Housing for Health in Indigenous Australia: Driving Change when Research and Policy are Part of the Problem

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Abstract

The failures of social policy in Indigenous Australia are legion, to the current point where the former national government declared a national state of emergency in its own borders. In calmer times, recommendations for solutions almost inevitably include a call for more practice-oriented research to increase the evidence base informing social interventions. Just as inevitably, researchers bemoan the difficulties of influencing policy and the culpabilities involved; while policy practitioners have equally standardized frustrations concerning the irrelevance of much research. Many understand this familiar division, almost affectionately, as a function of the different organizational cultures separating the academy from the bureaucracy. This paper complicates this longstanding binary by drawing on an example of an evidence-based program to improve housing functionality in Indigenous Australia, known as Housing for Health. Stereotypical claims about the cultural differences separating policy and research are replaced with lessons about the specific characteristics of those who would wield effective strategic-administrative interventions and are able to enjoin evidence to action. Copyright � 2008 by the Society for Applied Anthropology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Organization
Volume67
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • bureaucracy
  • environmental conditions
  • indigenous population
  • research
  • social housing
  • social policy

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