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  • Classic Sociology: Foucault & Chomsky

    Posted on September 26, 2016

    From the archives

    In this great debate from 1971, Michel Foucault and Noam Chomsky disagree about the fundamental qualities of ”human nature” and the key task of social science in helping humanity achieve its collective potential. Chomsky believes that the social sciences should draw up a framework for an ideal society where creativity, freedom and scientific discovery will flourish. He sees it is our task to help to put this plan into action. Foucault argues that there is no ideal concept of social justice that can be universally applied. Instead, he sees that social scientists are tasked with critiquing social institutions and relations of power in different societies. Read more…

  • Research Fellow Employment Opportunity

    Posted on September 25, 2016

    The Youth Research Centre (YRC) in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne is hiring a Research Fellow with expertise in quantitative analysis (4 years, Level B). The successful candidate will primarily contribute to the Life Patterns Project (working with a team including TASA members Johanna Wyn and Dan Woodman).

    Closing date is soon, October 4, 2016!

    Information on the position and how to apply:

    Professor Johanna Wyn can be contacted for further information: [email protected]

  • Explainer: what is fat studies?

    Posted on September 24, 2016

    Deborah Lupton, University of Canberra

    Fat studies is an academic area of research and scholarship. It’s not about fat as a dietary substance, but rather about fat human bodies. Fat studies is an interdisciplinary field, combining perspectives and research methods from the humanities and social sciences. It builds on the tradition of gender studies and queer studies, focusing attention on the social, cultural, historical and political aspects of the ways in which fatness as a phenomenon and fat people are portrayed and treated.

    In the late 20th century, concern began to be expressed in medical and public health circles about an apparent “obesity epidemic” in western countries, including Australia. The media reported warnings from doctors and health promoters that an increasing proportion of people in these countries could be categorised as “overweight” or “obese” using the body mass index (BMI) measurement. This was viewed as a public health crisis, as it was calculated that people in these categories would suffer from higher rates of illness and disease, and die prematurely. Read more…

  • Uni Graduations and… well, Pauline Hanson…

    Posted on September 23, 2016

    Written by James Arvanitakis’s, this article was originally published on his Blog. Read the original article.
    james-arvanitakisLast week Western Sydney University had its September graduations. It is always an important event for those graduating, their families and also the university – something that it true for all universities.

    It is an event that the University takes seriously – and is always well attended by senior management and staff…

    But last week was particularly special…

    After walking on to the stage, the first part of any graduations ceremony is the national anthem. Whenever I take part in singing the national anthem, I always take a moment to reflect on the hopes of our nation: thinking to myself, ‘what would Australia look like at its best?’

    It was a strange day because the night before, Senator Pauline Hanson had delivered her second maiden speech. You know the one – and there is no link required… it does not need any more hits on youtube. Read more…

  • A Moment with Professor Raewyn Connell

    Posted on September 22, 2016

    From the archives

    Nick Osbaldiston – James Cook University

    Raewyn Connell (University of Sydney) agreed to give us some of her time for this issue of Nexus as a prelude to her keynote address at the TASA Conference this year, alongside Professors John Holmwood (Nottingham) and Celia Lury (Warwick). We hope you enjoy this discussion, which we’re certain will continue at the conference.

    Nick Osbaldiston (NO): You’ve been a member of TASA for a long time now, what do you think the state of sociology is? Do you think we can find a good niche in the ‘neoliberal’ university?

    Raewyn Connell (RC): Yes. I don’t think it would be hard. A bit over 10 years ago, I wrote an article thinking about sociology in the market world, and the reconfiguration of knowledge that was happening. [1] In the political re-ordering of the social sciences, economics is now on top – or at any rate, a particular version of economics is now the social science that has the dominant voice in the policy world, has Nobel Prizes where no other social science does, and so forth. What was the role of sociology in that context? I argued that sociology does have a place in the neoliberal world: it’s the science of the failures, so to speak.

    Read more…

  • TASA Executive Portfolio Leaders

    Posted on September 21, 2016




    Finances – Kristin Natalier




    Public Engagement 

    Research Engagement and Impact Strategy

    Thematic Groups



  • Raewyn Connell Explains… What are Masculinities?

    Posted on September 20, 2016

    From the archives
    raewyn-connell-masculinity2_o_GIFSoup.comWell for me, masculinity is a pattern of practice. So it’s not an attitude; it’s not what’s in people’s heads; it’s not the state of their hormones; it’s what they actually do in the world and that’s something that has a relationship to your body, to your biology, but not a fixed relationship. So women can behave in a masculine way, though usually it’s men who do, and also there are different patterns of masculinity, so different groups of men will conduct themselves different ways and those patterns can also change over time. And that of course is what we hope to achieve in anti-violence work because some patterns of masculinity do include a willingness to use violence, an openness to using violence. Whereas other patterns of masculinity are, in comparison, peaceable. And part of the problem of reducing violence in the world is to shift from the first and second kind of masculinity. Read more…

  • Are refugee and migrant diasporas the missing piece of the development puzzle?

    Posted on September 19, 2016

    Melissa Phillips, University of Melbourne

    There are more displaced people in the world than ever before. And humanitarian crises across the globe are often in unreachable and volatile places. For example, the United Nations estimates more than 5.47 million internally displaced Syrians are scattered across the country.

    Getting assistance to populations in need demands new ways of doing development that are smarter, faster and more efficient. The status quo is no longer an option.

    One group whose efforts are gaining recognition are diasporas. Diasporas are composed of former migrants and refugees who can play a role in assisting their countries of origin through fundraising, development work and, in some instances, political action. Read more…

  • What are good universities?

    Posted on September 18, 2016

    This article first appeared in the September 2016 issue of AUR, vol. 58, no. 2

    Raewyn Connell, University of Sydney

    This paper considers how we can arrive at a concept of the good university. It begins with ideas expressed by Australian Vice-Chancellors and in the ‘league tables’ for universities, which essentially reproduce existing privilege. It then considers definitions of the good university via wish lists, classic texts, horror lists, structural analysis, and shining examples from history. None of these approaches is enough by itself; but in combination they can be fruitful. The best place to start in defining a good university is by considering the work universities do. This leads to issues about the conditions of the workforce as a whole, the global economy of knowledge, and the innovations bubbling up around the edges of this economy. Read more…

  • Speed dating for Sociology Researchers

    Posted on September 17, 2016

    The Australian Sociological Association’s 2016 LOC are very excited to announce the inaugural Speed dating for Sociology Researchers event! In this session, 8 senior sociology researchers will each have three minutes to explain the importance of their research, related to the conference theme of ‘Cities and Successful Societies’, to a panel of three non-specialist judges, like media professionals, local government members etc. [panel TBC]. The panel members will assign each presentation a score on a scale ranging from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest). These scores will reflect both the presentation content (was it understandable by a non-expert?) and the style of delivery (engaging, stimulating). Scores will be tallied as a tool for the judges and the winner will be decided by the consensus of judges. There will also be an audience vote to decide the recipient of the peoples’ award.

    We hope to have a speed dating academic expert to help prepare the volunteers in a workshop for fine-tuning speed dating skills. If you would like to be a part of this exciting new TASA event, please send an email to [email protected] by October 2nd, 2016.

  • The limit of labels: ethical food is more than consumer choice

    Posted on September 16, 2016

    Christopher Mayes, University of Sydney

    Over the past hundred years, industrial agriculture and the globalised food system have produced cheaper, longer lasting and more diverse food items. We can now enjoy tropical fruits in winter, purchase whole chickens at the price of a cup of coffee, and eat fresh bread long after it was baked.

    Once celebrated as the benevolent results of food science and ingenuity of farmers, these cheap and safe foods are dismissed by critics as the tainted fruits of “Big Food” – the culinary version of Big Tobacco and Big Oil.

    Food is no longer simply a matter of taste or convenience. Our food choices have become ethical and political issues.

    An innocuous but central strategy in these debates is the food label. Read more…

  • TASA apparel and merchandise

    Posted on September 15, 2016

    The Executive are excited to announce the availability of TASA and sociology apparel and merchandise. TASA receives a percentage of the profits on purchases made via the TASA Shop. Available products, like the one fellow member Jo Lindsay is wearing in the image below, can be viewed here.


    Jo Lindsay wearing the ‘Sociologist Security Style T-Shirt: White On Black’

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