Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

An examination of the policy implications of incorporating hermeneutic social impact assessments in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal domains

Pollard, Elizabeth Melinda (Lisa) (1998) An examination of the policy implications of incorporating hermeneutic social impact assessments in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal domains. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

PDF - Whole Thesis
Available Upon Request


This thesis examines the policy implications of incorporating social impact assessments, in both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal domains, with a hermeneutic approach, where meanings, interpretation and understanding are emphasised.

The key findings are that social impact assessment is influenced by a wide range of disciplines and epistemologies. Hermeneutics offers an approach to social impact assessment which breaks down the dichotomies between epistemology and practice; and between technical and interpretive considerations. This promotes a more emancipatory and communicative process.

Issues arising from social impact assessments in Aboriginal domains include the need for: community oriented outcomes; cultural definitions of impacts; a clearer understanding of the role of the practitioner and other stakeholders; an understanding of cumulative impacts; and an understanding of the issues arising from incentives.

These issues can also be seen in non-Aboriginal domains. Hermeneutic approaches which have been developed in Aboriginal domains can therefore lead us to solutions in non-Aboriginal domains.

Limitations and constraints imposed by the bureaucratic and political structures of representative democracy are also identified. Participatory forms of democracy are found to be more receptive to hermeneutic social impact assessment.

People's increasing desire to create a sense of place and articulate aspirations for the future are becoming important for governments and bureaucracies. Hermeneutic approaches in non-Aboriginal, as well as Aboriginal domains, offer one way to accommodate these desires in political and bureaucratic processes.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Stocker, Laura and Booth, Michael
Item Control Page Item Control Page