Networking The 'Bush' - Is There Anyone Out There?


  • Janice Franklin University of New England



rural networks, equity, access, professional practice, pedagogies, rural sustainability


Local rural communities and individuals are increasingly disarmed by the socially transforming processes of post modern times including the globalisation of rural production systems and trade. There is a new climate 'in the bush' that is imbued with a deep suspicion that globalisation processes will continue to threaten the sustainability of agrarian practices and continue to impose relentless 'restructuring' of both rural customs and industrial capacities. Networks between rural communities of widely separated social and cultural landscapes are as challenging to achieve as the possibilities of networking across the cultural, political and economic divide that stands between local rural jurisdictions and empowered and enriched national and global spheres. These 'higher' jurisdictions more closely reflect metropolitan social, economic and environmental needs and aspirations, and tend to overlook the validity and value of the local social and cultural places 'below', even as these might mysteriously maintain vital landscape and industrial assets.

How then do we connect the multiplicity and variety of increasingly disabled local places when the networks between these local places have been weakened by both social and physical disconnections, leaving them sporadic and incomplete? Rural networks are dependent not only on an equal and equitable access to the infrastructure of interpersonal connections - communication, transport and education - but also on the human capacities and perceptions that motivate (or reject) the seeking out and maintenance of such networks.

In attempting to network more widely and deeply between local rural communities and national and global spheres, educators must address the reality that the shallow and incomplete networks that lie across and between rural landscapes must first be re aligned and interconnected. The recognition that an inter community network is largely missing might also illuminate the need for rural education advocates and practitioners to take a more courageous stand in the facilitation of relationships between separate rural locales by employing education practices that connect locally relevant issues and teach for the intellectual re arming of potential rural leaders and their communities. The deployment of sympathetic and appropriate actions by educators to disarm the persistent and pervasive deficit paradigm in rural schooling, and the development of a critical rural education paradigm focused on excellence, equality and equity is urgently needed. Transformative practices in education and a political commitment to funding crucial communication and transport networks and a rural education 'revolution', are the precursors to building networks to connect local, national and global spheres.




How to Cite

Franklin, J. . (2013). Networking The ’Bush’ - Is There Anyone Out There?. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 23(2), 53–63.