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Creating 'Community'? Preparing for Bushfire in Rural Victoria


Fairbrother, P and Tyler, M and Hart, A and Mees, B and Phillips, R and Stratford, J and Toh, K, Creating 'Community'? Preparing for Bushfire in Rural Victoria, Rural Sociology, 78, (2) pp. 186-209. ISSN 0036-0112 (2013) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 Rural Sociological Society

DOI: doi:10.1111/ruso.12006


The term "community" has a long and contested lineage in social analysis and debate. This lineage, however, is not generally recognized in policy and public debates on community and bushfire in Australia. "Community" is thought to be central to bushfire preparedness in Australia, especially in rural areas, but what "community" actually means in this context is vague at best. There is an ever‐present tension between the use of "community" as a reference to locality, a "sense of community" as experienced by residents, and the use of "community" as a rhetorical tool by governments and state agencies. We argue that a rigorous analysis of the concept of "community" is critical to an understanding of the processes involved in preparing for the challenges associated with disaster, in this case bushfires. These broader issues are supported by research (a series of surveys, interviews, and focus groups) carried out with residents living in (predominantly rural) bushfire‐prone areas in the state of Victoria, Australia. Ultimately, we assert that social participation and social networks are likely to be the crucial aspects of community that play a central role in effective bushfire preparedness.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Community, bushfire
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Policy and administration
Research Field:Public policy
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Community services
Objective Field:Community services not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Mees, B (Dr Bernard Mees)
ID Code:128994
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:22
Deposited By:TSBE
Deposited On:2018-10-31
Last Modified:2021-11-15

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