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TASA Blogs

  • Why Aboriginal people need autonomy over their food supply

    Posted on May 25, 2015

    Karen Soldatic, UNSW Australia and Kim Spurway, UNSW Australia

    Access to affordable and nutritious food is an ongoing problem in remote Indigenous communities. These areas have an artificially inflated cost of living due to cycles of mining boom and bust, and suffer from a general unavailability of fresh fruit and vegetables and other high-quality foods.

    As well as the high cost of living, limited educational outcomes and work opportunities coupled with insufficient social services, including public transport, create chronic economic insecurity for Indigenous residents. Food is often the first thing to go when there is not enough money to pay the bills. Read more…

  • #budget2015 In the new welfare state, PPL and Childcare are for workers – not women, not children, not families

    Posted on May 21, 2015

    By Assoc. Prof. Kristin Natalier (Flinders), cross-posted from Social Democratic Directions

    The winners and losers of the proposed PPL and child-care policies have become a defining theme of the post-Budget commentary. But calculating winners and losers with reference to what was previously promised compartmentalises the challenges of work and family from the broader economic and political changes. These impact upon parents’ and children’s wellbeing more than PPL and child care ever can.

    Read more…

  • Change to conference papers – refereed papers restricted to postgraduate students

    Posted on May 14, 2015

    The role of refereed full papers for conferences has been under debate in many universities in light of the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) exercise. The ERA system disadvantages disciplines within a university that have a high proportion of conference papers among their outputs. The TASA executive has been receiving reports that universities are now actively instructing academics to not publish in conference proceedings and universities are no longer requiring a refereed paper to access travel funding. Read more…

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  • The value of health: TASA Health Symposium 2014

    Posted on May 11, 2015

    Caragh Brosnan, University of Newcastle
    Emma Kirby, University of Queensland
    Co-Convenors, Health Thematic Group

    The Health Thematic Group held a one-day symposium at the University of South Australia on 28 November 2014, called ‘The value of health: the refiguring of health and health care under neoliberalism’. The symposium drew on one of the key themes that ran through the TASA Conference held earlier in the week – the impact of neoliberalism on society – and set out to examine whether, why and how health and health care are being redefined amid neoliberal reforms, both in Australia and overseas. Around 30 people from across the country and several international visitors attended this lively event, including representatives from academia and public policy. Read more…

  • Surprising perspectives? Palestinian refugees and the right of return?

    Posted on May 11, 2015

    Sobhi Albadawi, PhD candidate, Macquarie University

    My name is Sobhi Albadawi; I was born in the Al’Arroub refugee camp located in Hebron Governorate in the southern part of the West Bank. The camp was established by the United Nation Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) in 1949 when Palestinians were forced to leave their original villages by Jewish forces. I completed my sociology degree at Bethlehem University in Palestine. In 1998, I migrated to Australia and completed my Master’s degree in social policy from the University of Sydney, and obtained a second Master’s degree from the University of New South Wales in international law and international relations. I am the father of three children and I am now doing my PhD at Macquarie University about Palestinian refugees’ right of return. Read more…

  • Researchers must do more to arrest the poor Aboriginal human condition

    Posted on May 11, 2015

    Dr Lester-Irabinna Rigney PhD, Professor and Dean Indigenous Education, The University Adelaide.

    This week some big name thinkers spoke in Adelaide on the urgent need to bring change to the poor conditions of Aboriginal peoples and to stop violence against women.

    At the White Ribbon Day breakfast, Lieutenant General David Morrison AO issued an urgent “call to arms” to Australian men to reconsider their attitudes to women, while on the other side of town, Professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson called for researchers to urgently do more to arrest the poor Aboriginal human condition. Read more…

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  • ‘Looks Good on Your CV’: The sociology of voluntourism recruitment in higher education

    Posted on May 20, 2015

    Colleen McGloin (University of Wollongong)
    Nichole Georgeou (Australian Catholic University)

    Australian Universities encourage private companies to recruit tertiary students to ‘volunteer’ in developing countries through short-term adventure travel. The companies that organise these travel tours are based in the global North and they claim that volunteering increases student employment prospects by demonstrating civic engagement. Marketed as ‘development volunteering’, students are told that in their two weeks abroad they can ‘make a difference’ to poor communities. Our paper ‘Looks Good on Your CV’ critiques these normative assumptions of ‘doing good’, arguing that this conveyor belt of Western engagement with poverty needs to be deconstructed and problematized. By questioning the claims of ‘doing good’ and ‘wanting to help’, we expose the workings of the clever packaging of altruism for private gain. Read more…

  • Sociology of bio-knowledge at the limits of life

    Posted on April 20, 2015

    Alan Petersen, Monash University & Emma Kowal, Deakin University

    Journal Introduction

    Sociology has long had a fraught relationship with biomedicine, biotechnology and the biological sciences – a trio of fields that produce what Petersen has termed ‘bio-knowledge’. This relationship can be traced to the source of the discipline, as sociology’s professional identity has been shaped, to a large extent, by its opposition to biological explanation. As the sociological importance of bio-knowledge has steadily increased, its connection with sociology has continued to be troubled. On the one hand, the notion of biological determinism, which suggests that health and behaviours can be adequately explained by biological processes (e.g. genetics), has long been a major target of sociological analyses and critiques. Read more…

  • The Anzacs and National Identity

    Posted on April 14, 2015

    The traditions associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps soldiers – Anzacs – comprise an important element of the Australian narrative. Our paper published by the Journal of Sociology examines the influence of Anzacs upon contemporary Australian identity.

    The Australian Imperial Force (AIF) volunteer – ‘citizen soldiers’ – at Gallipoli were later combined with New Zealand troops on the Western front to form the ‘Anzacs’. The meaning of this term has changed over time and is now used in popular parlance to refer to all First World War Australian soldiers, including those who served at Gallipoli. These undisciplined volunteers are reported to have defied military rules and undermined the authority of British officers yet risked life and limb in the service of the newly formed Federation, allegedly surviving due to their bush skills, daring and cunning. War correspondents and official historians later transformed these larrikin ‘bushmen’ into heroic pioneer-soldiers, in part contributing to the transformation of Anzac day from a military commemoration to a national holiday promoting ideals, social solidarity and national identity. Today the Anzacs are ‘remembered’ as brave and dutiful soldiers who fought for an independent Australia rather than irreverent larrikins who fought for King and Empire. Read more…

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  • ‘It’s our lot’: how resilience influences the experience of depression in women with urinary incontinence

    Posted on May 25, 2015

    Dr Jodie Avery

    It seems understandable that when faced with a chronic condition such as Urinary Incontinence, women are more likely to experience depression.  The symptoms, burden and costs to women are a constant presence in their daily lives.  Incontinence can be embarrassing and frustrating, and can limit socialising, working and exercise.  Previously we found that women with both incontinence and depression scored lower in all areas of quality of life, because of the impact of incontinence on their physical wellbeing.  However, we also found that many women do not have the same experience or perception of depression, and are able to better manage and cope with the symptoms of their condition, so that it does not have as great an impact on their life.  Read more…

  • Book Review Invitation – HSR

    Posted on April 11, 2015

    The Editors of Health Sociology Review invite reviews of the following books. Accepted reviews will be published in the journal and reviewers get to keep a copy of the book.  If you would like to enquire about reviewing a book please contact Dr Sarah MacLean on (03) 90353114, or

    Louise Warwick-Booth, Ruth Cross & Diane Lowcock 2012 Contemporary health studies: an introduction, Polity Press
    Lisa McDonald 2011. Figuring fertility: poetics in the cultural practices of reproductive science, Post Pressed.
    Francesco Duina 2014 Life transitions in America, Polity Press
    Kieran Keohane & Anders Petersen (Eds) 2013 The social pathologies of contemporary civilization, Ashgate.
    Megan-Jane Johnstone 2013 Alzheimer’s disease, media representations and the politics of euthanasia: constructing risk and selling death in an ageing society, Ashgate.
    Toni Schofield 2015 A sociological approach to health determinants, Cambridge University Press.

  • Health Sociology Review

    Posted on September 10, 2014

    The Health Sociology Review is one of two official, peer-reviewed academic journals of The Australian Sociological Association (TASA).  The journal is published and owned by Taylor & Francis (print ISSN 1446-1242 and online ISSN 1839-3551).  A new editorial team was appointed in late 2014 for the period 2015 – 2018. Joint Editors in Chief, Dr Joanne Bryant and Dr Christy Newman, both from the Centre for Social Research in Health at the University of New South Wales, will begin contributing to this blog page soon. Back issues of the journal can be viewed in the Health Sociology Review archives.

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