Cultivating Community

How discourse shapes the philosophy, practice and policy of water management in the Murray–Darling Basin

Amanda Shankland

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Format: paperback
290 pages
ISBN: 9781743329771

Publication: 01 Sep 2024
Series: Public and Social Policy Series
Publisher: Sydney University Press

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In the face of escalating water scarcity, effective water management has become a central concern globally. The Murray–Darling Basin, spanning over a million square kilometres across four states and one territory, is a lifeline for Australian agriculture and rural communities.

Cultivating Community: How discourse shapes the philosophy, practice and policy of water management in the Murray–Darling Basin dissects the prevailing environmental discourses shaping water policy in the Murray–Darling Basin and assesses their implications for both the environment and for farming communities.

Drawing on five months of extensive field research among farmers and Murray–Darling Basin Authority officials, Dr Amanda Shankland presents a nuanced understanding of farmer perspectives within the broader policy discourse. By examining the interplay between environmental discourses and farmer knowledge, Shankland sheds light on how different ideologies shape policy decisions and, subsequently, impact water management practices.

Central to the book’s contribution is the identification and analysis of four key environmental discourses prevalent in the Murray–Darling Basin: administrative rationalism, economic rationalism, democratic pragmatism, and green environmentalism.

Against the backdrop of looming water scarcity and the declining health of the Murray–Darling Basin, Cultivating Community challenges these dominant discourses by highlighting a new perspective, community centrism, which emphasises community-based cooperation and engagement in water management. By amplifying farmer voices and advocating for a more inclusive approach to policy deliberations, Cultivating Community paves the way for alternative futures in water management that prioritise social values alongside economic and environmental considerations.

Cultivating Community is a timely and indispensable resource for charting a path towards a more resilient and equitable water future in the Murray–Darling Basin and beyond.

Amanda Shankland has a doctorate from the Department of Political Science at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Dr Shankland specialises in research on social ecology, food sovereignty, water management, and rural development, and has spent her career working towards advancing the goals of ecologically sustainable agriculture through political reform.

Acknowledgements

Significant events and developments

Measurements

Abbreviations

List of tables

  • Prologue: communities in crisis
  • Introduction
  1. The Murray–Darling Basin
  2. Theoretical approach
  3. Administrative rationalism, economic rationalism and democratic pragmatism
  4. Green environmentalism
  5. Community-centrism
  6. Policy alternatives
  • Conclusion

References

Index

Format: paperback
Size: 210 × 148 mm
290 pages
Copyright: © 2024
ISBN: 9781743329771
Publication: 01 Sep 2024
Series: Public and Social Policy Series