Step by step, street by street approaches to building
stronger neighbourhoods and communities Keynote Speakers
Motherhood: how should we care for our children (2005)
Love and Money: the family and the free market (2008)
So This is Life: Scenes from a Country Childhood (2009)
The Life of I: The new culture of narcissism (2014)
Building Civil Society - Step by Step, Street by StreetThe term 'civil society' refers to the relationships and associations that make up our life at grass-roots levels of society, in families, neighbourhoods, voluntary associations, clubs, parishes and cooperatives, independent of both government and the corporate sector. These relationships and networks are vast, but they have been hidden from public debate and policy making for a century.In Australia, civil society is still largely ignored in public life. Personal and social well-being is determined primarily in and by civil society, but governments, policy makers, academics and journalists alike have been seduced by the power of states and corporates and have ignored the power of communities and relationships.
Change is in the air. Governments of all persuasions have found they cannot deliver stronger grassroots communities and better social relationships. Corporates cannot deliver trust and personal responsibility. The results are now in. Top-down approaches to social reform have smothered the instinct for, and practice of, voluntary association, personal responsibility, and the shared generation of moral and social capital.
Neighbourhood-based projects are emerging around Australia in diverse forms with varied social goals. Some are informal and spontaneous. Others are highly structured. Some involve monetary transactions. Others involve swaps and gifts. Some are tight and intimate. Others lend a hand to strangers. The potential impact in aggregate of these projects is huge. Some form of shared strategic development, networking, and common resourcing is inevitable. What form might that take? This conference aims to explore the building of civil society in neighbourhoods and communities, and examine its development, step by step, street by street.