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  • Seeking refuge in a sea of troubles

    Posted on November 19, 2015

    Andrew Jakubowicz, University of Technology Sydney

    During September, while Europe was experiencing the ever-intensifying movement of populations from the Middle East and Africa fleeing natural and human calamities, I was on a field trip to China. My contact with the crisis came from the constantly recycling footage on BBC and CNN, topped up with China Daily reports, and occasionally an online hit from the ABC. Read more…

  • Why grant wins hurt us all

    Posted on November 13, 2015

    Dr Kay Cook writes:
    When the ARC Discovery project funding was announced, I was among the lucky few who read their name on the outcomes table. But my reaction was not one of elation, but a strange mixture of pride and guilt. Grant success: I’m doing it wrong!

    I’ve spent the time since the announcement trying to figure out why this was the case, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s not something wrong with me (well, not related to grant funding, anyway), but that there’s something terribly wrong with the funding system, especially for women and early career researchers.

    The success rate for this year’s Discovery projects was 17.7 per cent and for DECRA projects, 16.4 per cent. As a successful DP applicant, I was among the lucky few. But these figures hide two other tales. One is of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of investigators who were unsuccessful and received no acknowledgement of the time and effort spent preparing their applications. For these researchers, the opportunity costs are enormous. Not only do they have no grant to show for their efforts, but they have also forgone months of time that could have been spent writing publications or seeking other, smaller scale funding. This is wasted time and a lack of output that only further hampers their future ARC efforts. Read more…

  • Blog Editor

    Posted on November 6, 2015

    The TASA blog was launched in January, 2015.  In June 2015, Mark Bahnisch was appointed as blog editor.  TASA members are invited to contribute to the blog space via

  • Raewyn Connell on the Logic & Practice of Writing For Research

    Posted on October 22, 2015

    Raewyn Connell writes:

    Myths and realities

    There are two great myths that distort our picture of writing – one old, one new.

    The old myth is that writing is simply a matter of genius and inspiration.  Someone blessed with the gift sits down on a fine morning with pen in hand, the ghostly Muse whispers in his or her ear, and a brilliant text springs forth.  No-one understands how.  All we can do is gasp in admiration – and hope that the Muse will whisper in our ear, next time.

    The new myth is less poetic.  It arose in the brains of neoliberal managers and reflects their obsession with competition.  In this myth, writing is no more than a marketable product, which dedicated individuals manufacture and sell in their competitive struggle for achievement.  The best profits, in terms of prestige and promotion, come from targeting the highly-cited journals.

    Both myths have enough contact with reality to seem plausible – at times.  Much writing is actually done by someone sitting down alone with a pen or computer and agonizing over their ideas.  Increasingly, writing for research is published through a competitive and commercialized industry.

    But both those myths distort the reality of writing, in dangerous ways.  Read more…

  • Abyan, reproductive justice and human rights

    Posted on October 21, 2015

    Kate Galloway writes:

    I have rarely seen such a retweeted story in my timeline as Guardian Australia’s story about the secret repatriation to Nauru of the asylum seeker known as ‘Abyan’. This Somali refugee is pregnant, allegedly as a consequence of rape on Nauru. She begged to be brought to Australia for a termination and in the face of a widespread campaign, the Australian government did bring her here.

    According to her lawyer, George Newhouse, she sought counselling before consenting to any medical treatment. Guardian Australia reports that in doing so, the Australian government took her failure to consent immediately as a refusal of treatment. While her lawyers were bringing an application for an injunction before the Federal Court, the Australian government chartered a flight and flew Abyan back to Nauru.

    Abortion is illegal in Nauru. Read more…

  • Bestselling Books from Routledge Sociology…

    Posted on October 21, 2015

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  • The Value of Academic Freedom

    Posted on October 20, 2015

    Fabian Cannizzo writes:

    A little while ago, a paper emerged from the interwebs titled “Overflow in science and its implications for trust“. As its parsimonious title suggests, the paper concerns itself with the over-production of scientific research publications (“overflow”) and the implications of this speed of productivity for trust between scientists. The ever growing demand for academic productivity has produced new challenges for scholarly research, as information becomes more readily accessible, voluminous and specialized. The high speed of production of scientific publications (and also academic publications more generally) produces a Matthew Effect within the academic attention economy, whereby well-known scholars become valuable anchors for guiding the broader field and thereby increase in value and esteem. Meanwhile, lesser-known scholars find it increasingly difficult to accrue similar degrees of peer esteem. Essentially – the academically rich get richer and the poor get “I regret to inform you…” Overall, the fields affected by overflow may be experiencing a growing lack of trust, as the push to be ‘visible’ (and hence valuable) provides incentive for researchers to make bolder claims about their findings, to stand out, while journals find it harder to secure reviewers competent in the assessment of the volumes of articles being submitted to them (see Seibert et al.’s paper for an account from USA’s medical sciences).

    The pressure to be popular produces distortions in a range of domains associated with academic and scientific work. Read more…

  • Australian Muslim role models could be the missing link in countering ‘radicalisation’

    Posted on October 15, 2015

    Andrew Jakubowicz, University of Technology Sydney

    The considerable attention given recently to the process of radicalisation is crying out for a social analysis, rather than the conservative media’s predictable campaign to tag it with a religious label, or mobilise a heightened moral panic.

    At its heart this is not an issue of “radicalisation”, which means an increasingly fervent engagement with the roots of an issue. Rather, it is about comprehending the conditions under which an individual decides to engage in murder and suicide. What do we know about why some youth choose this course, and what can be done to head it off? Read more…

  • Tackling economic abuse of women must be part of our domestic violence response

    Posted on October 13, 2015

    Republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons Licence.

    Kristin Natalier writes:

    Australia is making long-overdue moves aimed at stopping domestic violence. These responses focus almost exclusively on physical injury and death.

    Consequently, we are not recognising the existence and impact of less obvious forms of abuse that damage women’s well-being. One particularly widespread and insidious example is economic abuse. Read more…

  • Youth Studies

    Posted on October 8, 2015

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    Check out some of our key titles and explore the Journal of Youth Studies with free access here.

  • Donate to help Postgrads attend #TASA2016

    Posted on October 2, 2015

    The TASA conference is a highlight of the year for many of us, and has a key role in building our identities and opportunities as Australian sociologists. However, as university budgets tighten, many postgraduate students are not funded to attend and cannot otherwise afford to do so. So, the broader community of sociologists misses out on learning about innovative research that will shape the field into the future.

    Read more…

  • #TASA2015 Early Bird Registrations End TODAY, October 2nd

    Posted on October 2, 2015

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