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Community in public policy: fad or foundation?


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Adams, D and Hess, M 2001 , 'Community in public policy: fad or foundation?' , Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 60, no. 2 , pp. 13-23 , doi: 10.1111/1467-8500.00205.

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Both internationally and within Australia public policy is experiencing a rush back to the idea of community. After 15 years of discourse about the new public management and economic rationalism a much older discourse is slipping back into public policy. It is a normative discourse about changing relations between state democracy, market capitalism and civil society in which the idea of community is a central 'new' relation used to manage both state and market failures. Already new policy tools emerging from this discourse can be seen with innovations based on concepts such as partnerships, place management, and a raft of community consultation mechanisms. Much of the rhetoric about community as a new foundation for public policy, however, remains confused. The result is a muddle of ideas in which this potentially useful concept is in danger of becoming just another public policy reform fad. This article looks at what policy makers are saying about community, identifies problems in this current usage and offers ways of thinking about community with a view to establishing its policy utility.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Adams, D and Hess, M
Keywords: Public policy; community
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Journal of Public Administration
ISSN: 0313-6647
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/1467-8500.00205
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