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In pursuit of sustainability? Challenges for deliberative democracy in a Tasmanian local government


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Stratford, E ORCID: 0000-0001-6273-493X and Jaskolski, M 2004 , 'In pursuit of sustainability? Challenges for deliberative democracy in a Tasmanian local government' , Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, vol. 31, no. 2 , pp. 311-324 , doi: 10.1068/b2944.

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Sustainability may be viewed as a principled form of conduct. Among its effects is a growing emphasis on civil society and local governance through which the members of communities are encouraged to rethink democratic ideas and practices, and reconfigure how to live. Although normative, sustainability cannot properly be conceived as prescriptive; such a characteristic would undermine central elements of it, such as participation and equity. In this sense, requiring both mechanisms for community participation in decisionmaking and planning, and an ethic of engagement based on trust, reciprocity, and an acceptance of the rights of noncitizens and nonhuman nature, sustainability might also be construed as a deliberative form of democratic governance. Perhaps problematically, in the last decade this governmental aspect of sustainability has come to be associated with the procedures of communicative rationality. Supported by research conducted over three years in a local government in Tasmania, Australia, we argue that a deliberative and democratic praxis of sustainability may be effective only if and when underpinned by substantive changes to the exercise of power and leadership, and to the ways in which deliberative decisionmaking and planning are pursued. Communicative rationality alone is unlikely to achieve these ends.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Stratford, E and Jaskolski, M
Keywords: sustainability; deliberative democracy; Tasmania; local government; governance;
Journal or Publication Title: Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design
ISSN: 0265-8135
DOI / ID Number: 10.1068/b2944
Additional Information:

This work is drawn from an honours topic supervised by Stratford and conducted by Jaskolski, and is partly indebted to ideas being investigated in research funded between 2003 and 2005 by the Australian Research Council Discovery Grant Scheme.

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