A cyber safety poster/pamphlet comes to life as an object of governance

lcj-16Trevor van Weeren

LCJ: Special Edition: Governance, 15, pp. 12-17

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van Weeren, T. (2015). A cyber safety poster/pamphlet comes to life as an object of governance. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts [Special Issue: Governance], 15, 12-17. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18793/LCJ2015.15.03.



During their end of financial year budget sessions in 2012 the East Arnhem Land regional arm of the Government department responsible for Indigenous Affairs, earmarked some money and created a project concept to address feedback given at community-based ‘Stronger Futures’ consultations. I begin by imagining ‘Community Feedback’ like the ball Serres’ (1995) has us imagining in drawing attention to the relation between a ball and children playing a game. ‘Community feedback’ might be imagined as an object of governance – like the ball that skillful children playing a game are ‘ordered around by.’ Accordingly, the actions of the skillful public servants involved in the ‘Stronger Futures’ consultations setting about their ‘game’ brought to life another object of governance : The Makmakthurr gurruṯu rom ga gurruṯumirri mala (Connect with Respect) - Cyber safety poster/pamphlet. 

In the ‘Stronger Futures’ discussions, community elders in three Yolŋu Aboriginal communities spoke of their concerns and worries about what was happening with new technology, and in particular, mobile phones. The government workers were told that the younger generations were using the new technologies in ways that were having serious consequences within the community. These consequences manifested in various conflicts and trouble within social networks and cultural relations. The public servants ‘translated’ these discussions into a small program to support communities to work through some of these issues. The project was given a catchy name, ‘Talking Strong Staying Safe’ (TSSS).


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