Critical Reflections on Interactive Governance
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Critical Reflections on Interactive Governance

Self-organization and Participation in Public Governance

Edited by Jurian Edelenbos and Ingmar van Meerkerk

In many countries, government and society have undergone a major shift in recent years, now tending toward ‘smaller government’ and ‘bigger society’. This development has lent increased meaning to the notion of interactive governance, a concept that this book takes not as a normative ideal but as an empirical phenomenon that needs constant critical scrutiny, reflection and embedding in modern societies.
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Chapter 14: Social enterprises in rural community governance: evidence from Tasmania

Mary Duniam and Robyn Eversole


Duniam and Eversole explore in Chapter 14 the juxtaposition between community modes of governance and formal institutions of government with reference to recent empirical research in the Australian state of Tasmania. Past research has suggested that community modes of governance are regularly deployed to fill service gaps in rural Australian communities. Local people take informal joint action across organizational boundaries to fill gaps left by more formal government systems. These ‘community’ modes of governance mobilize local knowledge and relationships in creative ways, yet they are often overlooked when government organizations attempt to engage with rural communities. Their chapter demonstrates how rural people use social enterprises to mobilize local resources for problem-solving – including resources from local government – filling gaps that formal systems miss. Duniam and Eversole argue that social enterprises, as ‘hybrid’ organizations, represent a strategy for navigating the tensions between community and bureaucratic modes of governance at the local level.

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