Discerning the air: locating local government community engagement practice – reflections on selected Australian experience

McDonald, Lisa and Hickey, Andrew and Reynolds, Paul (2016) Discerning the air: locating local government community engagement practice – reflections on selected Australian experience. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration, 38 (3). pp. 154-167. ISSN 2327-6665


The structures and locations of communities have been reconfigured by the arrival of digital technologies. 'Smart' devices, such as portable tablet computers, smart phones, and associated applications (apps), raise questions about how communities connect, understand and experience each other in the context of a disaggregated model of the social. Much has been written about changed practices in public administration in view of new digital capabilities, but little exists in the form of critical reflections about engagement practice itself amid the current wave of digital experiences of place and the social. Accordingly, this article discusses what can be brought to local government community engagement practice through the presence of digital devices, inviting engagement practitioners to reconsider how communities are configured through extended understandings of the local. In highlighting selected dialogue with community engagement practitioners, the discussion articulates the internal structure of engagement practice beyond a notion of consultation, or the survey of community views, toward more effective understandings of engagement which arise from the proliferation of potential locations inspired by digital concepts. In this sense, it addresses questions of regionality in local governance, thus reviewing ongoing issues of place and place-making in the 21st century.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2016 01:24
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 01:24
Uncontrolled Keywords: space; place; local government; local government community engagement; digital community engagement; social research; Australia
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160807 Sociological Methodology and Research Methods
16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160509 Public Administration
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940117 Structure, Delivery and Financing of Community Services
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9502 Communication > 950299 Communication not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/23276665.2016.1213034
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/29618

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