Being a good senior manager in Indigenous community governance: Working with public purpose and private benefit

Author/editor: Sanders, WG
Year published: 2006
Issue no.: 280


This paper seeks to understand the role of being a senior manager in Indigenous community governance, particularly though not exclusively in remote Aboriginal communities. It argues against the tendency of analysts and would-be reformers of Indigenous community governance to focus on the competence and ethical qualities of those who, from time to time occupy these roles, and asks instead how can isolated managerialism in Indigenous community governance be overcome?

The paper begins with Ralph Folds’ analysis of relations between Pintupi settlements and the larger Australian polity. While taking much from Folds’ analysis, the paper argues that he relies on too idealist a view of the Australian state and on a problematic distinction between the official and private uses of publicly allocated resources. The paper argues that the state’s allocation of resources also inevitably involves a flow of private benefits and that public purposes and private benefits are not different phenomena, but rather different perspectives on state action. In light of this, the paper outlines a more thoroughly realist analysis of what it is to be a good senior manager in Indigenous community governance and then, in its concluding section, makes some suggestions for overcoming isolated managerialism.

ISBN: 0 7315 5655 0

ISSN:1036 1774

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