Home List of Titles The socio-technical sustainability of shelter systems and hardware in remote indigenous Australian communities
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- The socio-technical sustainability of shelter systems and hardware in remote indigenous Australian communities
- Seemann, Kurt Walter
- This study examines the sustainability of introduced shelter systems and hardware in remote indigenous Australian communities. European colonisation has substantially influenced the lifestyles of indigenous Australians through introduced technologies, training and development policies. Previous studies have focused on specialist approaches in health, economics and education. Little Australian research exists which integrates the underlying social, technical and contextual factors affecting the sustainability of introduced technologies. This study examines the thesis that to improve the sustainability of introduced technologies there is a need to develop a holistic understanding of technological activity. It will be argued that this holistic understanding begins with developing knowledge of how the above-mentioned factors singularly and collectively influence the capacity of communities to manage introduced technologies. Cross-discipline research in small and remote settlements has been constrained by a dearth of appropriate theoretical frameworks. This thesis develops and proposes a framework that integrates selective aspects of ekistic classification theory with socio-technical systems theory. The model emphasises research at the level of community functions. It defines these functions as socio-technical systems that are influenced by their greater settlement environment. The integrated framework of this study helped to identify new knowledge and data patterns while also confirming existing knowledge of shelter and training in indigenous Australian communities. Most communities struggled to learn from their technology choice and maintenance experiences. Many indigenous Australians adopted incompatible social organization patterns to that needed to sustain introduced technologies. These communities were organisationally and technically ill-equipped/poorly supported to manage their shelter systems and hardware. Several communities had difficulty reconciling traditional social organisation with introduced shelter management needs and vocational training policies. Many communities were attempting to function substantially below their critical minimum of occupational skills. As a result of the research it was recommended that communities and government develop principles of indigenous technological empowerment. These principles included a greater emphasis on skills development in technacy (holistic technological problem solving) and organisational (project) management as well as processes that foster innovations and local innovators rather than perpetuating specialist technical skills training alone. A case was found for government to develop policies and programs that supported local independent technology services similar to those in community health and education.
- Publication type
- Thesis (PhD)
- Publication year
- Aboriginal Australians; Housing; Introduced technologies; Sustainability; Socio-technical systems
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 1997 Kurt Walter Seemann.
- Thesis Note
- [Submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the School of Architecture, the University of New South Wales, 1997.]
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