideal through the expansionist calls for a national water grid or does this run the risk of creating ever more demanding standards of provision that are increasingly difficult to fulfil? Is the challenge to maximise the pliability of the existing infrastructure through ‘rescaling’ at multiple levels in line with the demands of a new commercial and environmental context? Or. Lancaster. it requires recognising the expertise of the consumer and giving equal priority to the sensibilities and conceptions of water held by consumers who may view water not only as a commodity. published 14 September. 2006. C. Department of Sociology.uk/1/hi/england/5343646. tariff structures and planning – strategies which arguably maintain the status quo of provider-consumer engagement – while the role of dual water supply and storage failed to generate agreement (DEFRA 2007. and E. PhD Thesis.’ Australian Geographer 37(1):45-55. ‘Everyday Water: cultures in transition. URL: http:// news. ‘We Didn’t Wait for the Rain. This inevitably raises questions about how far consumers become active participants in newly reconfigured infrastructures or whether they simply reproduce already embedded arrangements. nor do they completely align with the futures envisaged in a market environmentalist framework (e. 1976. F. Bak ker. H. The answer most likely lies somewhere between these two extremes. Shove 2003.’ BBC News Online. 3). Sofoulis 2006. van Vliet. An Uncooperative Commodit y : Privatizing water in England and Wales. 2006. K . Ultimately the relevance of this discussion depends on what sort of water futures are being imagined and committed to by key stakeholders. H. Andrews. These do not fit the ‘big water’ model. Shove. Much of the renewed interest in DSM is restricted to the promotion of simple water efficiency devices. consensus was reached on the significant role of metering. ‘Infrastructures. and Z.co. For example. 2002. Reconceptualising electricity and water: institutions. DEFRA. BBC News. continue to be restrained while supply development continues to generate consensus and support. H.’ London: National Water Council. Oxford. 2001. infrastructures and the construction of demand. This raises an altogether more challenging prospect of building future water strategies based on an understanding of the dynamics of everyday water cultures rather than on the technoeconomics of supply (cf. but are hardly challenging of an embedded water culture that maintains a reliance on centralised water supply for every use.’ In Sustainable Co n s u m p t i o n : Th e I m p l i c at i o n s o f C h a n gi n g Infrastructures of Provision. D.
Cleanliness and Convenience: The social organization of normality. Future Water: The Government’s water strategy for England.D. Leeds. ‘Can water network curb shortages? BBC News. P. London: Department for Environment. ‘Managing Water Stress: The Logic of Demand Side Infrastructure Planning. and B.. URL:<http://www.’ BBC News. H. Sofoulis. Chappells. Authors Will Medd (Bsc. S. L. and J. 2006.uk/1/ hi/uk/5255218. Infrastructures of Consumption: Environmental I nnovation in the U tilit y I ndustr ies. ‘Private Profits. ‘Risk and Governance in Water Recycling: Public Acceptance Revisited. 2005. Jeffrey. ‘The Options for UK Domestic Water Reduction: A Review. 2008 49 . ‘Public receptivity regarding in-house water recycling: results from a UK survey. DEFRA. S. Moss. Waite and N. G.. 2001. Nancarrow. N.uk/environment/ water/strategy/pdf/adaption-summary. London: Routledge. Z. Lancaster University.K. H.’ The Environmentalist 27(1): 83-94. Sim. April. E. Mar vin. S. 2001. eds. Shove E. Kaercher and B. DEFRA Water Strategy – Water and adaptation roundtable discussions: summary Report. Mukherjee.php Morren. Oxford: Berg. Technological Mobilities and the Urban Condition. and H.ac. and S.water policy. Comfort. London: Earthscan. W. Parsons. Chappells and E. Technology and Human Values 31(2): 107-134. J. Social Alternatives Vol. Van Vliet. ‘Is recycled water use risky? An urban Australian community ’s perspective. Environment Agency.stm> Guy. 2005. Environment Agency. Recent projects have focused on social and cultural dimensions of sustainable consumption in the UK energy and water sectors. 2006. Marvin and T. Splintering Urbanism: Networked Infrastructures. and S. http://www. his research focuses on developing the social dimensions to sustainable water management. Food and Rural Affairs. Heather Chappells is Honorary Research Fellow in Geography at the Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC). 9 August. Food and Rural Affairs. 2003. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hurlimann. Food and Rural Affairs. Foley. Probyn. 2008. 2004. Every. 2008. Drought and Demand in 2006: Consumers. S. Lancaster University. ‘Restabilising a Heterogeneous Network: the Yorkshire Drought 1995-1996. G.DEFRA. T.lec.bbc. McDonald. Marvin. 2005. Oxford: Berg. S. 23 May. Shoemaker. Environment Agency. Graham. Public Drought: The Creation of a Crisis in Water Management for West Yorkshire. Social Power and the Urbanization of Water: Flows of Power.’ CSIRO Land and Water Australian Water Conser vation and Reuse Research Programme. Her research is concerned with the changing socio-technical dynamics of infrastructure management. in particular working on demand management and flooding. 2007.pdf> DEFRA. S. 1980. Medd.lancs. 27 No. Haughton. 2006b. Rees.’ In Urban Infrastructure in Transition: Networks. E. Strang. ‘Testing the water on desalination. 2006. Guy. Shove. eds. 3. S. ‘Literature review of factors influencing public perceptions of water reuse. 2004. PhD) is a Lecturer in Human Geography at Lancaster Environment School. Water companies and Regulators. Stenekes.J. 2006a. ‘The Rural Ecology of the British Drought of 1975-1976. Bristol: Environment Agency. London: Institute for Public Policy Research. URL: < http://news. Drought Prospects 2006 – Spring update. A. London: Department for Environment. URL: <http://news.gov. 2004. 2005. ‘Changing Water Cultures.’ Water Science and Technology 3: 109-116. 1998.’ Working paper 05/03. Jefferson.’ Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 39(1):123-128. Canberra: The Australian Academy of the Humanities. H.bbc. Managing Water Resources and Flood Risk in the South East.’ In Creating Value: The Humanities and their Publics. Final Report to ESRC/UKWIR ‘Drought and Demand 2006’ project. 2007..’ Science. Originaly trained as a sociologist. Po. Plans. Swyngedouw. M.co.E.’ Human Ecology 8(1):33-63. P.co. The Meaning of Water. London: Depar tment for Environment. 2006. Griffith. Bristol: Environment Agency. J.’ Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 23(4):419-433.uk/1/ hi/uk/5009540. Buildings. Muecke and A. A. Colebatch. B. Ashbolt.uk/ cswm/Drought_Demand. 2006c. London: Earthscan. School of Geography. Early Drought Prospects 2007. Do We Need Large-Scale Water Transfers for South East England? Bristol: Environment Agency. 2006. E. University of Leeds.stm> Osborn. and S.. V. P. Marvin.
2008 . and migrants. and develop more effective urban water conservation programs? Our imagined audience therefore indirectly includes the natural resource managers and others with whom readers of this Social Alternatives may be planning or conducting water research. technologies and water authorities. 3. and we suggested initiatives involving community and neighbourhood groups. and existing domestic technologies set the baseline of water consumption. Allon & Sofoulis 2006. motivations for and barriers to water-saving. University of Western Sydney. Van Vliet. In a recent project investigating the discourses and practices of urban water demand management. Methods included a review of reports and policy documents. clubs. As the project reports remain confidential. we conducted a team project at the Centre for Cultural Research. interviews with relevant Sydney Water personnel. and draw instead on starting points. and the ‘Water Diary’. water saving could also be achieved through strategies of cultural innovation. Introduction Social and cultural researchers in partnerships with water authorities or others with scientific and engineering backgrounds can rarely luxuriate in comprehensive descriptions and elaborated theories to convey our views as we might inter alia. We hope these distillations of basic concepts and principles will help others explain their own starting points and project ideas to research partners. the user-provider relationship.From Pushing Atoms to Growing Networks: Cultural Innovation and Co-Evolution in Urban Water Conservation ZoëSofoulisandCarolynWilliams Conventional approaches to urban water conservation programs are limited by their conceptions of the water consumer as an autonomous individual: a social ‘atom. and not terribly interested in the nuances of our analyses and critiques. we cannot present detailed findings here. neighbours. Yet far from encouraging changes in habitual uses. they were somewhat impatient with accounts of cultural complexity. 27 No. this article’s concerns are limited and tactical: how can social and cultural perspectives be articulated to help water authorities better understand users. We promote instead a ‘cultural innovation’ approach to urban water conservation that understands water users as members of cultures and sociotechnical networks. whose habits and expectations of water use are embedded in ‘co-evolving’ (Shove 2003) relations with water technologies and large-scale water systems. mainstream demand management initiatives usually aim to preserve them via efficiency solutions. Chappells and Shove (2005. principles and reflections. We outline some strategic principles for changing water cultures.1 The project Demand Management through Cultural Innovation: User Models undertook a comparative study of water authorities’ and householders’ perspectives on domestic water. We proposed that in addition to technological innovations. a householder questionnaire on water fittings and practices. that is. with a focus on ‘meso-level’ groups and networks (friends.g. changes in cultural norms about what kinds of water is used for what purposes. of cleanliness). and new relationships to water authorities and infrastructures. etc. We aimed to stimulate more diverse future water demand management initiatives than ‘one-sizefits-all’ technological solutions for ‘average’ households. shifts in habits and expectations around water services. Allon 2006). Everyday Water (Sofoulis 2005. Their concerns were practical: what kinds of implementable water-savings strategies arose from these insights? Similarly.’ These approaches typically ignore how cultural norms (e. a guided series of reflective journal exercises and worksheets adapted from an earlier project. ‘Big Water’ infrastructures. Over an eighteen-month period commencing late 2005. initiated through the process of ‘growing networks of water-savers’. the authors learned that while water managers sought a better understanding of water users. Ideas often need to be packaged into digestible points and straightforward principles that people from very different disciplinary backgrounds can grasp and apply. The goal is a redistribution of roles and responsibilities in the relationships between water users. in partnership with Sydney Water Corporation. 16) state the problem in a discussion of an energy-efficient light bulb campaign: 50 Social Alternatives Vol. young people.).
2005. 2005). and the repeated finding that standard socio-demographic variables have complex. 51) suggests that water histories may greywater or altering norms of privacy and hygiene by be more salient to practice than current socio-economic negotiating new etiquettes of less frequent toilet flushing. If water uses are part of constantly evolving cultural and sociotechnical contexts. creative effort to adapt and from Everyday Water that ‘almost adopt new shared values. and whether and how they might change. and discursive conventions. explanations and projections about what a user is. Unless we make it obvious. geographical and cultural contexts. predictors—of water Cultural studies of consumption and everyday life. contemporary expectations are naturalized and normalized: they figure as nonnegotiable requirements that simply have to be met. categories. equivocal and generally weak correlations with water consumption (Eardley et al. a public health beneficiary. This point. 3. 60). obvious to those familiar with the social constructionist thesis and discourse theory. and interact with particular cultural and technological formations. then the water industry’s distinction between ‘discretionary’ uses (like garden watering) and ‘non-discretionary’ uses (like laundering and toilet flushing) becomes nonsensical. Po et al. industry partners with scientific and technical backgrounds may not realise that our approaches negate. mostly large-scale market research surveys based in behavioural psychology and social demographics. Garden aesthetics. is not an easy one to get across to engineers and chemists who mostly do not even admit to having a model of users. and material infrastructures. status. including ‘infrastructures of consumption’ or ‘structures of provisioning’ that deliver essential resources and services (Chappells 2005. People with similar housing and socio-economic status can have widely variant consumption levels (Eardley Our suggested ‘meso-level’ The term ‘cultural innovation’ 2005. when for example whether in rural Australia or overseas’ (Allon and people respond to water restrictions by recycling Sofoulis 2006. what their capacities and responsibilities are. the predominant user model was the individual customer. criteria. political. Our study of corporate perspectives showed that while older models persisted of the water user as a responsible (or punishable) citizen. while households of strategies could work through is meant to suggest that similar ‘average’ consumption abandoning current norms ethnic community groups. 2008 …the focus is on the efficiency with which services are provided. it-yourself ] recycling had some Some cultural changes can memorable prior experience of be inaugurated by voluntary efforts to compensate for living where water was supplied and used differently. 4-5. or a taxpaying elector to whom the corporation and government were ultimately accountable. and water-based Social Alternatives Vol. In a related longer paper. Appendix 1). A Cultural Approach A cultural approach recognises that people’s water practices are situated in particular historical. Ajzen 1985) that have been deployed in studies aiming to identify the attitudinal and sociodemographic drivers—and ideally. As in so many other situations. 5860). 27 No. pursuits. question or invert almost every assumption and categorical dichotomy on which their models of water use and users are founded. Van Vleit. This model had been built up through more than a decade of customer studies. 51 . with results reported in terms of population averages. questions about changing conventions and standards of lighting simply do not arise. and sociotechnical perspectives (including actor-network theory) inform our model of users as active participants in cultures and social networks that include nonhumans. A finding in locality. Water behaviour can be neither understood nor changed without regard to these contexts. wasteful and inefficient water systems. 2005. was developed in resistance to tendencies to translate our ideas into terms from behavioural psychology and market research (see also Sofoulis 2006). We defined user models as sets of assumptions. are shaped by social. but is a collective 2006. we critically examine the models of individuals. expect perhaps the putative ‘average customer’. cleanliness norms. and different user models opened up different models for intervention and change. or in shared hobbies. Table 1. Trumbo et al. Chappells and Shove 2005).g.behaviour (e. but may use water quite differently does not mean going from each other (Medd and Shove we emphasise networks based backwards. agency and practice entailed in behavioural approaches like the theories of Reasoned Action and of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen and Fishbein 1977. economic. who or what they are connected to. and interests. which draws on the humanities’ critiques of Enlightenment notions of the individual. Demand management strategies were constrained or enabled by the models of water users informing them. technologies. As a result. Problems include their failures to deliver the promised behavioural predictiveness. everyone attempting DIY [dopractices and technologies.
52 Social Alternatives Vol. Simply undertaking a water diary can prompt changes in practice: even self-identified ‘responsible’ users reported finding more ways to save water. 2008 . People do not need to think like engineers in order to save water. changed or abandoned. 27 No. they have dimensions unaffected by technical information and rational argument. and higher interest in water-saving devices. greater motivation to do so. historical and technical contingencies that have become conventional and obligatory. To the extent that our water habits are imbued with symbolic.toilets are each products of cultural. 3. personal. but can still be renegotiated. cultural and even spiritual meanings.
political and other interest groups. but we emphasise networks based in locality. the attitudes/behaviour gap cultural histories is important. low-priced. sociotechnical perspective. high quality. the ‘recycler’ (Hawkins 2006. In complex societies. 2005. On the other hand. or showering in ‘values’ will have little effect on can facilitate change. technologies and water. a house connected to a gigantic savings unless accompanied water system. Harrison et al. behavioural factors and the technical aspects of water 107-8): saving. In her analysis of kerbside recycling. and all are mediated through ‘meta-norms’ of the dominant Australian Anglo-Celtic Changing water conservation ‘values’ will have little culture. and interests. Such social identities. and hybrid. In all these contexts groups of people redefinition of ‘socialisation’: both humans and nonlearn. the scope of day-to-day lifestyles are restricted to an average perspective through strategic Despite a myriad of cultural differences in the diverse consumption decisions such as selecting where populations of Australian cities. establish. a sociotechnical model understands groups. Laet and Mol 2000). which include historical expectations of effect on savings unless accompanied by practical abundant. negotiate. they belong to cultural. partial. all-purpose urban changes in water techniques. 6. the elements) with which everyday identity and social belonging. This redefinition of society necessitates a communities. professional humans. reinforce and renegotiate humans are ‘socialised’ by and in the network of actors. water consumption patterns are linked to cultural plants. [I]t is wrong to assume that agency comes A Sociotechnical Perspective before actions. For this we need a sociotechnical perspective. while initiatives targeting Loewe and Lichtl note: specific sub-groups can never capture evolving hybridities. societies are heterogenous People may participate in a multiplicity of social assemblages (or networks) of humans and nonnetworks: they have gender. see such identities and affinities are not necessarily stable also Michael 2000. Gay Hawkins finds that gathering up newspapers. that the thinking self makes We agree with Latour’s critiques of sociology for the body change its habits. whether Changing water conservation populations—where we believe drawing water from a village cultural innovation approaches well and pump. 2004). The pump. people live in houses to live. cultural norms and identities—including around water. than practical interactions with water between individuals and and technologies. technologies and water in different cultural socialise water as well as users systems. on the same water supplies and systems. multiple. This cultural approach challenges the conventional rinsing bottles. 91).Entangled in collective ways of life and shared values. but cultural innovation represents the difference between conservation may also require building new kinds of identities aspirations and infrastructural constraints. sporting. pursuits. 2008 53 . Our suggested ‘mesoWhereas psychological approaches assume attitudes level’ strategies could work through ethnic community produce behaviour. Socialisation around water is less about learning These are the ‘meso-‘ levels of social organisation—in abstract ‘values’. ethnic. […] Despite all the having overlooked how human societies could not exist Social Alternatives Vol. Ch. those groups overlap (as elegantly demonstrated by de and interact in complex ways. The complexity means that ‘one size fits all’ systems. where technologies may have agency and and generational affiliations. without the myriad of non-human entities (technologies. depend in ENRC 2005. and face a common future. the Whilst there are specific by practical changes in water shower and the municipal meanings and practices around infrastructure are devices that techniques. national. redistributed between humans and non-humans (Latour and participate in local. but does practices of managing waste that help create a new not disturb the conventional dichotomy between the identity. 2 and Ch. As European sustainability researchers solutions can never fit ‘all’. how to live. produce effects. From a and can be dynamic. the ‘water wisdom’ of Concrete consumption patterns in day-to-day life migrants acutely aware of wasteful Australian water do not fully reflect the preferences of individuals ‘meta-norms’ adds to the store of cultural resources for or private households … the options open within evolving new hybrid cultures of water sustainability. 3. human lives are entangled (Latour 1993. ‘watersavers’). global and virtual 1992). animals. and powers and capacities can be religious. groups may include culturally diverse memberships. 27 No. and the fittings provided (cited with similar basic plumbing and appliances. groups. how changes in practice can generate new values and or in shared hobbies. and crushing cartons are ethical emphasis on individual water consumers. (‘recyclers’. Acknowledging people’s unique From this perspective.
washing machines). Contrasting with quantitative understandings of water consumption (litres per capita per day). technologies and large-scale systems interact with each other and change as a result: they co-evolve. it sketches interactions through which key ‘actors’ in a sociotechnical network can mutually shape each other in a co-evolutionary process. economic and political arrangements. 4). repairers. Modern municipal water systems were initially developed to meet social goals for better public health and the creation of clean modern citizens. In reality. We find the diagram in Figure 1 a helpful User cultures. 27 No. Shove 2003. objects. users are shaped or defined in their interactions with large systems like water authorities and infrastructures. Household fittings thus embody a certain relationship to complex assemblages of materials and people (pipes. In Dimension 3 (user cultures/systems). Adapted from Elizabeth Shove’s illuminating study Comfort. managers. flushing toilets. Objects include technologies and materials (the ‘non-humans’) that have built-in functions and efficiencies (or inefficiencies). A sociotechnical perspective suggests multidimensional strategies that foster changes in the norms and routines of water use. In interactions between user cultures and objects (Dimension 1). microbiologists. plus engineers. my argument is that it was through changes in bodily actions and habits of waste management that the recycler was constituted (115). expectations. such resources are used in the process of accomplishing normal social practices and achieving taken-for-granted standards—for example. technicians. That is: … people do not consume energy or water. aesthetic and symbolic qualities that help shape user habits and expectations. 4-5). Chappells and Shove 2005. hot water. and shifts in relationships between them. Demand consequently depends upon how these all-important services are defined and delivered and on patterns of resource consumption thereby entailed (van Vliet . and systems. of comfort or cleanliness. as well as material. and that can in turn bring about alterations in these systems. etc. and standards of living that establish baseline levels of resource consumption Large-scale systems include the technocracies and infrastructures supplying resources and services according to conventional social. Cleanliness and Convenience (2003. Shove and her associates2 understand consumption as an ‘inconspicuous’ consequence of accomplishing everyday routines to meet social norms (Shove and Warde 2001. User cultures are the habits. treatment plants. flushing toilets and private showers co-evolved with the urban infrastructures delivering water and sewage services. but to achieve clean clothes and maintain the personal cleanliness and odourlessness deemed necessary for selfpresentation as a socially acceptable person. while nineteenth century sanitation projects ‘became a matter of prestige and national pride in Western starting point for communicating about these ideas across the disciplinary divide. 3. Two-way arrows indicate these mutually shaping interactions between user cultures. 48). the consumption habits of water users both influence and are influenced by interactions with water and the everyday water technologies that mediate those interactions (taps. 2008 . access points. shared ways of life. innovations in technologies and infrastructures. 54 Social Alternatives Vol.representations of recycling as a new waste policy smoothly transmitted to the population. For example. Interactions in Dimension 2 (systems/objects) allow technologies to emerge that fit in with larger-scale systems and arrangements. rituals. pumps.). The washing machine is not used in order to consume up to 90 litres of water.
Growing networks entails recruiting people to adopt new water practices and encouraging desire and ‘investment’ in becoming a watersaver. drawing on expert as well as peer knowledge. If water uses are established through culture then cultural processes are needed to Network-Building and Co-Evolution build new consumption cultures with new practices and Water restrictions are a crisis response that encourages related identities (e. and with water service providers and other relevant organisations. as the sewerage in a small group. Changes Conversations and shared activities can help people in water use norms can affect connect new and old norms and If water uses are established the system. 2008 55 . microclimate. as well as building relations with appropriate water technologies. the welfare of future generations. but requires changes in the whole individual ‘change agents. making it easier for people like this to take further steps to change. demand. For example. private individuals (‘atoms’) but intermediate or ‘meso-’ long term change cannot rely on individual ‘behaviour’ level networks in society—often catalysed by energetic and efficient retrofits. For example. or programs and activities within and between existing community organisations and interest groups. it blames users as wholly responsible for consumption. regard to limits of acceptability to ‘customers’. but also the ‘black-boxed’ infrastructures of consumption.g. techniques. managers and suppliers of water to meet demand.’ co-evolutionary network. This could be ‘tweaked’ into a ‘meso-level’ program by seeking participants from the whole street for a ‘streetscape assessment exercise’ to learn about their locality’s soil types. Since those norms ‘cohave found. Large systems are influenced Shifts in norms (and meta-norms) can be effected by interactions with the expectations and practices without everyone participating. ‘Meso-level’ organisations could Social Alternatives Vol. 86). and water are no longer being met. may not abandon their practices. Some elderly or traditional people. A promising way to accelerate change in water cultures is to build or extend networks of ‘watersavers’. Popular histories cultures with new practices system’s own demands for of water systems and norms.cities’ (Kaika 2005. less allow the meanings of pre-existing through culture then cultural frequent flushing produces more knowledge and practice to be concentrated sewage that can transformed. A cultural approach recognises that new knowledges and practices do not necessarily supersede established norms: old and new can co-exist in dynamic and sometimes contesting relations. 27 No. users’ expectations of ‘slipping back’ to established As numerous social movements around the world norms after bans are lifted. Change is easier if of users. When we see that our neighbours don’t water the grass and gardens we don’t water the garden that often either. This might involve new networks. water restrictions and other the new information ‘makes sense’ within established demand management options may be planned with frameworks of reference and prior self-understandings. 3. This could form the basis for a model of ‘co-responsibility’ for water shared across all actors in the network: not just heroic technologies or guilty consumers. trialled during our research. and conservation of water are distributed in reality—an appraisal social researchers can provide. Water diaries could processes are needed to cause problems of odour and help here—especially if undertaken build new consumption pipe corrosion. A co-evolutionary model of change requires a more honest appraisal of how responsibilities for the supply. creative media are other potentially and related identities … effective channels for renegotiating Cultural Innovation cultural norms. one User Models diarist with a migrant background wrote: Water industry discourse portrays utilities as mere Might look out of place if take a lot of emphasis on this issue to other people. and recommended plantings and watering systems. as water savers and recyclers). the most effective ‘units of change’ are not evolved’ in contexts that encouraged high consumption. Targeting meso-level groups—including the street or neighbourhood—can allow group norms to be renegotiated according to new values (such as sustainability). even if people’s In response to questions about reluctance and intentions are favourable. responsibility around water-saving. and delegates to technologies the actual work of watersaving. or those who use water as a status symbol. For example. and knowledge. and individuals’ desires to effectively contribute to change for sustainability. Sydney Water’s Landscape Assessment Program. offered selected high-water using households soil testing and watering advice. The construction of new conservation cultures and identities can be motivated by shared concerns about environmental degradation and climate change. They might think I’m fanatical about it. Change is inhibited if all these elements are not in place or in accord.
not abstractions like the ‘value of water’. eds. and Sydney Water Corporation for their funding and in-kind contributions. customer-centred approaches.php. Kuhl and J. and N. Consulted August 2008. 37(1): 151179. and A.sagepub.uk/ cswm/dwcworkshop3. Patterned Ground: Entanglements of Nature and Culture. Pipes and Flows: From Big Water to Everyday Water. Nature and the City. Kaika. B. that explored by Shove (2003) and Shove. the College of Arts. On-line at http://sss. Lanham. eds. Ajzen. ‘Expanding Economic Perspectives for Sustainability in Urban Water and Sanitation’ Development (Water for People issue). Conclusion A combination of cultural and sociotechnical understandings points to urban water demand management initiatives quite different from top-down. 1985.ac. F. com/cgi/content/abstract/30/2/225. Some new networks may become stable and durable. H. These typically value stakeholder involvement. London: Routledge. with research assistance from Justine Humphry and Jude Twaddell and management support from Dr Peter Wejbora. Plants. including an outline of Buddhist economics principles that resonates with our perspective (Abeysuriya. 27 No. Our perspective is closely aligned with. Allon. and others in the Traces of Water project (a workshop series documented at http://www. and M. City of Flows: Modernity. infrastructures and the construction of water demand. Mol.’ Reconstruction 6(3). Sofoulis. facilitated. M. 51(1): 23-29. 2005. If networks failed to win recruits.uk/cswm/Traces. ENRC [Environment and Natural Resources Committee]. 1977.ac.lec. and the Research Office at University of Western Sydney. Hawkins. F. and indebted to. Allon.org/063/contents. On-line at http://www. Pile. Consulted August 2008. Catherine Porter. public health and community development projects (including some rural and remote Australian communities). 56 Social Alternatives Vol. Medd and Chappells 2008). Fishbein. M. Parolin. Latour. and K.lec. the emphasis should shift to growing and mobilising networks (e.’ Psychological Bulletin 88:888-918. Imposed solutions that do not fit local knowledge and practical needs will lead to disaffection and suspicion rather than network-building. Mitchell and Willetts. MA: Harvard University Press. Medd. G. References Abeysuriya.g.’ In Action-control: From cognition to behavior.lancs. Thrift. Once the desired changes have become normative. K. 1993. Network building benefits from leadership. and Marnie Campbell and Dr Penny Rossiter. expertise and resourcing by water authorities or conservation bodies. MD: Rowman & Littlefield. and exerting co-evolutionary pressure for further changes in technologies and infrastructures.lancs. working with community organisations. 2000. ‘From intentions to actions: A theory of planned behavior. C. J. 2006. Within a more general strategy to accelerate change for sustainability. shtml . T. Medd and Shove 2006. they are better abandoned for other approaches. S.’ Australian Geographer. the longevity of water-saving networks is less important than their temporary role in re-setting consumption norms. The Social and Spatial Correlates of Water Use in the Sydney Region. Eardley. ‘Dams. the networks are no longer required. 2005. Chappells and Shove 2005. We Have Never Been Modern. and if community activities build on local and practical knowledge. 2005.be readily resourced and mobilised for further networkbuilding activities that build up personal and community capacities for co-responsible water-saving.. of ‘watersavers’) in order to produce shifts in cultural norms and everyday practices while building community capacity for water coresponsibility. The Ethics of Waste: How We Relate to Rubbish. Willetts. ‘Everyday Water: Cultures in Transition.php) and related research (for example. as well as direct involvement of water users in planning and implementing locally relevant watersaving initiatives. Mitchell and J. Ajzen. University of Western Sydney and Water Futures Research Alliance. 1991. London: Reaktion Press. Norris. Inquiry into Sustainable Communities.. I.eserver. and education strategies emphasising local and practical knowledge. Heidelberg: Springer. de Laet. 2008. Social Studies of Science 2000. ‘Institutions. user participation and capacity building. 2008 . 3. Recruitment will be easier if innovations begun from below are acknowledged. and more akin to the ‘bottom up’ approaches practiced in many overseas aid. 2006. and Z. 30. van Vliet. S. 2004. Online at http://reconstruction.’ Traces of Water Workshop 3. 225. We are calling for such approaches to be adapted to facilitate cultural innovations in urban Australian consumption cultures: instead of ‘pushing atoms’ and trying to get individuals to change. 2008). 2005. Parliament of Victoria. B. I.. others will fall apart after a time. Several contributions to the recent ‘Water for People’ issue of Development refer to such approaches. ‘The Zimbabwe Bush Pump: Mechanics of a Fluid Technology’. Endnotes) 1. Consulted August 2008. and rewarded. 2. Cambridge. We thank the Centre for Cultural Research. Chappells. Beckman. ‘Attitude-behaviour relations: a theoretical analysis and review of empirical research. Trans. The research team comprised the authors. Harrison. 2006.
E .lancs. Sofoulis.’ Continuum: Journal of Media and Culture. University of Western Sydney. Drought and Demand in 2006 Final Report.. They become the targets. MD: Rowman and Littlefield. Muecke and A. and H. S h o v e . Wa r d e . W. Second Generation Effectively. London: Routledge. With background interests in the intersections of culture. Leviston. R. changing work structures and vocational education. Porter. and processes of changing these relationships. Kaercher. Literature Review on Future Research Opportunities within the Water Futures Research Alliance. Infrastructures of Consumption. S ofoulis. E. London: Earthscan. Trumbo. bury everything beyond salvage. Bijker and J. Shove.Latour . ‘Where are the missing masses? The Sociology of a Few Mundane Artifacts. you stop being a migrant when the next group arrive. Z. a n d A . Online at http://www. and G. Van Vliet. P. eds W. B. 18:573-585. 2005. and E. 2 0 0 1 . Lanham.’ In Shaping Technology/Building Society. and the environment. M. 19(4): 445-463. ‘Changing Water Cultures.’ I n Humanities and Their Publics. Authors Dr Zoë Sofoulis (a. H.Riley. 2005. ‘Big Water. M.A. But when are you Australian? When the forgotten first language and the memories sewn into it are places in a trunk and sent overseas? The doors to the detention centre are flung open. and Z. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory. Zoë Sofia) is an independent researcher associated with the Centre for Cultural Research at the University of Western Sydney. 2003. O’Keefe. Oxford and New York: Berg. gender and irrationality. and recent projects in applied humanities partnerships. The Sociology of Water Use. 2005. What Drives Decisions to Accept or Reject? Perth.’ Society and Natural Resources. Z. Carolyn Williams is senior research associate in the School of Education. Buttel. B. Reconnecting Culture. Medd. F. Po. 2000. Chappells. Cleanliness and Convenience: The Social Organization of Normality. they wear your old clothes. walk deserted streets. 2004. University of Lancaster. eds. M. 2008 57 . The new migrants are here to dismantle oceans. E. et al.uk/cswm/Drought/ Drought%20and%20Demand%20Final%20 Repor t%20April%202008. Canberra: Australian Academy of Humanities.ac.lec.: CSIRO Land and Water (Water for a Healthy Country National Research Flagship. Shove. Mass. 27 No.a. Syme and J. 3. G. ‘ I n c o n s p i c u o u s consumption: the sociology of consumption. B. Dunlap. 2008. B. Cambridge. eat food that was once your favourite. contemporary Insights. technology. Dickens and A. Go. 36th Australian Academy of Humanities Symposium. ‘Intention to Conserve Water: Environmental Values. University of Western Sydney. Carolyn has researched and published in a number of areas including postgraduate pedagogy and research methodology. January 2004. Z. 2006. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Michael.k. Medd. Technology and Nature. Latour. Nancarrow. W. 2006. her current preoccupation is with how our cultural norms and identities are formed in relation with urban and domestic infrastructures.. and Information Effects Across Time. Gijswijt. Sofoulis. She also worked with Zoe Sofoulis on the Demand Management through Cultural Innovation: User Models project. 2005. George Toseski Condell Park NSW Social Alternatives Vol. S. London: UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) Limited. Shoesmith. Probyn. 2005. eds E.: MIT. splice religions.pdf . Consulted June 2008. Ever yday Water : A Sociotechnical Perspective. Predicting Community Behaviour in Relation to Wastewater Reuse. Comfort. build cities along dead rivers. Chappells and E. Reasoned Action. S.. ’ In Sociological Theory and the Environment: Classical Foundations. W.) Shove. Varua. Law. lifestyles. N. C. and student participation and engagement in secondary school curriculum. 1992.
the article suggests ways in which systems and schools could provide more effective support for refugee students in mainstream schools. in Australian society. but that this will require more support from governments and systems in the form of appropriate policies and strategies. This situation has posed new challenges ‘on the ground’ for education systems and teachers. Refugees from this region have been described as having welfare and educational needs never before encountered in previous humanitarian flows to Australia. 2005. reflecting their experiences and circumstances prior to arriving in Australia. The first phase of the project investigated policy and provision relating to refugee education. 13). 27 No. 13). They further highlighted the crucial role that schools could play in facilitating ‘the transition from refugees to participating citizens’ (2005. 7). These challenges will require new responses from governments. but also consider the longer term participation of refugee young people in their new society’ (2005. It is argued that schools could play a crucial role in supporting transitions to belonging and citizenship for refugee young people. and the provision of adequate resources. The second phase of the research focused on how the complex educational needs of refugee young people were being addressed in state high schools in Brisbane. and there is evidence that teachers often feel ill equipped and under resourced to meet the complex needs of the increased numbers of new arrivals (Cassity and Gow 2005. in general ‘the schooling system was not working well for many recently arrived African young people’ (Cassity and Gow 2005. as it becomes clear that the needs of this refugee cohort are quite different from previous immigration waves in Australia (Australian Council of TESOL Associations 2006. Introduction In the last decade or so there has been a dramatic rise in the numbers of refugees and humanitarian entrants arriving in Australia from various countries in Africa. lower levels of education and English proficiency. Some of these pre-migration experiences include higher levels of poverty. That new initiatives would be required to enable systems to respond to these greater settlement needs has also been noted: Education providers recognise there are unique challenges in providing the African refugee population with the skills they require to function successfully. lower levels of literacy in their own languages. little experience of urban environments. Problems with current policies and provision in refugee education experienced by teachers and community workers are outlined. 3. and higher rates of torture and trauma (DIMA 2006. VFST 2007). longer periods spent in refugee camps. and argued for ‘integrated approaches to settlement which focus not only on transition to schools. larger families. higher incidence of health issues. despite a few ‘success stories’. Cassity and Gow raised some important issues about the role of schooling in the settlement of refugee young people. 13). This article reports on two phases of a larger research project which investigated refugee education in Queensland.General Articles Schooling and the Settlement of Refugee Young People in Queensland: ‘…The challenges are massive’. 2008 . The article draws on interviews conducted with teachers and community workers working in schools with significant numbers of refugee young people. Miller et al. 7). Research on the experiences of newly arrived African young people in three schools in western Sydney found that. The first phase of the project investigated policy and provision relating to refugee education in Australia. and to their capacity. The second phase of the research focused on how the complex educational needs of refugee 58 Social Alternatives Vol. Sandra Taylor This article reports on two phases of a larger research project on refugee education in Queensland. A discussion paper produced in late 2006 by an interdepartmental government committee on measures to improve settlement outcomes observed: The African caseload generally has greater settlement needs than people from previous source regions. Drawing on insights from recent UK research.
2008 59 . together with a number of challenges to multiculturalism (Jayasuriya 2007). guidelines. Commonwealth and state governments were using partnerships with community organisations to address the issues. Poynting and Mason 2007). resulting in reduced education funding. The move away from multiculturalism was reflected in the name change from Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) to Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) which was made by the Howard government early in 2007. and a general marginalisation of concerns about equity and social justice in education. together with the lack of a specific policy focus on refugee education. and legislation – rather than on resources and professional development materials . and where they were located within government departments. 27 No. committing to Australian values and participating in mainstream activities. it appears that the education of refugee youth in Australia is being ‘left to chance’ (Sidhu and Taylor 2007). In general. The final section of the paper discusses possibilities for change which might assist systems and schools to more effectively support refugees in their transition to citizenship as advocated by Cassity and Gow (2005). The website data: where were the refugees? We found that refugee students were rarely targeted specifically on the government web sites. DIMA’s Settlement Branch also introduced partnerships in the area of settlement services. reduced commitment to humanitarian aid and resettlement of refugees. The next section of the article reports on the first phase of the research and provides a brief overview of current policy and provision in the area of refugee education in Australia. In addition. 3) In order to review policies relating to refugee education in Australia. The third section discusses recent UK research which has identified successful system and school approaches with refugee students. state and also some local government sources. and which. and the interdepartmental government committee on Humanitarian Settlement stated that: … the most critical factors in successful settlement are learning English. are not the same as those of other ESL students. and which has remained unchanged under the new Rudd Labor government. In the second section of the article attention turns to what is happening ‘on the ground’ in schools in Brisbane with significant numbers of refugee students. in Queensland. such as migrant students and international students. education policies have been influenced by neoliberal global policy trends. There has been a general climate of fear in relation to asylum seekers and refugees in Australia (Gale 2004. with whom they were being located by government departments. partnerships between schools and community organisations developed to assist schools with significant numbers of refugee students as part of the Education and Training Reforms for the Future (ETRF) (Department of Premier and Cabinet. ‘students at risk’). Relevant policy and provision in Australia Three trends in the broader social context have intensified the recent difficulties in resettlement of refugees in Australia mentioned in the introduction. provide some useful insights relevant to the Australian context. (DIMA 2006. Websites were searched under ‘refugee education’ – and allied key words such as ‘multicultural’. They were most often located with ESL students. In addition to relevant policies and guidelines. They were also encouraged to form consortia so that DIMA could deal with larger providers. getting a job.young people were being addressed in state high schools in Brisbane. Social Alternatives Vol. In the absence of specific policies or strategies in most Australian states. and rarely situated within an equity/ social justice framework. The needs of refugee students. with a tendering process in which community organisations involved in refugee support were required to compete for funds. who often have no previous school experience. we were interested in how issues concerning refugee students were ‘framed’. This was particularly the case in relation to funding for the ESL New Arrival Program (administered by the Department of Education. Science and Training) where the relevant web site displayed lists of over 100 different visa categories (DEST 2006). In the website materials there was an emphasis on policy statements. are likely contributors to this situation. the language used. For example. 2002) program. ‘migrant’ and ‘ESL’ (English as a Second Language). The shift away from equity and social justice as a priority in education in Australia. multiculturalism. They were either ‘invisible’ or conflated with other categories (such as ESL or migrant students. 3. it is suggested. settlement policies aim to integrate refugees into mainstream society as soon as possible.and there was an emphasis on visa categories and who was eligible for support. Programs and funding to support the education of refugee students came from multiple and fragmented sources: from the Commonwealth. data was collected in 2005 from publicly available web based material from Commonwealth and state/ territory government web sites relating to refugee education.
After this period they transfer to a ‘mainstream’ high school. Previously successful partnerships were being undermined in the competitive environment. These organisations did not have the necessary experience or expertise in refugee support. most of their work was with students from the African region. at their suggestion.A similar situation has been documented in relation to policy and provision for refugee young people in the UK (Arnot and Pinson 2005). these researchers highlighted the complexity of the needs of asylum seeker and refugee children. approximately one hour in duration. guidance officers and liaison workers in four state high schools identified as having significant numbers of refugee students. In attempting to clarify the nature of this complexity. social and emotional. resources were inadequate to meet the complex needs of the growing numbers of refugee students in the schools in terms of teachers. and were audio recorded and later transcribed. concerning transport problems. At the time of the interviews. Often. Consistent with Australian reports and research. Eleven community sector workers from four key community organisations involved in working with refugees in schools were interviewed. mental health problems or childcare for teenage mothers. In some organisations and schools. 27 No. The community sector interviews revealed that the new competitive funding model for settlement services introduced by DIMA was problematic for the community organisations working in schools. and on any relevant programs and initiatives with which they were involved. we were told that they were able to employ specialist staff to work on writing submissions. 2008 . and the community sector workers commented on the time involved in participating in the tendering process. We were particularly interested in how the partnerships were ‘playing out’ on the ground. Community Organisation B). refugee young people attend an intensive ESL Centre for a period of 6-12 months. together with seven policy officers in State and Commonwealth government departments involved in funding and managing the school-community partnerships. and the primary schools which are located in the suburbs where the new arrivals settle. Community organisations were involved in after-school homework. We also conducted a series of in-depth interviews with ESL teachers. rather than being addressed through specific policies (Arnot and Pinson 2005). In addition. 60 Social Alternatives Vol. for example. were mainly located within existing educational frameworks (eg language. any relevant programs that had been initiated at the school level. They also commented that the increased complexity of tendering seemed to be giving larger organisations competitive advantage. The interview data provided examples of the many ways that community organisations were working in schools to support refugee students.) Our focus was on school policies and programs concerning refugee students. 3. but their corporate management strategies were attractive to DIMA in the climate of concern about risk management and accountabilities. two or more people were interviewed together. What is currently happening ‘on the ground’ in schools? In 2006. Fictitious names have been used in the following extracts. and the support which needs to be provided to meet those needs. their work was related to settlement issues rather than directly with educational issues. Both series of interviews were semi-structured. together with emotional problems. We started off at Bunyip School. This was reflected in both sets of interviews: We have had incredible demand for us to be present in schools. principals/ deputy principals. The focus of the interviews was on their work with refugee students in schools (either directly or indirectly). This seems to be a useful basis for discussing the role of schools in the broader settlement process and the importance of recognising the multiple needs of refugee young people. mainly from Sudan. and what were the issues schools were facing in supporting refugee students. We have not been able to keep up with that demand (Coordinator. English and recreational programs. Fourteen in-depth interviews were conducted in these four schools. financial assistance for textbooks. This study also found that most attention was given to ESL issues. The interviews:’ the challenges are massive …’ In general. support staff and professional development. a series of in-depth interviews exploring the school-community partnerships supporting refugee young people in schools were conducted. Arnot and Pinson (2005) identify their needs as being in three main areas: educational. or ‘at risk’ policies). A survey of Local Education Authority (LEA) and school policies and practices found that the needs of asylum seeker and refugee children. The focus was on how schools were supporting refugee young people. (On arrival. rather than on pedagogical and classroom issues. The survey also found that few LEAs saw a race equality framework as necessary to support the education of refugee children. and strategies to address those needs. Then we moved into the major high schools that receive from Bunyip. at the expense of other learning needs. Community workers were also involved in one to one case management work with individual young people.
We have very few students who give up and leave school. School A). and often the ESL teachers themselves and/or the community organisations were filling this need.. They have to take in that language and understand that language. They don’t give up – they never give up. Social Alternatives Vol. …We’re fortunate at this school that we have got a lot of support systems. When you consider that a lot of content is dealt with by language.both for the ESL units and also to provide support for mainstream teachers. in terms of how to support these young people. and the social programs provided by the school aimed to meet the range of needs (learning.an overwhelming impact. School A). there was a tendency for teachers to emphasise the problems faced by the refugee students themselves in the interviews. The role has never been to provide them with education that they have missed from Grades 1 to 10. …Usually one will expect that conceptually these young people will be proficient with that – and that is not part of our role. with support from the ESL unit. This deputy principal spoke about how the school had made changes to respond to the increasing diversity of the school community: I think at the root of everything if I look at my teaching staff here in school – given the high needs of the children – and yes. as an ESL unit. And they are anxious to get into the mainstream. You can see there are various agencies that come into the school on a regular basis. 3. almost all of them individually. but it is extremely challenging for them. They have a lot of strategies. School staff also reported that more ESL teachers and support staff were needed . For every child that comes to the school. I create a timetable so that they can slot straight away into the mainstream. so challenging (ESL teacher. its been hard going from the years of an academic school to have the diverse curriculum we have now and the diverse population and the diverse needs but I take my hat to all of them. sometimes they have a long journey. Because [of the large numbers of ] refugees.The school interviews revealed that ESL teachers were ‘bearing the brunt’ of the insufficient funding to support the growing number of refugee students. Teachers felt that they needed more professional development. social and emotional). Because they use dictionaries all the time to look things up and they are needy in the classroom and they are trying to use the teacher as much as they can. it is having a major impact on the ESL unit . plus their conceptual. I mean being a refugee means by definition they’re at risk. I don’t ever like to use the word impossible – but it is so. They work so hard and they work really well together. and strengths … They come to school every day. They value education very much (ESL teacher. This school’s approach is inclusive. We have a support team of about ten – a student support team. They spoke of the importance of their work with parents and families to improve home-school communication. School C). One of my roles is to coordinate that and we meet three‑weekly as a team (Guidance Officer. as identified by Arnot and Pinson (2005): Obviously there are social issues. and how to support each young person with their language development. our designated role is to help young people to acquire language and to become proficient in it. And how to deal with those. Because. in contrast to an attitude of ‘othering’ and marginalisation which is often experienced by ethnic minority students. They will be here till year 12. As well as these problems and challenges faced by the teachers. There are health issues and there are cultural issues.. … That is not part of our pedagogical skills because an ESL teacher in a secondary context is not expected to know that. in some schools teachers mentioned refugee students’ strengths – in particular their motivation and resilience – as well as their problems: The thing with working with refugee youth is that they are resilient and strong. I might say. 27 No. Likewise. They work really hard. Their conversational language is usually at a higher level than their written language (Deputy Principal. and which they felt ill equipped to provide. These schools were attempting to provide a holistic and inclusive approach. It takes them longer to do their work. survivors. One school with previous experience with students from diverse backgrounds aimed to integrate students into mainstream classes as soon as possible. However. educational development. ESL teachers are not teachers of reading. School C). the challenges are massive. which we built up over years that deal with those particular issues. 2008 61 .. So. plus their literacy development. The following extract highlights the difficulties ESL teachers were having in providing holistic support for refugee students’ needs: needs which were beyond their normal role of English language support.
The resources are not there at the moment to make that happen (Coordinator. Insufficient resources were mentioned as a major problem. Arnot and Pinson (2005) identified the different approaches to policy and provision in refugee education being taken by LEAs and schools. However. So we’re still trying to counter the fact that a lot of the parents do not see us as a viable proposition because of the large ESL numbers. 3. they travel to come here.The general teacher here does not work in isolation in the classroom. Rutter 2001. the researchers found that the good practice schools had ‘an ethos of inclusion and the celebration of diversity’ and ‘a caring ethos and the giving of hope’ (51). and further explored the values underlying these models. part 5). We had two OP 1s last year … (Principal. we have teams of teachers who work together. This was a particular issue for schools which previously had an academic reputation: They come because the train station is that close. refugee students were understood as having multiple needs. Other characteristics identified were having previous 62 Social Alternatives Vol. they plan together. Given that the ESL teachers were ‘bearing the brunt’ of the increased numbers of refugee students. and teachers respond positively to the needs of diverse student communities (Department of Education and the Arts 2005). 27 No. It’s true to some degree.where schools are supportive of all students. My teachers would not know what to do being in isolation. School D). this school had experienced problems in implementing this approach because of the high level of needs in the ESL unit. all three case study LEAs provided a targeted system of support for refugee students (see Arnot and Pinson 2005. Further. Community Organisation B). and provided detailed case studies of three LEAs which adopted holistic models as providing examples of ‘good practice’. Community sector workers provided support for the social and emotional needs of the refugees. instead of just singling out refugee kids. they identified a holistic model as one which recognises the complexity of needs of asylum seeker and refugee children (ie their learning. they have common ways of approaching individual issues … We know that we have support services in the school and we use them as best we can (Deputy Principal. and working with other agencies (Arnot and Pinson 2005. could systems and schools improve their support for refugee students? Successful system and school approaches Some recent publications from the UK (DfES 2004. This impacted on the time available for ESL teachers and support staff to work with mainstream classes. Other teachers raised the effects of the large proportion of refugee students on OP outcomes in the educational market context. with less attention being given to other learning needs. This interviewee highlighted the importance of an inclusive approach . Reakes and Powell 2004) provide some useful insights about how support for refugee young people in schools could be improved. How. A community sector worker commented on the importance of adopting an inclusive approach with refugee students: There is a perception that the African case load has had a huge impact on all services. communicate together. social and emotional needs). Most attention was given to language support. 2008 . … It’s really about how we make this a normal process of understanding diversity and understanding complexity. and there was a lack of much needed professional development in relation to the needs of refugees. As mentioned earlier. However. The UK survey of Local Education Authority and school policies and practices in the education of asylum seeker and refugee children referred to earlier (Arnot and Pinson 2005) is particularly useful. it is not surprising that there was an emphasis on language support. but that doesn’t reflect our clientele. community links. These problems ‘on the ground’ in Brisbane schools were in part a result of the inadequacies in policy and provision documented earlier: inadequacies which led to the comment that the education of refugee students was being ‘left to chance’. the teachers we interviewed were struggling to cope with the increased numbers and demands of refugee students. In these three case studies. It’s also about our capacity to be flexible and responsible with this case load. and a support system was set up to meet all aspects of these needs. then. In grade 8 & 9. So. So it’s posing quite a challenge actually because we’re becoming almost specialist in a field and we’re trying to balance mainstream – because this is essentially a white middle class richy area. 48) In terms of school ethos. and to social and emotional needs. Other strengths of the UK good practice case studies were parental involvement. which resulted in shortages in ESL and general teaching staff. School A). she also mentioned that inadequate resources limited the implementation of an inclusive approach. But we’re countering that. Clearly.
and a recent Victorian report on refugee education (VFST 2007. It is relevant to this discussion that Brisbane Catholic Education has developed a specific Strategy for Refugee Students as part of its current ESL Strategic Plan (BCE 2005). If schools are to play a key role in the refugee settlement process. 3. an ESL New Arrival Officer works with refugee families on arrival and an ESL Secondary Cluster Teacher assists refugee students with the transition from primary to high school. and there are no specific policies or strategies concerning refugee education in Queensland. 2008 63 . and professional development for schools and teachers has also been inadequate. In their 2005 paper on the transition experiences of African young people in Sydney high schools. school level support. both at the policy level and also in Brisbane high schools. Clearly governments have a major responsibility in making the education of refugee young people a policy priority.experience with culturally diverse students. family support and support from the local community. 5) recommended that the Victorian Department of Education ‘develop a coherent refugee education strategy that draws together responses to meet the learning. there are insufficient resources to cope with the increased numbers of students with complex problems. and outlines strategies for system level support. Social Alternatives Vol. positive and welcoming attitudes to refugee students would appear to be essential. For example. This plan highlights the need for a strategic approach to the enrolment and support of refugee learners and their families in Brisbane Catholic Education schools. Unfortunately. As mentioned earlier. Concluding comments Our research has documented a number of problems in refugee education. 13) commented: ‘The challenge is to facilitate the transition from refugees into participating citizens. and promoting positive images of asylum seeker and refugee students. schools are still unable to play this key role in facilitating transitions to belonging and citizenship as well as they might because of inadequate funding and resources. Both the Arnot and Pinson (2005) study and a Welsh study (Reakes and Powell 2004) found that LEAs and schools were generally positive about receiving asylum-seeker children. the shift away from equity and social justice as a central priority in education in Queensland over recent years is likely to have contributed to this situation. Cassity and Gow (2005. and schools have a key role to play’. In addition. welfare and family support needs of refugee students’. 27 No. Refugee education does not appear to have been a priority for governments.
gov. 3.htm>. Arnot. E. ‘List of Visa Subclasses for validation of ESL-NA Claims’. Sandra Taylor. Consulted 11 October 2005. this will help them to make the transition to belonging in the broader community. Reakes and Powell (2004) also found that having a multicultural school population helped schools integrate asylum seeker and refugee students. 2005-2008. one informed by social justice principles. Thanks to all those who participated in the study and shared their insights with us. Queensland. The Arnot and Pinson (2005) research also showed the importance of a targeted policy and whole school approach to refugee education. Ravinder Sidhu. Cambridge. Science and Training 2006. and ideally will be facilitated and supported by education authorities. 2005-2007. Department for Education and Skills 2004.’ Paper presented at the Australian Association of Educational Research. 2007). and G. the examples of good practice LEAs and schools in the UK discussed in the previous section suggest ways in which schools could provide more effective support for refugee students in mainstream schools. such school based change requires leadership. And if refugee students are able to participate within the school community. However. a comprehensive guide to good practice in supporting the education of asylum seeking and refugee children was published by the government for UK schools (DfES 2005). Parlo Singh. 2005. References Australian Council of TESOL Associations.pdf>. unpublished document. 64) comment on the value for everyone of a positive approach to education of asylum-seekers and refugees: The celebration of cultural diversity in a diverse globalised world and the moral values of caring and inclusivity are values which are at the heart of education. Policies and Practices. Sydney. Robert Hattam. Training and the Ar ts. should be a central element in all children’s learning. school and LEA policy towards asylum-seeker and refugee pupils could be used to assess the broader issue of school and LEA approaches to cultural diversity.au/studentservices/learning/ docs/inclusedstatement2005. In other words. Although the New South Wales government produced the booklet Assisting Refugee Students at School (NSW Department of Education and Training 2003). For example. URL: <http://www.dest. Acknowledgements The research project. UK: Faculty of Education. while in Victoria Schools in for Refugees (2007) was published by the Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture. Inclusive Education Statement.gov. My thanks to colleagues on the team. ‘Schooling. Annual Conference. In a situation where the school population is diverse. Aiming High: Guidance on Supporting the Education of Asylum Seeking and Refugee Children. refugee students are more likely to feel welcome and at home.qld. Depar tment of Education. globalisation and refugees in Queensland’ was funded by the Australian Research Council. Project team: Julie Matthews. Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs 2006. The Education of AsylumSeeker and Refugee Children. the complexity of needs seemed to be more effectively met through a diversity framing. URL: <http://education. and H. in Queensland a number of very useful publications for schools have been published by QPASTT (2001. 2006. Department of Education. Cassity.However. Pinson 2005. Gow 2005. and the staff are experienced in teaching in such contexts. in this case asylum-seeker and refugee children. in addressing the educational needs of refugee students. A study of LEA and School Values. in particular to Ravinder Sidhu. ATESOL Newsletter 32 (2): 7-22. Consulted 6 March 2008. This article draws on our collaborative work and has benefited from many informal discussions about refugee issues. It is clear that schools need to take an inclusive approach. In this context the asylum-seeker and refugee child is a litmus test of the ethos of schools. University of Cambridge.au/sectors/ school_education/programmes_funding/programme_ categories/special_needs_disadvantage/english_ as_second_language_new_arrivals_programme/ esl_new_arrivals_visa. In other words. some of the most useful material for teachers and schools has been published by community organisations. Arnot and Pinson (2005. Brisbane Catholic Education. Measures to Improve Settlement Outcomes for 64 Social Alternatives Vol. For example. An ACTA overview of the issues around the settlement and provision of service for new arrivals from Africa. A positive approach towards strangers. 2008 . 2005. ‘Shifting space and cultural place: the transition experiences of African young people in west Sydney schools. Nottingham: DfES Publications. and a more positive approach was promoted by previous contact with diversity. Pam Christie. ESL Strategic Planning. 27 No. M. Finally. It is significant that the Arnot and Pinson (2005) study found that schools with previous experience of an ethnically diverse school population were better able to meet the needs of refugee students.
She is interested in social justice and education.gov. and at the University of the Sunshine Coast. School’s In for Refugees. 2001. Sidhu.au/living-in-australia/deliveringassistance/Discussion_paper. She has published widely in the fields of gender and education. J. ‘Integration in a diverse plural society.org.au/publications. 2007. The Education of Asylum- seekers in Wales: Implications for LEAs and Schools. 40(4): 321-340. and S. and in policy processes and social change. P. Students from Refugee and Displaced Backgrounds – a Handbook for Schools. Queensland the Smart State. Journal of Sociology. Taylor 2007.Humanitarian Entrants. 27 No.edu. Whole school guide to refugee readiness. Mason 2007. 20(2): 19-33. ‘Educational provision for refugee youth in Australia: left to chance?’ Journal of Sociology 43(3): 283-300. 43(1): 61-86. 2001.au Social Alternatives Vol. QLD: QPASTT (updated 2007) Reakes. 2007. Supporting Refugee Children in 21st century Britain: a compendium of essential information. J.: Foundation House. Slough: NFER.Muslim racism in the UK and Australia’. Poynting. and critical policy analysis. Brown 2005. Brisbane: Queensland Government. URL: <http://www. Prospect. ‘African refugees with interrupted schooling in the high school mainstream: dilemmas for teachers’. L. and J. Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books. Rutter. and R. Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma. Gale. 2004. Powell 2004. Brunswick.immi. ‘ The refugee crisis and fear: populist politics and media discourse.pdf>. firstname.lastname@example.org. anti. and V. Vic. Mitchell. URL: <http://www. Fairfield. Discussion Paper. Miller. Author Sandra Taylor is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Queensland University of Technology. R. A. 2008 65 .’ Nexus (Newsletter of the Australian Sociological Association). Email contact: s. 2007.’ Journal of Sociology. Melbourne: VFST. 2002. Education and Training Reforms for the Future. S. Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture. Consulted October 2006 Department of Premier and Cabinet. ‘The resistible rise of Islamophobia. J. Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture. The Education Needs of Young Refugees in Victoria.php> Consulted September 2007.. Jayasuriya. 19(1): 6-9.
They were a more attractive foursome than the family in the photograph. the dishwasher packed and on. partner to Gair. The others in the Guild were already there in battledress. Leldoran13 showing off his new Howling Sword. They leaned in at the kitchen bench. It was a snake crawling along the carpet toward the wardrobe instead of its usual weeknight manifestation as a hangman’s noose. For the studio they’d been all trussed-up and proper.” she told her mother. 3.Short Story Power Levelling Jane Downing She’d made them the small.” As a Feral Druid she had the Experience but Gair was close behind as back-up. The silence was eerie. Saliva drooled from the snarled lips of the bear as it presented itself. Then she was Xenedra. A swoop of movement to the west swung Xenedra around. hand already busy on the mouse. For eternity Myf looked bedraggled and Andrea’s smile was tight-lipped with guilt. they were mussed-up and lived-in. identical pose. proud owner of a crimson dragon whelpling which flapped along behind her matching crimson cloak. but this was Friday night and they were not yet middle-aged. Xenedra dashed in with a healing potion. and left Andrea to it. across the bench. totally off and gone. John was propped on the pillow beside her. There was no time for niceties. They were assured it would emerge to do battle once they were within Aggro Radius. A last story lying on Tarquin’s bed as Myf played on the carpet beside them. The parties ignored each other for now. to store in the fridge. the roundness of their limbs on other nights. John picked his laptop up from the coffee table where it’d breathed silently throughout dinner. the dinner leftovers. Andrea served John seconds. Andrea had only moments to log-in on her own laptop before the time set for the meeting. “I’ll go ahead.” John called down the hallway from their bedroom. “Glad you got here. the Guild’s Protection Paladin led the way onto a snow-blanketed mountain in Dun Morogh. Gair sent a message that appeared on the screen beside his armoured avatar. the Dwarf Vixen. legs extended. Short and sweet. “I’ll check the Forums before tonight. maneuvering individuals onto the rim ready for take-off. It: the school lunch boxes to empty. Last week they’d completed a Dungeon Quest and with the topped up Experience had set their sights on a Raid deep into Azeroth. There was an Elite Monster in a cave. Andrea turned in the bed. Lushspice. Myf had looked so pretty five minutes before but her curls had escaped their toggles so Andrea had dragged them back with a wet brush. the usual form of chat. Tarquin had aligned his features to match and looked po-faced. the washing on. realtime.” he said. Every hair on the four fair heads in place. He glanced up and sent the briefest of winks to end the message. sent some chat down the line. They had talked about the creeping of the years. 66 Social Alternatives Vol. moving into the Raid. baths for the kids too. 27 No. Myf called them butterflies. Vixen head-butted his iron helmet into the monster’s jaws and fell back stunned. Andrea shed the night and walked into the glade in the brightest morning sunshine. “I have butterflies in my tummy. “Hurry. The bolognaise sauce dripped off like insectoid blood and guts. The roar drove the Raiding party back into a protective circle. Now. like a joint sarcophagi of a married couple from Ancient Egypt. inappropriately dressed for battle in little else than a corset and a swathe of cloth. and happy. Leldoran13.” it read. relaxed because it was Friday. Only an Orc Horde on their slavering Wolfmounts. 2008 . Tarquin was moving his around his bowl. ready on the doorknob to hang around his neck the next day. Even John had his tie off. framed and mounted on the wall like a trophy of success. what there were. Another chapter of “The Hobbit” finished. A ringing of swords sang out in opposition to the roar but too quickly the bear was on the smallest of them. twisted pasta.
2008 67 . but the hum of prayers came out.“Mum? Mummy?” A small hand moved Andrea’s hand off her wireless mouse. “We don’t want to drop you from the Guild.” he offered. not after the first day. He went back to sleep. The words typed up in front of her in a square of her vision — she often dreamed like this too — even as they sped out of her mouth. “You could join a new Guild with nubes or something. Where could there be any harm? They’d simply pay someone to play her avatar.” he said. Balance indeed. “Come on. Sometimes he found himself as a troll.” The insult was like a slap. “It makes you think. These agencies understood that people like Andrea had money. Like. 27 No. Budi joined him for a kretek during the first break one day. seeming happy. She was stronger as Xenedra. It’s why I fell in love with you.” he was saying. perfectly. There was nothing real in this computer world no matter how it felt after twelve hours at the terminal with only two short breaks. and female. killing and death. We want you up at our level again. one player verses another. ******** Santoso’s friend from school’s cousin said there might be a job going so he walked across town to Jalan Lima. Then we’ll be fine. Her arguments were burning too loudly inside her head. that any of this was for the fifty young men employed on a basic daily rate. For us. “There’s this agency Lushspice was telling us about on the Forum. They needed five players to have a chance against the bear. The likeness ended quickly. When was there time with work and family. Once Santoso had logged-on he was ready for battle. and quick. uncomplicated battle. She had a lot of gold and could afford a dragon whelpling.” The accusation was true. He knew he was lucky. John was not. Andrea didn’t bite back her retort this time. a road given a number not a name — the fifth road into the estate – because it was built for making money not making a community. gain the Experience.” Power levelling. There was a gasp at the drop in temperature every morning. Afraid his words would stir the goblin in the room next door. The heat and humidity buggered the computers. He never went in. though he knew his brother was right. He was a peripheral to the hard drive. And. had been there longer. We don’t want to eject you. “Anjing hitam. gargantuan and green. It’ll only be $50 or so to get you up the levels. “Yes. Sometimes he was human. You haven’t been putting in the time to get up there lately. no more. “We can get help. “You equate me to a nube? Someone whose just started and knows nothing? I’ll remind you I was in Azeroth before you. “There’s a goblin under my bed. He didn’t kid himself.” Andrea wasn’t listening. we don’t need outside help. It could get lonely in this world. get her up to level 60. Tarquin’s frightened face peered into hers. He’d flag the avatar by toggling the option in the player menu and head into hours of PvP play. Not many kids from his kampong got to work in airconditioned comfort. It’d take less than a week. It was better than factory work which was better than no work.” he’d cursed him under his breath. The things she’d never say. Santoso’s comfort was a mere side-effect to sound business management. then his eyes took a moment to adjust to the haze of shadow and electric glow in the warehouse. And left a silence for Social Alternatives Vol. “But the rest of us are at level 70 already. But this was work and he was lucky. No-one seemed to think it was cheating. maybe even the whole way to 70. There was a worksheet to pick up at the door where they left their thongs in a mangled hill of rubber. and the beast strangely made good company.” Tarquin was whispering. but were poor in the commodity of time.” He was stroking her cheek. his form of apology. Santoso never mentioned details like this after his brother had laughed at him about the thrill of riding a horse-mount. Without her the Raid had gone badly. She blinked to adjust her gaze. chasing shadows and reminding Tarquin about the boundaries between reality and fantasy. Xenedra was already at a high level when he picked up her worksheet. they were in another time zone entirely so Xenedra could battle the Horde and rise while Andrea slept. which was disconcerting the first time. 3. we just need you to help with the kids. He was older. Then he walked the same route six days a week. and of foreplay. clean.” John lent across the snow-white bedspread. We can afford it. sometimes a night elf with a high hat like Rama in the Wayang Theatre. There was a hum to the place that reminded Santoso of the temple run by the Buddhist monks near his home. This was simply about getting the power levels up. valuable assets. Mainly in the arenas — quick. The agencies were legit. Andrea was gone some time. could defend her avatar if not herself. Killing raised the points steadily.
Imagine having enough for this — to be able to pay us to play a game for them. Earned merely by the chance of birth and the ongoing exploitation of people like them. is it?” Budi said. 2003 and (T 68 Social Alternatives Vol. Places less real to them than this makebelieve on the internet. If he wasn’t being paid to be a Power Leveller he would have left her there to be killed. The more power you had the more you got. trained for attack. older. some have more gold than others stored in their…” Budi. Budi joined him often after that. Santoso’s daily wage. solitary dollar. Budi started to talk about a group who felt like them. a beast more frightening than the legendary Garuda he’d grown up with. 27 No. A world of excess and affluence undeserved. He knew he was good at the game. His time. his life for an amount so small the westerners wouldn’t blink to lose it. cut him short. Santoso laughed at the idea.Santoso to think into. Budi explained economics so it made sense. 3. born in countries and on islands the rich folk wouldn’t even be able to name.” It was laughable indeed. Her novels (The Trickster. The rupiah in Santoso’s pocket no longer seemed lucky and plenty. Talked about the other world linked to theirs through the game. 2003 and The Lost Tribe. Santoso was not yet back and was seeing a Griffin rise up out of the clove-scented cigarette smoke. Santoso repeated the words.” She lay on the sandy ground with her cape spread around her like she was some huge jungle butterfly.” “Yes. “How much money they have. 2008 . It was like the game. Walked a way home with him. Santoso was playing games to bring home money for his Bibi and his three younger brothers and sisters.novels he Trickster. He watched the whites when they came in from the resort to buy carved idols and lacquered beads. Santoso dreamed of the many worlds butting themselves up against his when he slept in his family’s two room shack under rain that drummed on the tin roof like an angry god. “How much realworld money they have in their countries.” Budi finished his sentence after another long drag on the kretek. Nine thousand rupiah. “What about them?” Of course Santoso had thought but there was something specific in Budi’s eye. “It’s not fair.” Author Jane Downing has had short stories and poetry published in Australia and overseas. But it grew in him like a coconut beached onto a fertile shore. One late afternoon he walked towards the resort and watched boys his age fly across the waves on gemcoloured surfboards. was a mere. When Xenedra was stunned by an Orc in the arena. “It’s not fair. Who had a mind to how things could be levelled a bit more. a resourceful killer. One afternoon he told Budi: “Give them my name. 2005) were published by Pandanus Books. A fact more bizarre than the Undead and the Draenei and the whole Azeroth universe. wiser. “About the people behind the avatars.
When Leningrad went retrograde and resurrected saintly the dancing bears came back Cub-trained on hot coals they quickly learned to Fred Astaire rhythmic patterns on blistered paws So. in St Petersburg. 3. the corpse exhumed owners bring brown bears on leads to grass patches by the neva Tourist photographs −money in the fur-box hat. 27 No. 2008 69 . wheezy accordion protesting the bitter wind Everyone sells everything in St Petersburg Teachers with no pensions sell their books Babushkas sell knitted bits and bobs Young girls and boys sell their bodies The Mafia sells priceless dreams of blood and misery The orthodox incense sells the golden mysteries promising death will be better than this life And every ordinary person scraping an existence in the cold dances with the bears waiting for the next revolution The Dancing Bears Return Maggie Emmett Norwood SA Social Alternatives Vol.
Sheldon Wolin is the author of perhaps the best work on the history of political thought in the last half century. ISBN 13579108642. but is has relevance to both the friends and enemies of the USA. Princeton and Oxford. universities. More than this. Such cable TV constant partisanship is far from the ideal of democratic debate. Wolin. the activity of the political. His magisterial work. and academics and intellectuals are either marginalised or incorporated into the winning elite. 2008 . as distinct from the grubby business of partisan attack politics. his liberal and democratic voice is still offering us unique insights. out political leaders. and the emergence of elitist anti-democratic tendencies in the American Constitution. and the space for a democratic way of life. published more than forty years ago. not the custodians of the public space and the activity of the political. even as it professes patriotic and democratic legitimacy.95. Superpower has used extraordinary methods. constant election. and the political. otherwise known as spin. with its aggressive and illiberal internal and external policies. Jeff Archer School of Humanities Faculty of Arts and Sciences University of New England 70 Social Alternatives Vol. prevent reasoned discourse. markets. Superpower describes the mythical. just manipulated aggregates. but democratic participation in public life is marginalised. Wolin’s language needs to be unpacked carefully. and particularly under the presidency of George Bush the Second. our elites. even secretly elitist. Political leaders here are celebrities. is managed within a corporate ethos which stresses continuity. mostly unknown to US citizens. if it does not ignore the book entirely. Princeton University Press. US$29. For most. Citizens in this realm are neither individuals nor collectives. The rule of highly efficient political operatives. or as pre-emptive bids to save our freedom against those who hate us for having our freedom. In a managed democracy apathy is encouraged by endless unresolved disputes about sexuality. These internal and external dimensions of state power draw on a neo-liberal elitist vision that is deeply. and inequalities have endangered the realm of the public. and it should assist our Australian debates on the roles of our media. Wolin is likely to be scorned by those who merely skim the book title. democracy is misunderstood as a daily. for example. Such reflexes miss the point: they are not what Wolin is saying at all. For Wolin. American assault on the international obstacles to its perceived realisation of power. life is materially tolerable. 27 No. but where one side claims the monopoly of patriotism. The lives of the people now are not drab. where disinterest is forgotten. 3. with close affiliations to the military and the great corporations. An empire of domination requires bases. with references to the emergence of republicanism and capitalism in the last half millennium. has some resemblance to the totalitarian states of the last century. Politics comes to be seen as mere elections. and consumers. is likely to see it as an attack on George Bush the Second from a supporter of the Democratic Party. In this very recent work on the problems of modern politics. and on this basis think that he is merely saying that America today. the democratic success of American politics reached a high water mark at the time of the New Deal following the Great Depression.book reviews Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism by Sheldon S. (2008). Lies and misinformation. harsh and dedicated to an ideological struggle. It also marginalises notions of disinterest. our corporations. Wolin’s book does not make any references to Australia. His much more profound message is set in the context of political thought about the struggle between elites and the demos since the time of ancient Athens. where all points of view are now seen as partisan. the public good. Since then. but not necessarily direct rule. the minutiae of policy and the endless speculation about the ambitions of the powerful. winding back social benefits to the demos and favouring the private interests of the few. and the state of our democracy. particularly in the USA. showed the influence of political imagination on political organisations and ideals. rather than abrupt change. almost comic book-like. lose academic authority as they are enlisted into the partisanship of elite political and corporate endeavour. The mainstream media. the power of elites have grown. in confrontations that are simplified for media bites as struggles between good and evil. Inverted Totalitarianism is contrasted by Wolin with the old twentieth century regimes of Hitler and Stalin. Internally America has become a base for global corporate interests. In this way. Politics and Vision.
or is suffering great pain with little or no chance of recovery. has in the past indicated a wish not to have his/her life unnecessarily prolonged. The dignity and suffering arguments. She lists seven arguments that are usually raised against euthanasia: • Sanctity of life doctrine. voluntary/passive. • Discrimination (some lives considered more valuable than others). and involuntary/active (34). • Retention of the right to dignity. Fourth. they may be fortunate enough to be able to determine the manner of their death. Tulloch sets up a typology that helps the reader to distinguish four distinct types of euthanasia. they manifest the autonomy of the individual. • Justice and the demand to be treated fairly. they have the power to prolong the odds of their longevity by adhering to a healthy diet and a resolute exercise routine. Death is an experience that awaits every living creature. • Possibility of misdiagnosis and recovery. Considering the choice of how to die is a subject often dismissed for moral or religious reasons or because the mere thought of losing one’s life is too horrific to even contemplate. mental activity and moral choice” (42). • Non-necessity (already occurring by medical profession. A strict line between the two spheres of personal morality and state intervention should be maintained. Third. also apply to involuntary euthanasia. Social Alternatives Vol. 27 No. with no hope of recovery. ‘Active’ ranks above ‘passive’ because it upholds the reification of the patient’s free choice. As Tulloch contends: (P)eople should be free to make their own lifechoices and decisions. The justifiability of voluntary euthanasia (active or passive) is neatly condensed by Tulloch into four main arguments: • Autonomy of individual and the right to choose. as already indicated. such as calling on the doctor to provide a fatal injection when death is agonising and inevitable. which hastens death. should opt out as far as possible of the preserve of personal morality…. • Risk of abuse (role of unscrupulous relatives). voluntary/passive occurs when the patient requests that nothing be done. in line with the fundamental value of the liberal society. discriminative feeling. the ‘passive’ has slightly more moral legitimacy than the ‘active’ for the negative reason that someone else is not assertively depriving the individual of his/her free choice. involuntary/passive. the removal of the patient’s free choice must be weighed against factors such as the degree to which suffering is reduced and dignity preserved. Equally importantly. the public debate centres mainly on the voluntary aspect. ISBN 0 7486 1881 3. The state. When resorting to involuntary euthanasia. in a liberal society there should be no state-imposed morality or religion (45). there is the voluntary/active category where the patient freely elects to shorten his/her life by taking an active step. creativity and self-determination. Her argument draws on the ideas of John Stuart Mill in his essay On Liberty where his “conception of a worthwhile human life emphasises individuality. involuntary/passive refers to action effected by omission or withdrawal of treatment without consulting the patient. Tulloch ranks the four types of euthanasia in the following “order of moral legitimacy or supportability:” voluntary/ active. Gail Tulloch calls on us to face the universality of death with the dignity of rationality once the imminent inevitability of death is beyond question.Euthanasia — Choice and Death by Gail Tulloch (2008). First. While humans cannot prevent death. In the case of the involuntary types. which would constitute a greater loss of individual freedom. because. A personal sovereignty dependent on these faculties will only be sustained in a society that proclaims and permits the individual to act freely throughout its institutions. • Reduction of suffering. the individual should be free to exercise his/her final will in a liberal society. involuntary/active takes place when action to terminate life is initiated but has not been sanctioned by the patient. If life lingers on in excruciating pain or to alleviate the pain one needs to be rendered senseless. Then. but as Tulloch points out. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 3. By a liberal society is meant a society where the principle of personal liberty is allowed to the extent that it does not infringe on the liberty of others. The possible reasons usually given for taking action without referring to the patient are that s/he is not capable at this point of making a decision. 2008 71 . as the end draws nigh. Both types of ‘voluntary’ are preferable. acting through the law. Second. but the choice (or lack of choice) can be seen as the foremost existential experience of a series of self-defining choices made throughout life.” His sovereignty of the individual is based on distinctive human qualities: “the faculties of perception. so no legislative changes are required).
The theoretical arguments. She considers the most powerful arguments against euthanasia are the sanctity of life doctrine and the slippery slope assertion. Ralph Summy Australian Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies The University of Queensland Franchise Driving through a home town Has significance Until it becomes one of many And now the state Seems crisscrossed with heart Strings that catch on the most Obvious things Street signs greyed with mildew Rivers polishing rocks Creepers wrapping a water tower And storefronts setting up smiles All of it with a counterpart in another place Emotion under franchise. The concept of human life’s sacredness and inviolability come up against the exceptions of the just war doctrine. the right of selfdefence. while other cases of killing — including the mass killings of modern warfare — are often sanctioned by the same people. it seems to me. Her empirical evidence is crafted superbly so that the case studies — many of which the reader will be familiar with — will acquire a new meaning when imposed against the concepts rendered in Part I. to offer the strongest anti case.• Irrational or imprudent choices. 2008 . By default. is unequalled in the literature. About as special as hamburger meat And looking like the copy of a copy Ashley Capes Melbourne Vic. are worthy pro arguments in their own right. England. she rightly notes. In her view (and I agree) the overriding argument in favour is based on the autonomy of the individual and the right to choose. pro and con. It is difficult to encapsulate in a brief review the sophisticated manner and detail in which Tulloch has argued her case. then. 27 No. The Netherlands and Australia. • Slippery slope argument (from voluntary to involuntary euthanasia). The former runs into difficulties. and for a large majority the advocacy of capital punishment. 72 Social Alternatives Vol. are laid out in Part I and largely summarised in the Conclusion. poses a major problem for the opposition. 3. Preserving dignity and reducing suffering. to my knowledge. The book. because it is not universally applied. Where I slightly quibble is her contention that the other three can be subsumed under the rubric of the first. the slippery slope argument from voluntary to involuntary euthanasia would appear. A lengthy Part II examines critical cases that have occurred in four liberal democracies: the United States. Justifying why the individual’s autonomy cannot be preserved with euthanasia.
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