Caring for Country, a Form of Bureaucratic Participation. Conservation, Development, and Neoliberalism in Indigenous Australia

Abstract : 'Conservation-as-development' policies are increasingly implemented for and by Indigenous peoples across the world. In particular, such policies have been introduced and adopted in many Indigenous communities of northern Australia since the 1990s. In this context, the transnational model of community-based natural (and cultural) resource management has produced the 'ranger system': a multi-actor, multi-rationale, and multi-level system articulated around job opportunities in the domain of 'caring for country'. In this paper, I explore how the ranger system reflects and extends a process of neoliberal bureaucratisation into Indigenous communities, and to what extent this process can be described as a form of 'bureaucratic participation'. I argue that the notion of 'bureaucratic participation' contributes to the investigation of existing entanglements between rationales of empowerment and neoliberal principles in Australia and beyond. My analysis is based on the ethnography of the daily work of the Indigenous rangers operating from a remote community in Arnhem Land in 2009 and 2010. I examine the complex relationships between local practices and bureaucratic requirements imposed by the Australian state at the core of the Indigenous ranger jobs.
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Submitted on : Monday, August 25, 2014 - 10:58:22 AM
Last modification on : Saturday, February 17, 2018 - 2:54:03 PM

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Elodie Fache. Caring for Country, a Form of Bureaucratic Participation. Conservation, Development, and Neoliberalism in Indigenous Australia. Anthropological Forum: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Comparative Sociology, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2014, pp.DOI: 10.1080/00664677.2014.939576. ⟨halshs-01057689⟩

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