School of Social and Political Sciences - Research Publications

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    Geopolitan Democracy in the Anthropocene
    ECKERSLEY, R (Sage Journals, 2017)
    The proposed new epoch of the Anthropocene, whereby humans have become the dominant geological force shaping Earth systems, has attracted considerable interest in the social sciences and humanities but only scant attention from democratic theorists. This inquiry draws out the democratic problems associated with the two opposing narratives on governing the Anthropocene – Earth systems governance and ecomodernism – and juxtaposes them with a more critical narrative that draws out the democratic potential of the Anthropocene as a new source of critique of liberal democracy and a new resource for democratic renewal. While Ulrich Beck welcomed reflexive cosmopolitan democracy (understood as a civil culture of responsibility across borders) as the appropriate response to the world risk society, this narrative develops an account of hyper-reflexive ‘geopolitan democracy’ based on a more radical extension of democratic horizons of space, time, community and agency as the appropriate response to navigating the Anthropocene.
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    Ecological democracy and the rise and decline of liberal democracy: looking back, looking forward
    Eckersley, R (Taylor and Francis Group, 2020)
    The critical environmental political theory (EPT) of ecological democracy emerged in the 1990s when liberal democracy and cosmopolitanism appeared to be on the rise. A quarter of a century later, as both went into decline in the western heartland, a new iteration of ecological democracy has emerged, reflecting a significant shift in critical normative horizons, focus and method. Whereas the first iteration sought to critique and institutionally expand the coordinates of democracy – space, time, community and agency – to bring them into closer alignment with a cosmopolitan ecological and democratic imaginary, the second has connected ecology and democracy through everyday material practices and local participatory democracy from a more critical communitarian perspective. The respective virtues and problems of each iteration of ecological democracy are drawn out, and the complementarities and tensions between them are shown to be productive in maintaining theoretical and methodological pluralism and enhancing the prospects for sustainability and a multifaceted democracy.
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    (Dis)order and (in)justice in a heating world
    Eckersley, R (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2023-01-09)
    Conventional accounts of the relationship between international order and justice treat order as necessarily prior to justice because it is a precondition for the management of conflict and for collective debates about justice. This contribution takes the climate change challenge as an opportunity to challenge and enlarge this account from the perspective of critical political ecology. This approach highlights the more fundamental socio-ecological conditions that are necessary for the stability and possibility of political order itself. It also directs more systematic attention to how orders themselves disorder the climate in ways that also constitute climate injustices. Structurally generated injustices of this kind cannot be addressed solely at the level of a single regime (via the Paris Agreement). They also require a transformation of the constitutive norms and practices of the international liberal economic order in which the climate regime is embedded so that the order serves the objectives and principles of the regime. However, this is unlikely, and the contribution reflects on the implications for the legitimacy and functional viability of states and the international order in a heating world.
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    Capital Punishment in Singapore: A Critical Analysis of State Justifications From 2004 to 2018
    Yap, A ; Tan, SJ (Queensland University of Technology, 2020)
    This article examines state justifications for capital punishment in Singapore. Singapore is a unique case study because capital punishment has largely been legitimised and justified by state officials. It illustrates how Singapore justifies capital punishment by analysing official discourse. Discussion will focus on the government’s narrative on capital punishment, which has been primarily directed against drug trafficking. Discussion will focus on Singapore’s death penalty regime and associated official discourse that seeks to justify state power to exercise such penalties, rather than the ethics and proportionality of capital punishment towards drug-related crimes. Critical analysis from a criminological perspective adds to the growing body of literature that seeks to conceptualise social and political phenomena in South-East Asia.
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    When the Home Is Also the Workplace: Women migrant domestic workers? experiences with the ?live-in? policy in Singapore and Hong Kong
    Tan, SJ (Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, 2023-04)
    This article examines the link between the mandatory live-in policy and the unsafe working and living conditions of women migrant domestic workers. This policy has been rationalised on the principles of the inviolability of the private home and challenges around regulating and enforcing labour protections in the home-workplace but has, in practice, increased migrant domestic workers’ precarity and exploitation. Drawing on empirical research in Singapore and Hong Kong, the article demonstrates how the live-in policy operates in tandem with inadequate labour and migration regulations to produce a situation where poor working and living conditions are an enduring part of workers’ employment and everyday lives. It contributes to research that has highlighted the gendered dynamics and exclusionary bordering practices that shape waged domestic labour, and considers the implications this may have for the well-being and security of women migrant domestic workers.
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    Treaty as a Pathway to Indigenous Controlled Policy: Making Space, Partnering, and Honouring New Relationships
    Maddison, S ; Thomas, A ; Moodie, N ; Maddison, S (Springer Nature, 2023)
    As several Australian jurisdictions embark on Australia’s first treaty processes there is growing recognition of the extent to which treaty will recast Indigenous-state relations. The negotiation of treaties means the recognition of other sovereign authorities—not authorities to be created (as these have existed for millennia) but authorities that will require space to be exercised alongside the state. Bureaucracies that have understood their role as primarily one of service delivery to First Nations will have to reorient themselves to become treaty partners with First Nations seeking to exercise greater control and autonomy. While we cannot yet predict the outcome of these negotiations, nor is it appropriate for us to attempt to articulate First Nations’ priorities, it is likely that, over time, treatied First Nations will seek to rewrite the policy relationship with government, pursuing autonomy and self-governance in the place of state authority and control. This chapter explores the possibilities and challenges of transforming public policy-making through treaty, arguing that it will take time to re-write the partnership manual and enable genuinely Indigenous-controlled policy to become the new political norm.
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    Scaling-up sustainable commodity governance through jurisdictional initiatives: Political pathways to sector transformation in the Indonesian palm oil sector?
    Bahruddin, ; Macdonald, K ; Diprose, R ; Delgado Pugley, D (Elsevier BV, 2024-04-01)
    Voluntary systems of sustainable commodity governance have come under intensified criticism for failing to catalyse transformative change beyond directly regulated supply chains. In response, there has been a surge of efforts to ‘scale-up’ sustainability impacts through governance interventions at landscape and jurisdictional scales. While these ambitious, scaled-up approaches are attracting significant interest, such approaches demand substantial changes to established repertoires of policy interventions and associated understandings of the pathways through which these contribute to sustainability outcomes. Drawing theoretical insights from scholarship on multi-stakeholder sustainability governance together with findings from a qualitative study of jurisdictional governance experiments in the Indonesian palm oil sector, this paper explores how emerging jurisdictional initiatives are promoting change pathways towards more sustainable commodity production, and how the political, environmental governance and economic contexts in which these interventions are implemented influence these pathways. Analysis shows that by integrating a distinctive mix of market and policy-driven interventions, jurisdictional approaches are contributing to three core pathways of change, centred respectively on network and coalition-building, collaborative governance, and resource mobilisation. However, which of these pathways are most influential, how interventions are sequenced and operationalised, and how the pathways interact in shaping change is highly sensitive to varied subnational implementation contexts, with important implications for the impact and resilience of jurisdictional programs. These findings highlight the need for jurisdictional policy interventions to respond flexibly to contextually-variable configurations of actor interests, coalitions and power relations within contested multi-scalar processes of sustainable commodity governance.
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    Developing a Career Access Program (CAP) for people with intellectual disability in the Victorian public sector: The evidence base to inform the development and implementation of CAP
    McVilly, K ; Murfitt, K ; Crosbie, J ; Rouget, D ; Jacobs, P (Department of Health and Human Services and The University of Melbourne, 2019)
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    Sinophobia in the Asian century: race, nation and Othering in Australia and Singapore
    Ang, S ; Colic-Peisker, V (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2021)
    This paper explores public discourses of race and nation in Australia and Singapore, focusing on their historical and contemporary relationship with China and the Chinese. Both countries are governed by a multicultural ideology but are experiencing evolving tensions rooted in their (post)colonial and settler histories, dominated by respective Anglo-Australian and Singaporean-Chinese majorities. To illuminate these issues, we analyse public discourses by politicians and other opinion leaders, as reported in influential media. We discuss how the two nation-states accommodate their rapidly growing mainland Chinese minorities in the context of a rising China as a global power, and in conjunction with their cultural-spatial dislocations. We found a renewed Sinophobia in both countries, but with different historic and contemporary origins and manifestations: in Australia a historically grounded fear of the Chinese as “Yellow Peril”; in Singapore, a co-ethnic anxiety about the incoming mainland Chinese who are construed as “other” to the Singaporean-Chinese.
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    Should we talk about the weather? How party competition and coalition participation influence parties' attention to economic issues
    Goldring, E ; Park, BB ; Williams, LK (SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2020-11)
    Media narratives of political campaigns paint a complex picture of parties carefully selecting communication strategies in response to the current social and economic climate as well as the strategic choices made by rival parties. Current empirical efforts based on simple ordinary least squares, however, fail to honor those complexities. We argue that ignoring the spatial and temporal dynamics at play produces misleading inferences about parties’ behavior. In an application of German parties’ attention to economic issues in official communications, we demonstrate that once scholars test the theories with a method that honors the inherent complexity of the process, the inferences about parties’ degree of responsiveness change. Indeed, proper specification of the model shows that scholars who ignore spatial dependence tend to overstate the degree to which parties are responsive to changing conditions (such as public opinion or economic indicators) and understate the role of other constraints. Most notably, we find that parties have varying levels of path dependence, parties emulate the strategies used by ideological neighbors, and coalition partners appear to coordinate their strategies. These findings have implications for understanding variation in parties’ messaging strategies and how voters perceive parties’ positions.