Waves of change: economic development and social wellbeing in Cardwell, North Queensland, Australia

Alison Reif

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis is an anthropological study of local understandings of economic development in a small regional town in far North Queensland, Australia. How do preferences regarding lifestyle and social wellbeing impact on those living in the community? The study takes a particular interest in the aspirations, values and choices of the residents and their desires for the future and the future of their town. Throughout this thesis I argue that social wellbeing and lifestyle are important factors in Cardwell residents' choices and feature predominantly in their approaches to economic development. I contextualise this study through a comparative analysis of the effects of economic development on the wellbeing and lifestyle of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in the Cardwell region of north Australia. This comparison arises firstly from an anthropological interest in the circumstances of Australian Aboriginal people as a significant minority in regional towns. Explicit attention is directed toward the Aboriginal people of the Cardwell region as they constitute a socially and culturally distinct sector of the local population. Secondly, my study explores ways in which comparative work of this kind may be instructive on cultural issues relevant to economic development. This is a study of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, who live in similar circumstances, and who, I propose, regard factors other than economic development as important. It is argued that while the Cardwell region does not provide ample nor a variety of economic opportunities, outward migration remains undesirable to many residents.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2008


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