Rethinking the building blocks: Ontological pluralism and the idea of 'management'

Richard Howitt*, Sandra Suchet-Pearson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

197 Citations (Scopus)


The persistence of indigenous ontologies rooted in human systems that pre-date the creation of colonial property rights and assertions of frontier conquest and dispossession unsettles the dominant idea that 'management'is an unproblematic and universally endorsed goal for communities, regions and nations in their environmental and development discourses. This paper argues that conceptual building blocks which render management, be it of environments, economies or people, as unquestionably good, need to be reconsidered. Drawing on diverse indigenous knowledges in Australia, particularly in relation to wildlife management, the paper examines the hidden cultural specificity of management, planning, institutional strengthening and capacity building as well as their implicit silencing of alternative narratives of the economic, environmental and cultural dimensions of social life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-335
Number of pages13
JournalGeografiska Annaler, Series B: Human Geography
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006


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