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  • Social Movements in China: Augmenting Mainstream Theory with Guanxi

    Posted on February 20, 2017

    TASA member Xiaoying Qi discusses her paper “Social Movements in China: Augmenting Mainstream Theory with Guanxi”, Posted February 2017. Click here to start listening to Sociology Podcast No. 16.

  • Increased private health insurance premiums don’t mean increased value

    Posted on February 18, 2017

    Karen Willis, Australian Catholic University and Sophie Lewis, University of Sydney

    A topic of discussion at many barbecues this summer will inevitably be private health insurance. Is it worth it? Do we need it? Every year it gets more expensive. The average 4.8% increase in premiums just announced will have more Australians raising these questions, and debating with their friends how much they value choice of doctor, reduced waiting times for elective surgery, and having a private room when in hospital.

    Private health insurance is mostly a private industry, but governments play a key role in ensuring private health insurance companies remain profitable and viable. Government policies encourage us all to have private health insurance by providing incentives for people to take out health insurance and imposing tax penalties for those on high incomes who do not have private health insurance. Read more…

  • Shared ownership can help make housing affordable for people with disability

    Posted on February 16, 2017

    Ilan Wiesel, University of Melbourne and Karen R Fisher, UNSW

    The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is expected to help more people with disability access the support services they need to live independently in the community. But the majority of NDIS participants have low incomes. So, without substantial financial assistance, they struggle to find affordable housing to move into.

    In recent years there has been much public policy discussion about shared ownership housing models – also known as shared equity – as part of the solution for this problem. Read more…

  • Prize fight over live-streamed sport will go on long after the final bell sounds

    Posted on February 14, 2017

    David Rowe, Western Sydney University and Brett Hutchins, Monash University

    When a Brisbane boxing fan who paid $59.95 for “live and exclusive” viewing of last Friday’s Danny Green v Anthony Mundine boxing match streamed it off his TV through a smartphone and Facebook Live, he landed quite a blow beneath Foxtel’s belt. An estimated 300,000 tuned in via this and another unauthorised stream.

    This is the latest skirmish over premium live sport in Australia. Foxtel’s high-priced oligopolistic control over Australian pay TV has again clashed with the demands of sport fans and the increasingly sophisticated capture and relay technologies available to them.

    In a constantly changing TV sport environment, pay-TV providers have many more bruising bouts ahead of them – unless they let go of their conventional model of TV-based subscription and move to multiple platforms. Read more…

  • ‘Fat, bland, boring incubators’: ordinary pregnant women don’t feel like Beyoncé

    Posted on February 12, 2017

    Meredith Nash, University of Tasmania

    Stop the presses, Beyoncé is pregnant.

    For a brief moment last week, the headlines shifted from Trump to the “Queen Bey”, who dropped the news of her twin pregnancy on Instagram in a post garnering nearly 10 million “likes”.

    Beyoncé announced her twin pregnancy via Instagram.
    via Beyoncé on Instagram

    Kneeling beside a wall of flowers and caressing her belly, Beyoncé stares straight at the camera wearing a maroon bra, pale blue panties, and a veil. Following her Instagram teaser, Beyoncé released a further 17 photographs featuring religious, royal, and maternal references on her website.

    These pictures are no accident – they make a powerful statement on black motherhood in 2017.

    But they’re very different from a photo series of ordinary women I captured in my study: The Tasmanian Pregnancy Pictures Project. Two key findings from this study include:


    1) women’s self-produced pictures reflect changing cultural and bodily norms in pregnancy, and

    2) celebrity pregnancy photos form an important backdrop for these changing norms. Read more…

  • Middle Eastern migrants aren’t ‘piling on to the dole queue’

    Posted on February 10, 2017

    John van Kooy, University of Melbourne

    Claims that Middle Eastern migrants are “piling on to the dole queue” are misleading. The data actually shows that, after an initial period of relatively high unemployment, labour force participation and employment rates amongst migrant communities eventually reach parity with the rest of the population.

    Recently released labour force data indicates that people born in North Africa and the Middle East have unemployment rates of 33.5% during the first five years of settlement in Australia.

    Settling well in Australia often takes time for people from migrant backgrounds. The first few years can involve significant personal, social and economic transition. Refugees, in particular, can face challenges in dealing with the trauma of forced displacement.

    Discrimination based on race in the Australian labour market is also real, as evidenced by study after study. A ‘visible difference’ (such as skin colour or religious attire) can negatively affect candidates’ chances for a job. Read more…

  • Digital Discussion Series: Homeward Bound Expedition interview with Meredith Nash

    Posted on February 8, 2017

    TASA member Meredith Nash is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Tasmania and researcher in the field of feminist sociology of the body, health sociology and human geography. Her research has informed the Australian government’s policy and health practice and has received international recognition through the global media, quotation, and award. To study the leadership experiences of women in science, she will be following the participants of the Homeward Bound program for the next three years and evaluating how they utilize the skills gained from the program. This evaluation will provide essential knowledge for the development of long-term industry and policy responses to elevating women in science, technology, engineering, math and medicine globally. Listen to her UNAI interview here.

    This article was originally posted on the United Nations Academic Impact page.

  • Is democracy a form of government that works?

    Posted on February 6, 2017

    TASA member Alan Scott, is the Continuing Education Officer for the Applied Sociology thematic group. Each month, Alan writes about a topic that has caught his eye. This month’s topic is on democracy.

    Last week I wandered around the local market.  There I found a book by H.G. Wells (21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946) that I didn’t know existed.  For those who don’t know him, he was a prolific English writer.   He is remembered today, mostly for his science fiction stories.  However, the book I found, published in 1928, shows he also wrote articles for newspapers in both England and the U.S.  In the introduction he rails against the editors who cut his articles to pieces, and assures the present readers that the content of this book is what he originally wrote.  The title is “The Way the World is Going” and, from what I have read so far, could have been written yesterday.

    Much of what he writes is political sociology, taking things a lot closer to the bone than perhaps others would today.  For example: Read more…

  • The markers of everyday racism in Australia

    Posted on February 4, 2017

    Claire Smith, Flinders University; Jordan Ralph, Flinders University, and Kellie Pollard, Flinders University

    While Australians value equality, our multicultural nation contains markers of racial discrimination. Some are so innocuous we may not recognise them.

    Experiencing racism is part of the everyday lives of many Australians. What is it like to negotiate daily life in a material world that often excludes you, or selectively seeks to control you?

    Let’s try to understand the experience of everyday racism by negotiating the material world of an Aboriginal person in northern Australia. You have come into Katherine, Northern Territory, from a remote community. It might be say, Barunga, 80 kilometres away, or Bulman 300 kilometres away, or Lajamanu, 600 kilometres away. Read more…

  • Survey: Impact of the Soviet-Afghan war (1979-1989) on the first post-Soviet generation: a study into transmission of war-related trauma.

    Posted on February 2, 2017

    TASA member Anna Denejkina is currently conducting research (Approval number: UTS HREC REF NO. ETH16-0356) into transmission of combat-related trauma from parent to child, specifically looking at how the Soviet-Afghan war (1979-1989) impacted on the first post-Soviet generation.

    Anna’s research would be of interest to anyone with a Russian, Ukrainian, or Eastern European background.
    The survey is specifically focused on people whose parent(s) or close relative(s) served in Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan war.
    The survey is available in Russian and English.


  • Dignity in a Consumer Society: Thinking with Bauman and Hochschild

    Posted on January 31, 2017

    This article was written by TASA member Fabian Cannizzo. It was originally published on his blog and republished here with full permission from Fabian. 

    Advanced democratic societies are in need of new models to understand the politics emerging under the labels of neo-conservatism, ethno-nationalism, the alt-right, and, occasionally, anti-politics. The ostensive failure of polls to predict Trump’s presidency, alongside the re-emergence of Pauline Hanson and her One Nation politics in Australia (among countless other examples in Europe and Britain) has not deterred political commentators from drawing on the logic of party politics – that is, that individuals and communities are seeking representatives to support their ideologies or interests through positions of power.

    For example, an article published by Rationalist Society member Hugh Harris earlier today probed the One Nation Party’s ideological support base through the keyhole issue of terrorism:

    Growing levels of support for One Nation and other parties of its ilk are amplified by the infuriating determination of major party leaders to deny the link between religious belief and Islamism… Refusing to acknowledge what is so obvious and in plain view fuels an ardent desire to hear someone talk honestly about it.

    Surely, we can acknowledge the influence of the Islamic fundamentalism in groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram, while calmly recognising that these extreme views are held by only a minority of Muslims. Concepts such as jihadism, martyrdom, hard-line sharia law and Dar al-Harb (House of War) are central to Salafi jihadism, and inseparable from Islamic terrorism.

    The assumption that the One Nation Party continues to gather support because its leaders promise to address this issue by abolishing those “who bear a culture and ideology that is incompatible with our own” implies knowledge about her voting base. However, a short trip down the page, to the nefarious comments section of Harris’ article reveals a petri dish of discontent and admiration. Read more…

  • Video: Picturing pregnancy

    Posted on January 29, 2017

    TASA member Meredith Nash from the University of Tasmania asked a question that no other sociologist had asked before: How would women document their experiences of pregnancy if they were given a camera? She gave pregnant Tasmanian women digital cameras and asked them to photograph whatever they felt best captured their lives and experiences. Two years and 2000 photographs later, she explains why these pictures invite new possibilities for thinking about pregnancy body image. See the video below:

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