eCite Digital Repository

Government as a Failing Operation: Regulating Administrative Conduct ‘at a Distance’ in Australia


Higgins, V, Government as a Failing Operation: Regulating Administrative Conduct at a Distance' in Australia, Sociology, 38, (3) pp. 457-476. ISSN 0038-0385 (2004) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1177/0038038504043212


This article argues that the failure of policies and programmes to achieve their desired effects is a constitutive part of projects of regulation, and is evident particularly in attempts to govern conduct ‘at a distance’. Drawing upon concepts from the Foucaultian-inspired literature on governmentality, a Federal programme in Australia - the Rural Adjustment Scheme (RAS) - is examined and attention given to how its administration at a sub-national (State) level called into question, or ‘problematized’, the effectiveness of the programme from the outset. Using public documents and interviews by the author with 16 public servants, the article explores the rationalities and technologies through which these problematizations of governing were assembled. It focuses particularly on how the administrative ‘freedom’ of State authorities assumed political prominence as both a problem andas a necessary part of responding effectively to the diverse needs of clients/farmers.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:governance, governmentality, agriculture policy, Australia
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Higgins, V (Professor Vaughan Higgins)
ID Code:138185
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:19
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2020-03-26
Last Modified:2020-08-31

Repository Staff Only: item control page