Final Comments: Objects of Governance as Simultaneously Governed and Governing

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In 2013 a perplexity we had been experiencing for some time around the apparently unstoppable proliferation of contexts in which “the public problem” of Indigenous governance emerged came to a head. As members of an informal consultancy team established within the Contemporary Indigenous Knowledge and Governance Group in the policy research institute where, near the ends of our careers, we find ourselves based, we were asked by a group of concerned government officers – both Federal and Territory, to intervene in ‘governance training’ in five Aboriginal communities. Top-down delivery of Government funded training services on a fly-in-fly-out basis has become a huge industry in Aboriginal Australia, yet a bad smell of failure persistently hangs around these programs. The amount of funding we were offered for our work was significant, but still the size of a ‘rounding error’ in government budgets for governance and leadership training in Australian Aboriginal communities. And like much useful research funding, it was offered to us at short notice, at the end of a financial year. Our very different research-informed approach to services delivery was seen as an alternative to what was not working, and we were approached by people in government with whom we had established relations of confidence and trust. Contracts were duly signed and we found ourselves deeply involved with a group of younger scholars in delivering the ‘Indigenous Governance Development and Leadership Project’ (IGDLP). This in part is the origins of our writers ‘workshop on objects of governance, and this volume.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-65
Number of pages6
JournalLearning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social contexts
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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