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  • Social stability is the missing link underpinning economic growth

    Posted on September 1, 2015

    Eva Cox, University of Technology Sydney, Keynote speaker at TASA 2015

    Can governments plan Australia’s future just by improving selected economic indicators? Will a focus on creating more jobs, cutting taxes and growing GDP be enough to ensure well-being? These are the core agenda items being pushed by the Abbott government. Yet they may prove to be much too limited to be the main items for policy decisions about Australia’s future.

    A recent summit on future policy needs, auspiced by The Australian Financial Review and The Australian newspapers, accepted these items as setting its main direction. Read more…

  • Gender Studies

    Posted on August 25, 2015

    Gender Studies - Key books from Routledge   Gender Studies – Key Books from Routledge


           Routledge is pleased to present a range of books on Gender Studies.

    Check them out here!

  • Academic Work/Life Balance: Challenges for Theory and Practice

    Posted on August 20, 2015

    Nick Osbaldiston & Fabian Cannizzo

    Re-Examining Academic Work/Life in Neoliberal Times

    In our forthcoming article in the Journal of Sociology, ‘Academic Work/Life Balance: A Brief Quantitative Analysis of the Australian Experience’, we explore how academic staff experience work/life balance, finding that the concept of ‘life’ within the work/life dichotomy has often assumed characteristics. The distinction of work and non-work life is a historically-contingent coupling, with its most recent manifestation in the discourse of work/life ‘balance’ during the 1990s (Lewis, Gambles and Rapoport 2007). Read more…

  • Blogging @ TASA

    Posted on August 17, 2015

    I’m delighted to announce that I’ve recently been appointed TASA Blog Editor by the Executive.

    I founded one of Australia’s leading political and social affairs blogs, Larvatus Prodeo, and edited it for many years. For a range of interesting reasons (about which I may write some day), blogging on politics, society and economics in Australia has been eclipsed by Twitter on one hand and colonised by mainstream media on the other. However, it’s in an incipient phase in academe, and I’m delighted to bring my experience to both a new milestone in the blogging cycle and to the task of facilitating and curating conversations in sociology.

    (More details of my experience are on this bio page.)

    We’re very excited by the potential the TASA blog has for communication and debate within the field of sociology and for engagement with broader publics. To that end, I’d like to encourage each and every member of TASA to think about blogging for us.

    Some of the kinds of posts we welcome include, but are not limited to:

    • Informed sociological commentary or ‘explainer’ pieces on current issues and debates, such as: asylum seeker policy, same sex marriage, tax reform, and so on;
    • Short, accessible introductory pieces that speak to a recently published journal article, book chapter, or book. These might include a summary of findings/argument to draw attention to a longer piece of writing;
    • Reports on TASA seminars, public lectures, meetings, and other significant events;
    • Symposia around important books or articles.

    General guidelines for writing for the TASA Blog are:

    • Blog posts should be written in a publicly accessible language that can reach a broad audience beyond academia;
    • Most pieces should be short (500 – 1000 words);
    • Posts can link to longer pieces of writing;
    • Posts can include images (still or moving GIFs) or videos.

    I am looking forward to hearing from you and can be contacted by emailing

    Dr Mark Bahnisch


  • Fat, Food & the Body

    Posted on August 10, 2015

    Food and the Body           Fat, Food & the Body


    Routledge is pleased to present a range of books on Fat, Food and the Body.


                  Check them out here!

  • Economic Sociology: State of Play and Fault Lines for Future Research

    Posted on August 6, 2015

    Economic Sociology Forum – Thursday 23rd July, University of Sydney

    Anoushka Benbow-Buitenhuis, RMIT University

    Since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, mainstream neoclassical economics as the dominating discourse has been challenged across the social and economic sciences. Influential works by economists Thomas Piketty and Joseph Stiglitz have enjoyed commercial success and helped to legitimize discussion about economic inequality and the negative effects of marketization on society. The Sociology of Economic Life Thematic Group held this forum to examine the current state of economic sociology in Australia and to highlight these new opportunities. The forum featured five eminent scholars: Emerita Professor Raewyn Connell, Professor Gabrielle Meagher, Dr Ben Spies-Butcher, Professor Jocelyn Pixley and Professor Michael Gilding. Alongside these distinguished speakers, we also had 51 in attendance – in this audience, a mixture of postgraduate researchers, Early Career Researchers and interested people outside the academy.

    SoEL event

    Read more…

  • Emotions at work: Identity, self and society

    Posted on July 13, 2015

    The 4th Sociology of Emotions and Affect Workshop: Emotions at work: Identity, self and society

    Susan Banks, University of Tasmania, recipient of the thematic group bursary to attend this event

    My work is focused on emotions, work and identity. How do people involved in aged care and disability support experience and understand care? What happens to meaning in the practice of support? Working out how to talk about my research to the Sociology of Emotions and Affect Workshop challenged me to put my still-in-flux thinking about what my study has turned up into a (hopefully) logical story. I have found that trying to speak about my work to various audiences has really helped me to think more clearly about both what I am learning and how to explain it. And the time limits of presenting are a great discipline—sometimes speaking forces a kind of clarity that seems elusive on the page!

    The great thing about the TASA Workshop was that the papers all approached emotion differently; hearing how others are applying notions of emotion work to different public issues was enlightening. As well, there was a great sense of common cause in the room, and the questions and discussions really shook up some of my thoughts.

    Like many post-grad students, the attraction of attending an amazingly relevant workshop like this one had to be weighed up against the cost (especially since Brisbane is a long way from Hobart). Getting the bursary made that feel much less scary; it’s good to feel supported both in the work and along the candidature path.

  • Test scores aren’t good quality indicators for schools or students

    Posted on June 22, 2015

    Jennifer Chesters, University of Canberra

    In a new research paper, prominent education researcher John Hattie suggests current education policies aren’t improving our place in world education rankings because we are appealing to what parents want rather than doing what we know works in education.

    He identifies five “distractions” we tend to focus on that have little or no effect on improving education outcomes: appeasing the parents; fixing the infrastructure; fixing the students; fixing the schools; and fixing the teachers.

    Rather than label these quick-fixes as distractions, it may be better to reframe the debate and examine why, and indeed if, parents are concerned about Australia’s place in the world ranking of education systems. Read more…

  • Speaking with: Hazel Easthope on designing for high density living

    Posted on June 20, 2015

    Dallas Rogers, University of Western Sydney

    Australia’s growing population has put enormous pressure on the housing market within the major cities, which have expanded further and further out.

    But new settlements on the urban fringe require governments to invest in costly new infrastructure, and states such as Victoria and New South Wales have started to build up, rather than build out. This effort to combat urban sprawl has lead to a rapid growth in the number of high density housing being built closer to existing infrastructure.

    This presents unique challenges: noisy neighbours, smaller living areas, more shared spaces, and increased burdens on existing infrastructure. Read more…

  • Identity, Neoliberalism and Aspiration: Educating White Working-class Boys

    Posted on June 20, 2015

    Examining the learner identities of white working-class boys in the United Kingdom

    By Garth Stahl

    In the United Kingdom, it is widely documented, both in academic circles and in the popular press, that white working-class children consistently underperform at school. Today this ethnic group is considered to be one of the lowest performing in terms of educational attainment. The persistence of white working-class underachievement was also noted widely in the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills [OFSTED] (2014) annual report for the 2012-2013 academic year, where a poverty of low expectations was linked to ‘stubbornly low outcomes that show little sign of improvement’ (p. 1). Furthermore, the white working-class were portrayed as devoid of aspiration: “white young people have lower educational aspirations than most other ethnic groups” (Department for Children, 2008).  Read more…

  • Rethinking elements of informed consent for living kidney donation: Findings from a New Zealand study

    Posted on June 18, 2015

    Rhonda Shaw, Victoria University of Wellington

    Although healthcare professionals (HCPs) and bioethicists appear to dominate discussion around kidney transplantation, sociologists began researching this field over four decades ago. The ethical issues they raised remain salient today.

    Live kidney transplantation is increasingly offered as an alternative treatment modality for end-stage renal failure, due to its benefits for extending and improving quality of life, and its cost-effectiveness compared to long-term dialysis therapy. Consequently, the number of the number of living kidney donations has expanded in many jurisdictions. Two concerns critics raise with respect to this practice relate to the promotion of altruism to increase donor numbers and the matter of informed consent. Read more…

  • No means no: how resistance training for women can stop (some) rape

    Posted on June 18, 2015

    Anastasia Powell, RMIT University

    A Canadian study has found that university women participating in a rape-prevention program involving “resistance training” were significantly less likely to be sexually assaulted in the next year.

    In their New England Journal of Medicine article, Professor Charlene Senn and her colleagues report that their program reduced women’s risk of rape by half: from one to ten for women who did not receive the program, to one in 20 for those who did. Read more…

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