Healthy country, healthy people: an Australian aboriginal organisation's adaptive governance to enhance its social-ecological system

Maclean, Kirsten and Ross, Helen and Cuthill, Michael and Rist, Philip (2013) Healthy country, healthy people: an Australian aboriginal organisation's adaptive governance to enhance its social-ecological system. Geoforum, 45. pp. 94-105. ISSN 0016-7185


Scholars and environmental managers of complex social-ecological systems (SESs) have called for new institutional models to facilitate adaptive governance. This paper explores one adaptive governance approach as used by Girringun Aboriginal Corporation, an association of Australian Aboriginal groups in north-eastern Australia. Girringun uses this approach to translate customary obligations into sophisticated management actions that address the complex social, economic, land and sea management challenges encountered on its members' country. Its decision-making is informed by philosophies of 'caring for country' and 'healthy country, healthy people'. Girringun's strategies articulate cultural, social and livelihood development aspirations into environmental management, education and visual art projects and activities. Governance emphasises strong and visionary leadership, reconciliation, and strategic partnerships developed to expand its role as SES managers in co-operation with non-Aboriginal organisations. Girringun's innovative structure and creative strategies provide insight into adaptive governance of cross-cultural SES, where differing aspirations and institutional arrangements can be melded towards creative management opportunities.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Published version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2014 23:37
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2014 06:15
Uncontrolled Keywords: aboriginal; adaptive governance; Australia; cross-cultural; social-ecological systems
Fields of Research (2008): 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150303 Corporate Governance and Stakeholder Engagement
16 Studies in Human Society > 1606 Political Science > 160609 Political Theory and Political Philosophy
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940102 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Development and Welfare
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