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TASA Blogs

  • 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…

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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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  • ‘Separate worlds: A discourse analysis of mainstream and Aboriginal populist…’

    Posted on June 17, 2015

    Separate worlds: A discourse analysis of mainstream and Aboriginal populist media accounts of the Northern Territory Emergency Response in 2007

    Fiona Proudfoot, School of Social Sciences, University of Tasmania, Australia
    Daphne Habibis, School of Social Sciences, University of Tasmania, Australia

    In our  articleSeparate worlds: A discourse analysis of mainstream and Aboriginal populist media accounts of the Northern Territory Emergency Response in 2007we  present a comparative critical discourse analysis (CDA) of  Aboriginal and mainstream media reportage on the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER).  The key concern of this article was to understand how a democratic nation could impose a radical program of control over Australian citizens with measures requiring the suspen­sion of its own Racial Discrimination Act (Australian Government, 1975). Read more…

  • Religion, aesthetics and moral ontology

    Posted on June 8, 2015

    Ezzy, D. (2014). Religion, aesthetics and moral ontology. Journal of Sociology.

    Modernity has failed to develop an adequate institutionalised framework to manage emotions. Cognitively oriented beliefs seem inadequate to this task. However strong our will, we cannot tell ourselves to feel differently. The religious practices that in the past were central to the management of emotions now seem confused and misdirected. They are all too often used to justify fear, brutality, and scientifically implausible ideas. The scientific revolution did not lead to the end of religion and the relegation of emotions. Rather, repressed emotions have resurfaced, and emotions and aesthetics plays an ever more obvious role in shaping choices of religious practitioners. Read more…

  • ‘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…

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  • 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…

  • ‘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.

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