Relational spaces and the geopolitics of community participation in two Tasmanian local governments: a case for agonistic pluralism?


Sustainable Communities Research Group, School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia email:


The ‘success’ of sustainability is often premised on public participation and consensus among members of diverse communities. An analysis of two experiments in participatory governance in Tasmania underpinned by explicit commitments to sustainability and by tacit investments in deliberative democracy allows detailed reflection on claims about the efficacy of deliberative democracy, and encourages speculation about whether and to what extent an alternative model of agonistic pluralism may better accommodate conflicts in communities wrestling with resource use and distribution.