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Local Governance for Social Sustainability: equity as a strategic response to neoliberal constraints in food security initiatives
Scholarly literature recognises the importance of social sustainability as part of the wider sustainability agenda. A wide array of concepts such as equity, social justice, democratic government, social inclusion, social capital and quality of life are thought to constitute social sustainability. Local governments are charged with delivering social programs and services to their constituency, but market logics and performance-based institutional cultures, along with limited authority and funding, constrain their capacity to respond to new initiatives. We analyse two case studies in Victoria, Australia, to explore how elements of social sustainability are articulated and operationalised within local government. Each case study involved State-level and local government partnerships in health-promotion initiatives to improve food security. Analysis was conducted on 50 primary policy documents, 22 secondary data documents and 27 interviews. Findings reveal that a systems-based or integrated approach to social sustainability was not workable but not completely ineffective. Equity was prioritised by local government in both case studies, and well acknowledged as interconnected with other social goals. Although constrained in its capacity to deliver new initiatives, local government responded to neoliberalising ideologies, as well as its constituency, by strategically focusing on a particular goal, such as equity. © 2017 Geographical Society of New South Wales Inc.
Australian Geographer / Vol. Article in press
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© 2012 University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia | ABN 28 441 859 157 | CRICOS Provider No. 01595D