Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Details

Bradford, A. & Kerr, G. M. (2012). Engagement about engagement: a local government perspective. In P. Dalziel (Eds.), Refereed Proceedings of the Australia and New Zealand Regional Science Association International (ANZRSAI) Conference (pp. 61-68). Canterbury, New Zealand: AERU Research Unit.


This paper provides the foundation for research aimed at developing a greater understanding of the meaning of community engagement on the part of stakeholders in the context of democratic governments. An introduction to the history of democracy as the underpinning of government in countries including England, United States and Australia establishes the foundation of citizen’s participation in all levels of government decision making. The process of citizens and government interacting to achieve decisions is referred to as ‘community engagement’. Various definitions and models are provided and demonstrate that while they address levels and process of community engagement, they do not examine the meaning of community engagement from different stakeholder perspectives. A research agenda based on a phenomenological approach is proposed which seeks to identify the population of meanings held by stakeholders with regard to community engagement.