As the authors in Chapter 7 of this volume have expounded, contemporary public policy making is often based upon the use of data and statistics provided by national agencies through collections such as censuses. These are not altogether ‘fit for purpose’ in relation to the small resident numbers living in contemporary Aboriginal settlements in remote regions of advanced market democracies. On the one hand, the laws of large numbers underpin the power of the data and statistics approach, and quite rationally, policy is made on the basis of understanding what happens at the population level. On the other hand, the economically rational individual choice maker is the conceptual unit by which economic activity is understood by policy makers. Because most public policy is aimed at changing behaviour (Australian Public Service Commission, 2007) the actions of individuals are guided by a series of encouragements and penalties to assist in decision-making. Results are measured and reported upon at the population level. This produces a paradox – the targets of policies are at the personal level while the understanding of their activities is at the population level. Foucault (2007, pp. 127–9) refers to this as ‘individualising yet totalising’ and a feature of modern government which produces constant tension in the implementation of programmes and policies, particularly among settlements ‘on the edge’ of developed nations (Carson et al., 2011).
|Title of host publication||Settlements at the Edge|
|Subtitle of host publication||Remote Human Settlements in Developed Nations|
|Editors||Andrew Taylor, Dean B. Carson, Prescott C. Ensign, Lee Huskey, Rasmus O. Rasmussen, Gertrude Saxinger|
|Place of Publication||Cheltenham, UK|
|Publisher||Edward Elgar Publishing|
|Number of pages||24|
|Publication status||Published - 30 Sept 2016|