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Title: The Changing Social Framework
Contributor(s): Smailes, Peter J (author); Griffin, Trevor L C (author); Argent, Neil (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2005
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Abstract: Chapter 4 demonstrates the diversity of social trends within non-metropolitan Australia, and suggests an increasing polarisation between demographic growth in the better-watered and more accessible rural areas, and a depopulating and declining remainder. Generalisations that can be made at the scale of an entire continent, however, may be less applicable in specific locales. In this chapter, working at the level of individual communities, we treat the reported spatial polarisation and increase in diversity as hypotheses to be tested within south-eastern Australia's rural heartland. Within this area, we investigate the relationship between individual rural communities as local social systems, and the environments - both physical and social - in which they are embedded. The prospects for sustainability of a local community depend not merely on the social capital and inner workings of the community, but also on the capital endowment and range of opportunities presented by the surrounding environment. We therefore differentiate between change taking place within the communities themselves, and change in their broader social and physical setting, and seek to discover how far these changes are leading to spatial polarisation. Although recognising the vital importance of qualitative data in understanding community adjustment to social economic and technological change, the geographic scale of this study necessarily confined us to a quantitative analysis.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Sustainability and Change in Rural Australia, p. 80-102
Publisher: UNSW Press
Place of Publication: Sydney, Australia
ISBN: 0868406317
Field of Research (FOR): 160399 Demography not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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