Suburban affairs: political communities across Sydney
Spies-Butcher, B and Vromen, A and Marsh, MI, Suburban affairs: political communities across Sydney, Australasian Political Studies Association Abstracts and Refereed papers 2008, July 2008, Brisbane, pp. 1-26. (2008) [Refereed Conference Paper]
Recent literatures explore aspects of political organisation at the local level. These include studies of social capital where such issues as the effects of diversity, the relevance of political opportunity structures and government facilitation all figure. A complementary literature explores new patterns of citizen engagement. Finally there are a number of earlier studies of local community organisations in Australia. This paper reports the preliminary findings of a survey of community organisation in six diverse
state electorates in Sydney. Our methodology involved a three month time frame that utilised local newspapers, newsletters and websites of local organisations, local council information and websites, and interviews with prominent political actors, including candidates in state election. The three month period purposefully covered the following events: NSW state election March 24, Harmony Day March 21, Youth Week April 14-22,
and Anzac Day April 25, that may have led to one-off examples of community
organising. Contrary to expectations the study found broadly similar numbers of
organisations were active in these communities. However, the types of organisations, the populations they represented and their strategies of advocacy and mobilisation differed. Issues to be explored in future work are also foreshadowed.