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Public Adm. 2010;88(4):928-42.

The politics of partnerships: a study of police and housing collaboration to tackle anti-social behaviour on Australian public housing estates.

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University of Tasmania.


This paper draws on the findings from a research project on partnership arrangements between the police and housing departments on three Australian public housing estates to tackle problems associated with illicit drug activity and anti-social behaviour (ASB). The analysis focused on the setting up of the partnerships and the interactions that followed from these institutional arrangements. The assumption that informs the paper is that when studying partnerships there is a need for a more critically framed analysis. The temptation to posit "a successful model" of what partnership entails and then to judge practices in relation to this model is considerable, but it inevitably falls into the trap of constructing a narrative of partnership success or failure in terms of individual agency (that is, the degree of commitment from individuals). The analysis undertaken in this paper has therefore sought to fathom a more complex set of organizational processes. Rather than confine the discussion to issues of success and failure, the study foregrounds the subjective accounts of individuals who work within partnership and the constraints they encounter. The paper therefore makes explicit the cultural tensions within and across agencies, contestation as to the extent of the policy "problem," and the divergent perspectives on the appropriate modes of intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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