We examine the relationships between the working arrangements of mineworkers and behavioural issues in their children, using a large Australian matched-pair dataset of workers and their partners. The findings suggest both that workers’ work conditions, and aspects of safety and security influence aspects of child behaviour, reflecting not least the results of tiredness, emotional exhaustion and sleep interruption. In addition, it appears that child behaviour probably influences the pressure experienced by their parents and hence their attitudes towards aspects of work.
The rise in the network society might lead to a decline in face-to-face contact as people substitute it with more mediated forms, or an increase in both face-to-face and mediated contact as complements, with unknown consequences for social support. This article examines trends in social contact, mediated contact (phone, online, etc.), and social support in 2002, 2006 and 2010, using aggregated ABS General Social Survey data. Results show an aggregate decline in face-to-face contact and rise in mediated contact in Australia between 2002 and 2010, but no aggregate decline in perceived social support, and a strong positive individual-level association between both forms of contact and social support. There are, however, signs of an emerging class-based digital divide, with low-income older men and less educated respondents reporting lower levels of mediated contact and social support by 2010.
In Liquid Love Zygmunt Bauman argued that the solidity and security once provided by life-long partnerships has been ‘liquefied’ by rampant individualisation and technological change. He believes internet dating is symptomatic of social and technological change that transforms modern courtship into a type of commodified game. This article explores the experiences of users of digital dating and hook-up applications (or ‘apps’) in order to assess the extent to which a digital transformation of intimacy might be under way. It examines the different affordances provided by dating apps, and whether users feel the technology has influenced their sexual practices and views on long-term relationships, monogamy and other romantic ideals. This study shows that dating apps are intermediaries through which individuals engage in strategic performances in pursuit of love, sex and intimacy. Ultimately, this article contends that some accounts of dating apps and modern romantic practices are too pessimistic, and downplay the positives of ‘networked intimacy’.
Schools have exhibited a demonstrable predilection for surveillance technologies in recent years. While much attention has been paid to the globalized diffusion of surveillance and security practices, in contrast, the ways in which artefacts of surveillance surface and take root unevenly internationally has not received much scholarly attention. Drawing on the media representation of emergent school surveillance technologies in Australia, this article seeks to illuminate how distinctive cultural dynamics interact with acceptability, reverence and rejection of surveillance apparatus in the educational context. Far from revealing homogeneity in the manifestation of surveillance practices, the findings show that cultural context and specificity are central to understanding the materiality of surveillance apparatus and regimes.
This article provides an account of interwoven and often competing repertoires of cosmopolitanism and nationalism on which Australians draw when encountering diversity. Using interview and focus group data the article first explores how the notion of Australianness grounded in civic virtues such as fairness, openness and egalitarianism effectively enhances cosmopolitan outlooks. It identifies the mechanisms through which these same virtues are mobilized to rationalize the failure to actualize cosmopolitanism in everyday practice. We argue that Australianness understood as the popular ‘fair-go’ principle at times conceptually overlaps with cosmopolitan ethics. However, it also bears the potential to hinder cosmopolitan practices. Ultimately national and cosmopolitan ethical frameworks have to be interrogated simultaneously when applied to micro-level interactions.
Increasingly in international research and popular media a growing interest in men and fatherhood is discernible. These changes occur as other aspects of the socio-economic world shift, necessitating the need to re-address how caring and paid work responsibilities are configured and practised. However, interest in men’s experiences as fathers has emerged in ways which reflect cultural assumptions and practices associated with dominant understandings of masculinities. Consequently, research on and evidence of changing behaviours has been culturally and geographically uneven. In this paper, two qualitative studies are drawn upon to examine how men living in Australia and the UK engage in/narrate experiences of preparation for first-time fatherhood. These studies compare men’s in-depth accounts of preparing for first-time fatherhood in cultures where understandings of masculinities overlap, but where differences are also discernible. The findings illuminate the ways in which biology, gender, temporality and histories of masculinities frame men’s preparation activities and service provision.
Mutual obligation is located within a neoliberal socio-political framework of policies designed to structure an ordered and ‘disciplined society’ emphasising strong work-ethics and self-reliance. This article presents findings of three qualitative studies into welfare-recipient experiences under interventions allied to mutual obligation. The studies were of 14 (2000), 32 (2007) and 15 (2014–15) sole mothers in receipt of Centrelink payments. Participants voiced concerns over interventions targeting individuals predominantly already contributing in essential roles, fear of misdirected coercive punishments, increased stigmatisation, a lower real standard of living and unimproved prospects for suitable employment. The article explores past and present rhetoric and implementations of mutual obligation policies, and their impacts for people receiving welfare benefits. Ongoing critical analysis of such interventionist policies is essential to ensuring that the ostensible goals of addressing poverty and disadvantage are achievable and without excessive unforeseen consequences to society. Are they in the interests of social justice and stability?
This article analyses the work of ethnic minority media producers through a series of 13 in-depth interviews with African-Australian broadcasters, writers and producers. Focusing on the aims and motivations of participants, the article demonstrates a more expansive role for African-Australian media, one that brings niche media products into dialogue with mainstream Australian public life and challenges common understandings of ethnic media as appealing to a small, linguistically and culturally defined audience. Such a role also raises questions around wider conceptual understandings of the public sphere, particularly as it is employed to interrogate minority–majority relations. The article concludes by engaging with previous literature focused on the changing contours of the public sphere ideal in multi-ethnic and multicultural societies.
Theoretically, neoliberalism is acknowledged as a powerful, discursive mode of governmentality, whose key tenets widely influence sociological discourses around the role of money in attaining quality of life and happiness. However, few studies qualitatively reflect in any detail on how neoliberalism is implicated in the making of particular subjectivities. In this comparative study, participants from different income contexts (middle and low income, and downshifters) are interviewed about money meanings with attention to the particular ways of living they narrate. The findings attest to participant adoption of, and/or resistance to, lay forms of neoliberalism in the ordering of their subjectivities around key themes: life values, life goals, monetary boundaries and future understandings. Their stories show the prevalence of the neoliberal subject and clarify the practical limits of neoliberal discourses, as well as demonstrating how moral alternatives to neoliberalism can transform self-understanding and practice.
Cynthia Enloe’s book Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics brought a new approach to the study of war, conflict and political economy, an approach informed by and starting from a feminist curiosity. Such a starting point allows for recognition of the diverse, often disregarded gendered dynamics of militarization. A feminist curiosity facilitates making visible the politicization of everyday life via what Enloe calls a bottom-up approach to research and investigation. This account of a conversation between feminist scholars draws attention to the means by which researchers exercise the sociological imagination in their work on labour, militarism and war; the theorizing of gendered militarization; the role for feminist activism around conflict and sexual violence as well as solidarity politics; and the life cycle of Bananas, Beaches and Bases.
In this article we use a module from the Australian Survey of Social Attitudes 2007 to analyse how particular events in history resonate with Australians. We emphasize three significant findings: (1) evidence of a strong level of attachment to the world wars and an equivalent significance given to the terrorist events of 9/11 and the 2002 Bali bombings, with far less importance given to other event types; (2) a surprisingly weak correlation between the experience of events in adolescence and the assigning of historical significance; (3) indication that both closeness to the nation and a strong sense of worldliness is important in explaining attachment to the past. Overall the data challenge recent theories of postmodern memory and a range of survey results that supports Mannheim’s cohort theory. Instead, we point to the resilience of historical events to remain culturally significant, particularly through the emergence of a cosmopolitan collective memory.
This article stages an examination of the complex imbrication of contemporary civil society with war and militarized violence. I ground my investigation in the context of the increasing cooption of civil sites, practices and technologies by the United States military in order to facilitate their conduct of war and the manner in which drone warfare has now been seamlessly accommodated within major metropolitan cities such as Las Vegas, Nevada. In the context of the article, I coin and deploy the term civil militarization. Civil militarization articulates the colonizing of civilian sites, practices and technologies by the military; it names the conversion of such civilian technologies as video games and mobile phones into technologies of war; and it addresses the now quasi-seamless flow that telewarfare enables between military sites and the larger suburban grid and practices of everyday life. In examining drone kills in the context of Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, I bring into focus a new military configuration that I term ‘drone casino mimesis’.
Militaries around the world have recently reassessed their policies concerning transgender personnel. A wave of integration has swept across the English-speaking world, with transgender troops serving openly in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Currently, the United States Department of Defense is embarking on its own reassessment. We offer here overlapping perspectives on the future directions of transgender policies in the American military. First, we provide an overview of the transgender policies of other English-speaking democratic militaries. We then discuss survey findings that provide insights into current transgender military populations. Finally, we focus on a key policy (DD Form 214/215, which regulates name changes) and discuss its effects on transgender personnel. Given the global trend-lines and considering the lived experiences of American transgender personnel, we argue that American policy-makers should take care to avoid the conservative biases of the organization when formulating its future transgender policy.
The ‘strong programme’ in the sociology of scientific knowledge has both exerted enormous influence on science studies, and been widely criticised for its apparent commitment to epistemological relativism. In this article we argue that the recent work of the pragmatist philosopher Robert Brandom provides a potential resolution to these debates. Brandom’s work, we argue, meets the key commitments of the strong programme, including particularly commitments to symmetry and reflexivity, while also demonstrating how these commitments are compatible with a robust – but non-dogmatic, pragmatist – concept of objective knowledge. In so doing, it provides a theoretically developed account of why the traditions of empirical science studies that emerged from the strong programme need not be seen as undermining scientific objectivity, while it also supports a reflexive, critical sociological analysis of scientific practice.
The article provides an analysis of the militarization of scientific research and the scale and consequences of military and defence-related research on university campuses in the United States and United Kingdom. It achieves this through an analysis of the historical background to the complex forms of articulation which have developed between the military, industry and university research. Particular consideration is given to developments in the United States from 1940, including concerns expressed about the impact of an expanding military-industrial complex on the conduct of research in universities. Drawing on critical social and historical research, the article analyses the relationship between universities and colleges and the institution of the military in the United States and the United Kingdom, the symbiotic relationship between neoliberalism and militarism, and, in addition, the consequences for the conduct of research in the natural sciences and the social sciences within universities.
In recent years, the concept of ‘calculated hedonism’ has dominated sociological understandings of young people’s drinking practices. However, while contributing some important insights, this conceptualisation has not sufficiently considered the affective and embodied aspects of alcohol consumption. Our analysis explores the meanings and understandings of alcohol consumption among male participants in an 18-month study of young adults living in inner-city Melbourne. Data were collected via in-depth, semi-structured interviews and participant observation during drinking events. We draw on Roger Caillois’ notion of ‘play’ to analyse sessional drinking among these men. The four categories of play identified by Callois – competition, chance, simulation and vertigo – were all present in the accounts of these men’s drinking practices. This analysis offers a way of conceptualising men’s alcohol consumption in more nuanced ways that acknowledge the affective and embodied aspects of drinking as part of pleasure-seeking.
The paper utilizes climbing practice to examine how risk societies generate risk consciousness in agents. It critiques the cognitive basis of reflexivity, particularly in Beck’s work, and seeks an alternative rooted in embodied practice. Sweetman’s ‘reflexive habitus’ serves as a starting point to synthesize a relationship between Ulrich Beck’s risk society and Bourdieu’s theory of practice. However, it is argued that both Sweetman and Beck overstate the shift reflexive modernity implies. Instead, the article focuses on Bourdieu’s account of ‘regulated improvisation’ to argue that, as fields become more ambiguous, agents must make use of improvisation to match their subjective capacities with objective possibilities. For climbers, this involves a slow development of the perceptual basis for climbing risks. This allows risk to become perceptively controllable, whereby climbers can manage the basis of the risks they take through a host of options, including the length, remoteness and severity of a climbing route.
While drones are celebrated as the most precise form of weaponry that target specific individuals, this article argues that drone warfare still operates through the primary targeting of the environment. However, unlike earlier uses of bombs and rockets that targeted the physical environment, the drone apparatus – UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), cameras, servers, algorithms – primarily targets the social environment of those being surveilled in order to decide who should be killed. Monitoring, profiling and projecting ‘patterns of life’ from everyday communication, association and movement is the primary function of the drone apparatus as it searches for ‘signatures’ of hostility among the mass of data it accumulates. The drone apparatus therefore functions by making explicit the background sayings and doings of the enemy’s everyday life. To understand the nature of this explication of the social and its connection to contemporary warfare the article deploys the work of Peter Sloterdijk and his theory of ‘atmoterrorism’.
Clock-time has been consistently represented in feminist literature as a masculine artefact representative of a ‘time is money’ perspective. This has often resulted in dichotomous conceptualisations of ‘women’s time’ as contrary to clock-time, and clock-time as synonymous with economic rationalism. This article considers the everyday practices of 10 working sole fathers and 17 working sole mothers to explore conceptualisations of gendered time. It is proposed that caring time is often more focused on the clock than generally theorised, and that utilising the clock as a tool can be consistent with a caring rationality. It is also demonstrated that caregiving fathers’ experiences of time shift with their increased responsibility for their children. While dichotomies of ‘men’s time’, ‘women’s time’, clock-time, and caring time can be analytically useful, this article argues that everyday caring practices incorporate a multiplicity of times; and both men and women can engage in these multiples times.
This article examines British homeowners in Spain after the 2008 economic crisis and their struggles to navigate Spain’s troubled real estate sector. It argues that foreign residents previously embraced European cosmopolitanism but disputes over illegal home construction soured their opinion of European Union (EU) integration. Using ethnographic research and interviews, the article shows how these homeowners contested the idea that EU cohesion policies produced uniform legal systems related to housing and urban development. It also shows that while cosmopolitanism was often spurred at the level of formal politics, cosmopolitan ‘practices’ were subtly endorsed to delineate between those who had agency, and were successfully dealing with the crisis, and those who seemed to be floundering. The article confirms contemporary studies of EU regional polarization and the stalled project of creating ‘social Europe’, while showing how personal conceptions of mobility are highly linked to class.
This article attempts to forge new links between social attitudes and social policy change in Australia. Drawing on four survey waves of international social survey data and using multivariable regression analysis, this article sheds new light on the determinants of Australian attitudes towards the welfare state in a comparative perspective. It examines their variations across time and social groupings and then compares Australian welfare attitudes with those found in other leading western economies. While there is popular support for government actions to protect Australian citizens in old age and sickness, views about social protection and labour market policy for the working-age population are divided. The comparative analysis and the focus on class-attitude linkages allows for further critical reflection on the nature of social relations and recent social reforms enacted by the Liberal-National coalition government.
Many people around the world live in households with multiple generations of related adults (multigenerational households). While more prominent in certain cultures, multigenerational living is also an important part of the lives of millions in societies where this arrangement has not been seen as ‘the norm’. Australia is one such case, where one in five people live in a multigenerational household. This article presents findings of a research project on multigenerational households in Australia, including a survey of 392 people, 21 diaries and 21 follow-up interviews to explore how multigenerational household members understand their own experiences of living together. It focuses particularly on whether they feel multigenerational living is a socially accepted living arrangement. The article concludes with a discussion about how these experiences and understandings of multigenerational family members may reflect changing social norms regarding the form and role of families in Australian society.
‘Intergenerational difference’ has become a lens through which to view issues of identity, social connectedness, belonging and agency in migrant youth research, highlighting that differences in the aspirations of migrant youth and their parents shape young people’s experiences. The article will present findings from a mixed methods study of social network participation among three migrant youth cohorts in two Australian cities to address a perceived ‘gap’ among migrant youth and parents’ aspirations for social network formation and participation. The paper will first examine current theoretical approaches to intergenerational challenges in migrant youth research. It will then introduce ‘intersectionality’ as a concept offering a more nuanced understanding of the challenges and hopes of migrant youth for whom social networks can be a gateway towards belonging and connectedness. This, however, requires a negotiation of complex structural, social and cultural factors.
This article identifies the complex emotional dimensions of migrant mothers’ involvement in their children’s education, building on feminist scholarship which affirms the importance of their emotional labour. We present findings from a study of Muslim Iraqi mothers with school-aged children in Australia, based on 47 interviews with 25 immigrant mothers. Drawing on a Bourdieusian conceptual framework, we argue that the reserves of cultural and emotional capital required for effective participation in children’s education can be both consolidated and diminished through the process of migration. Perceived ineffective involvement comes at heavy emotional price, threatening some women’s perceptions of themselves as ‘good mothers’.
Ebola has previously been predominantly isolated to African nations, with limited impact in OECD countries. In 2014 Ebola gained international visibility, based largely on the threat of it ‘moving west’. Here we examine a group of Australian health professionals’ accounts of the Ebola threat including their fears around exposure; the moralities underpinning their responses; the role of othering in framing the threat; and the significance of relations of mistrust. We posit that the threat of Ebola unsettled professional expectations (duty, sacrifice and exposure to risk), rights (choice and safety) and certainty (evidence or knowledge to guide practice). In making sense of the 2014 Ebola threat, the participants articulate dilemmas around human value, the contingency of professional duty and care, and transnational responsibility.
This article contributes to our understanding of how children cope with economic insecurity in affluent nations. Based on research with children and adults in regional Australia, it argues for the importance of cultural narratives in making sense of children’s strategies to cope with financial hardship. Drawing on Goffman’s concept of ‘facework’, and recent analysis by Pugh, it analyses the complex forms of facework that children use to manage situations of economic insecurity and shows how such practices may be anchored in cultural narratives of ‘fairness’. Goffman’s ‘facework’ refers to the expressive order required to save face, a term used to signify how we participate in a social regime, particularly when we perform unexpected feelings. In this article, the author develops a theoretical framework to analyse three types of facework used by children from low-income families in this Australian context, and coins these practices ‘going without’, ‘cutting down’, and ‘staying within’. Through such facework, children sought to maintain inclusion and uphold dignity, practices which were increasingly difficult amidst rising inequality. This raised contradictions in belonging and acceptance among others, particularly for children from refugee backgrounds.
This article reflects on the role of public sociology in the debate on the systemic crisis of western capitalism reinvigorated by the 2007–8 global financial crisis. The article argues that, in the current moment in history, sociologists have a professional duty to challenge the growing irrationality of the economically rational public discourse and to more vigorously uphold the formulation of alternative ‘real-utopian’ discourses. The article first introduces capitalism’s core ideology – economic rationality – arguing that it has hardened into the irrational dogma of the ostensibly rational West, with an unrelenting grip on the public discourse, especially in the ‘neoliberal’ Anglosphere. The ideology suppresses measures needed to address issues such as global warming and global financial disorder. Contemporary ‘Anglo’ sociology, including Australian sociology, is internally compartmentalized, self-referential and of marginal influence in the public sphere. Moreover, it espouses economic rationality in its practice within increasingly corporatized universities, while maintaining a progressive cloak over its intellectual products.
The purpose of this article is to construct a new theoretical framework of care-giving that places age, and the life-course stage of carers, at the centre of conceptual understanding and analysis. Although care theory is heavily gendered, it pays far less attention to age differences among the diverse participants in care-giving. This article argues that the age and life-course stage of carers is central to differential pathways into care-giving, experiences of care-giving, and effects of care-giving in the present and future. To support this, the article draws on qualitative data from a study on the circumstances and experiences of Australian children and young people who provide care for family members with disability or chronic illness. Claiming that theories of care are incomplete if age differences, intersecting with gender and other socio-demographic differences, are not treated as central to the conceptualization, the article outlines a framework for an age-sensitive theory of care-giving.
With geopolitical concerns surrounding the rise of militant, transnational groups who draw on Islamic texts for legitimacy, the place of Islam in western societies has become a source of anxiety, fear and suspicion. The central concern is whether Muslims living in the West have the capacity to become fully active citizens. This article uses quantitative and qualitative methods to examine whether Islamic religiosity is a predictor for civic engagement and active citizenship among Muslims living in Melbourne, Australia. The findings show that organized religiosity can be a strong predictor of civic engagement, countering the discourses that demonize Islam as a source of radicalization and social disengagement. While the findings show that suspicion of divisive forces and lack of trust in public institutions might prevent some young Muslims from engaging in formal political participation, grassroots civic engagement enables Muslims to demonstrate care and feel like active citizens of the Australian community without compromising core religious values.
Very little empirical work examines female sex workers’ experiences in sociological detail, particularly within an Australian context. Drawing from a small-scale sample of female sex workers in South Australia, our findings suggest that sex workers’ ongoing negotiations within private relationships represent ‘emotion work’, as described by Hochschild, which was understood as limiting the effect of stigma. Taking the lead from social scripts associated with women’s traditional roles and associated ‘feeling rules’, participants mediated their personal lives as distinct from their professional lives to navigate their way through the complex interplay between identities. This emotion work was manifest in the negotiation of intimacy. Other factors such as partner jealousy, which emerge from dual engagement in intimate and work-related sexual behaviours, were also mediated. These findings point to a broader appreciation of emotion work as dually agential and structured and undertaken by sex workers in both their home and work spheres.
Neoliberalism is often represented as a fundamental intrusion of individualism into post-war welfare policy settlements. This article seeks to unpick this understanding through a case study of the intersections between the welfare rights and self-help approaches of the homeless and community sectors in the 1970s and 1980s, and the emergence of social enterprise and The Big Issue in the 1990s. First, I outline the development of a dedicated ‘homeless sector’ in the 1970s. Second, the ways in which this sector developed in relation to challenges to state authority in social welfare is examined. Finally, I explore the discursive intersections between the critiques of the welfare state, and the rise of neoliberalism and social enterprise. I suggest the emergence of social enterprise is emblematic of wider claims to individual agency, while also interwoven with the rise of neoliberalism and the capitalist recuperation of self-help and welfare rights challenges to state strategies.
The connections between nonhuman animals and human societies have become an increasingly prominent topic of sociological research over the past decade. A focus on animals in sociological research raises a variety of conceptual and epistemological challenges, since sociological methods and theories were developed to analyze humans. We outline these challenges and elaborate a realist approach to animal studies, which focuses on the materiality of the animals in the world and does not confuse them with social constructions of animals. We examine the potential to combine methods focused on understanding human meaning, such as ethnography, with methods aimed at scientifically studying animal behavior from ethology, or a political ethology approach. We also assess how the materiality of animals can be incorporated into quantitative macro-comparative analyses as well as historical studies. We argue that increasingly incorporating animal studies into the domain of sociology can expand our understanding of the world and generate new questions for sociologists.
Ethnic diversity is portrayed in the literature as a threat to a community’s ability to regulate the behaviour of its members. While there is no shortage of studies examining the effects of ethnic diversity on the social processes important for crime control, findings are inconclusive across national contexts. Further, definitional issues associated with ‘ethnicity’ make cross-cultural comparisons difficult. Using Australian Community Capacity Study survey data from 4091 respondents in 147 Brisbane suburbs, combined with census and police incident data, multivariate regression techniques are utilised to determine the extent to which ethnic diversity influences collective efficacy once we control for other known correlates; and which aspect of diversity ‘matters most’ to levels of collective efficacy. Specifically, we consider the relationship between the diversity or concentration of language, religion and country of birth and collective efficacy. Results indicate that the presence of language diversity and indigeneity in the community are most detrimental to collective efficacy.
Given the importance of students’ judgement of the future rewarding character of studying for their willingness to deliver effort at school, we propose the concept of sense of academic futility to understand track differences in achievement. As research is inconclusive in this matter, this study examines whether negative attitudes such as sense of futility follow from track enrolment. Based on new and unique Flemish data of 4500 first grade secondary school students clustered in 119 tracks in 57 schools, gathered in 2012 and 2014, this study shows by means of multilevel analysis (HLM7) that students’ higher sense of academic futility in technical and vocational tracks versus academic tracks exists irrespective of background features and prior feelings of futility. Furthermore, it suggests a higher increment in sense of futility in vocational tracks compared with academic tracks, establishing the usefulness of this concept for tracking research.
In this article, we explore the discourse of work/life balance and how academics experience and understand it. Using survey data from research conducted in 2014, the article argues that the concept of ‘life’ within the dichotomy of work/life has often assumed characteristics. While we find in our survey work that academics are indeed working longer hours and often sacrificing leisure time for outputs such as publications, it is still widely unknown how academics understand ‘life’ in relation to their occupation/vocation. Our data indicates further that pressures on academics to establish their credentials through quantifiable data (such as publication statistics) causes notions of work/life balance to become porous, with many academics reporting working from home and in ‘non-labour time’ such as the weekend. Despite these results, we argue that a more nuanced account of work/life balance needs to be attained for the discussion to proceed further.
This article presents the findings of an Australian study that aimed to explore how young women construct their self-identity while negotiating motherhood and the associated transition to adulthood. Teenage motherhood, within contemporary discourse, often attracts negative assumptions about young women’s worth and ability to parent. This study used a combination of semi-structured interviews and memory work to draw out women’s stories and give voice to their experiences of becoming mothers. Three key themes were induced from the findings: pride and self, autonomy and change, and resilience. This article explores these themes that are, in many ways, a resistance and challenge to dominant public discourse, and relates them to how young women ascribe positive meaning to their experiences of becoming mothers. The findings demonstrate women’s autonomy in shaping their lives in the way they forge relationships and raise their children. The article concludes by examining the implications of meaning-making in relation to self-identity for young mothers to inform service provision.
We examine the job situation of women living in rural Salamanca, Spain, using principal coordinates analysis to identify the profile of these women (specifically, those with declared vs. undeclared jobs) and explore what they believe would improve their employment situations. Four well-differentiated groups were identified: two groups included rural women with ‘regular’ jobs and two groups included women with ‘irregular’ jobs, where ‘irregular’ work is defined as work that involves a decrease in taxes destined for the Social Security system. These women were differentiated based on their marital status and the job sector in which they worked. Women with an ‘irregular’ employment status stated that they would prefer to work in a ‘regular’ job with a job contract and make contributions to the Social Security system in accordance with the true number of hours they work. Such a job situation guarantees access to all available social benefits.
Misuse of antibiotics in hospitals in Australia and internationally is common. The combination of multi-resistant organisms and continued misuse of antibiotics is contributing to a predicted ‘antimicrobial perfect storm’ in the coming decades. Attempts to influence doctors’ use of antibiotics have seen limited success internationally, yet few studies have explored the potential social factors driving current practices within hospitals and the interpersonal processes that underpin persistent ‘suboptimal’ antibiotic use. In this qualitative study of hospital-based Australian doctors we explore some of these dynamics including: the role of clinical uncertainty and ambivalence; experiences of immediate risk; interpersonal and intra-professional pressure; and the role of localised norms and ‘craft groups’ in driving antibiotic practices. We argue that the development of a sociological understanding of antibiotic misuse in the hospital sector (and beyond) is vital for progress to be made in protecting antibiotics for future generations.
Members of a marginal Australian political party recently sparked controversy by claiming China wants to ‘take over’ Australia. While apparently the opinion of a minority fringe, little is known about how Australians actually feel about Asia. This article explores the ways in which Asia is constructed in the Australian imagination, arguing it is both ‘invisible’, yet also a source of deep anxiety. Data from 26 focus groups conducted across Australia offer evidence of this invisibility, with Australians preferring to discuss domestic issues over international ones. But Asia is simultaneously a source of anxiety, in that when Australians do talk about Asia, it is in relation to a perceived threat from Asia’s economic power, its large population, its polluting practices, its military might, and its pursuit of mineral and agricultural resources. Such concerns mask fears of a cultural threat. Discursive analysis reveals how the threat from Asia is articulated, and implications for national and post-national identities.
Most research on gender divisions of housework focuses on couple and family households. This article extends this literature to examine gender differences in domestic labour across living arrangements, with particular focus on young adults. Using time-diary data from the nationally representative Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Time Use Survey (2006) it examines the amount and composition of domestic work performed by 20–34-year-olds (n = 889) living with parents, in a share household, alone, or in a couple, differentiating between routine and non-routine housework tasks, and between housework done for oneself only or for the household. It finds gender differences are strongest in couple households, but pertain across living arrangements, including share houses. Also, women’s domestic labour varies more by household characteristics than men’s. However, there is some evidence of non-conformity to gender stereotypes, with young men living in couple relationships contributing more time on activities for the household than young men in other households.
The stage of state-building in the labor sector at which a working-class movement arose is crucial for the subsequent development of state–labor relations. In contrast with the experience of western countries and authoritarian developing nations, the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) strong pre-existing labor institutions pre-empted organized labor mobilization at the beginning of capitalist development. The state has since then carried out a bifurcated strategy that confers individual rights on workers but restricts their collective rights. The practice leads to a labor institution built on a hybrid of the old Leninist political structure of labor control and a one-dimensional labor rights regime, which has contributed to the lack of organized labor movements in contemporary China.
Despite growing evidence of significant impacts from human-induced climate change, policy responses have been slow. Understanding this policy inertia has led to competing explanations, which either point to the need to build a consensual politics separated from economic partisanship, or which encourage solidarities between environmental and social movements and issues. This article analyses a recent successful mobilisation, leading to the passage of the Clean Energy Act in Australia, to explore the relationship between attitudes to environmental and social protection, particularly among the core constituency in favour of stronger climate action. Using social survey data from the Australian Election Study, the article finds evidence of independent associations between prioritising environmental concerns and support for welfare state expansion, and a realignment of materialist and post-materialist values. This we argue is consistent with Polanyian analysis that posits a link between social and environmental causes based on resistance to commodification.
Religious diversity and social cohesion have long been seen to be at odds with each other. Classical sociology, grounded in the Westphalian solution to religious conflict in Europe presumed that a single religion was necessary for social cohesion. The issue of religious diversity and social cohesion has come to the fore as once religiously monochrome societies have become diverse through migration and, to a lesser degree, conversion. While European nations question the possibility of multicultural and multi-faith societies living in productive harmony, Australia offers an example of a successful multicultural and multi-faith society. Australia has produced a multicultural society through a policy of social inclusion and mutual respect, in contrast to European policies which produce separate community development. This cross-national comparative study reveals demographic and socio-cultural differences that are likely to explain some of the comparative success of Australia in producing social inclusion and avoiding the ‘othering’ of religious minorities, especially of Muslims. Australia has a particular demographic that features multiple substantial minority religious communities living in ways that promote daily encounters among people of different backgrounds.
Women continue to undertake substantially more unpaid labour than men, with the gaps closing if women bring economic resources to the household, spend time in paid work, or both partners hold egalitarian gender-role attitudes. Some attention has been given to how these patterns vary across ethnic groups, but the research is sparse and dominated by US studies. We examine the relationships between gender, ethnicity and housework supply within heterosexual couples in Australia using longitudinal data and individual- and couple-level panel regression models. We find large and statistically significant ethnic differences in gender divisions of household labour in Australia, with particularly egalitarian arrangements within Indigenous couples. These results have implications for understanding the processes underlying gender divisions of household labour, and highlight important, previously unknown, issues in Indigenous family processes. Particularly, our findings constitute first-time evidence of positive gender-equality outcomes for this subpopulation and call for further research on this topic.
Racism and racialisation can be framed as a threat to one’s ontological security. This article draws from qualitative life history interviews conducted with 11 Aboriginal people who are part of an existing longitudinal health study based in the city of Brisbane. The narratives revealed that perceptions of racism and racialisation were a significant consideration for these people when asked to reflect on their identity and wellbeing over time. Though less frequently overt, racism was often seen to be perpetrated from within one’s social circle, revealing the complicated process of engaging, contesting, rejecting, ignoring, minimising, avoiding and defining racism. The findings highlight the agency of Aboriginal people in adapting their behaviour to avoid or minimise the dread of ontological insecurity.
This study makes use of a dataset which contains material relating to young Swedish people who have recently completed their studies and started working. It explores whether using social networks as such or using individuals’ resources which are accessible through social networks (social capital) provides relative advantages in the competition for better jobs. Interest in this topic stems from the recent development of sociological theories in this field. The results indicate that the use of social ties is a common way to find a job in the highly regulated Swedish labour market, but that informal recruitment methods per se provide no relative advantages in the competition for better jobs. On the other hand, given the same demographic characteristics, socioeconomic background and educational attainments, there is a positive association between resources embedded in an individual’s social network (social capital) and the quality of the jobs obtained.
Street-level professional workers’ influence over Indigenous health policy implementation is an important variable in a contested policy environment distinguished by an Indigenous median age of death approximately 20 years less than for non-Indigenous citizens. Street-level workers are guided by personal political values in the ways that they prioritise their work and make decisions about the care that will be available to particular patients. The possibility that street-level workers may make decisions with reference to stereotypical or prejudiced judgements about Indigenous peoples makes their bureaucratic discretion a point of particular significance. Alternatively, their capacity to work on the assumption that they have the professional agency and a moral duty to make a substantive contribution to improving Indigenous health outcomes positions their work in the context of social justice. The street-level worker is, then, drawn into the politics of public policy and policy activism, where ideology sits alongside professional knowledge and skills as determinants of Indigenous health outcomes, and where public policy’s intellectual and practical inconsistencies simultaneously constrain opportunities for bureaucratic discretion in some respects and provide new opportunities in others, such that the street-level worker is a central participant in the politics of Indigenous health.
This research explored the intersection between participants’ parenting role and housing difficulties, in rural communities. Thirteen parents were recruited from drug and alcohol and mental health agencies in rural Australia. Transcripts were analysed using content analysis, along with inter-rater reliability. The quandary of gaining access to their children while living in inadequate housing was indicated. Participants also described the ‘spiral’ nature of problems, highlighting the interrelated nature of mental illness, substance use, housing difficulties and losing access to children. The impacts of housing problems on parenting roles and children were described as well as those supports considered to be useful in obtaining appropriate housing. Living in rural areas where ‘everyone knew everyone’ made it difficult for some to obtain housing. The need to address housing, parenting, mental illness and substance abuse as interrelated, rather than as singular issues is highlighted.
Through a qualitative study of YouTube bereavement vlogs and posts by young people about parental death, this article examines the rise and significance of intimate mourning between strangers. An unexpected finding of this research has been the speed with which young people create vlogs or post messages of their bereavement; very often within hours of a death. The question of time in relation to bereavement grief is thus a feature of this article’s analysis. The article argues that YouTube, like other social media, exposes and contests the disenfranchising of grief in offline social settings and relationships while, at the same time, enfranchising disaffected and excluded bereavement discourse via media sociality. It also argues, conversely, that YouTube, like other social media, is now a primary social space (not secondary or supplementary); it provides the where and how and who to connect with regarding personal grief and bereavement.
The increasingly voluntary quality of religious expression has prompted many faith-based entities to embrace ‘secular’ means of evangelism. This is evident within the Sydney-based Hillsong Church, which has grown rapidly in attendees, capital resources and global reach. This ‘seeker-friendly’ strategy, however, raises questions around whether the ‘megachurch’ can sustain itself in offering respite from wearying Weberian processes of rationalisation and disenchantment. Hillsong’s resolution of this dilemma has been to create an encompassing arena of enchantment for constituents, a contemporary Goffmanian ‘total institution’ by reproducing the unalterable mechanisms of the economic order in a way that imbues them with greater meaning. Loyalties are sought by aligning desires for both personal reinvention and collective subsumption with the overarching evangelical aims of the Church. Thus for the committed devotee the transcendent and pragmatic may become synonymous and imbued with wonder, so that any gnawing dissonance felt as characteristic of late capitalism may be reconciled.
The main goal of our approach is to analyse the social representations of alternative rock in Portugal (or, using a terminology more akin to 1980s Portugal, of the "modern music vanguard") from 1980 to 2010. This is part of broader research into the 30 years of modernization of the country (from the post-revolutionary period initiated in 1974 on), in which alternative rock is regarded as a significant social practice within the scope of the social, artistic and musical structuring of the country itself. We consider that alternative rock is a subject that is illuminated by Bourdieu’s theory of fields, without overlooking its clear interconnection with ‘art worlds’ or music scenes, and the aesthetic cosmopolitanism of late modernity. The article is a pioneering work on the Portuguese sociology of culture, whose results may be the starting point of a debate to problematize the functional logic of popular music in various Anglo-Saxon settings.
This article presents a dramaturgical view of the social integration of minorities. Based on 30 interviews with prominent Australian Muslim leaders, we argue that they explain and approach the problem of social integration largely in presentational terms. As a corollary, their chief collective and political strategy towards social integration is to put forward alternative discourses to counter the dominant anti-Islam discourses. We use Goffman’s (1959, 1963) dramaturgical model to analyse their strategies. In a striking difference from dominant narratives that situate Islamic values and western values as incompatible, the analysis we provide shows that Muslim leaders do not see Islamic teachings or texts as a problem for social integration; rather they view the problem as negative media representations and the solution as putting forward alternative images.
Despite ‘cultural competence’ rhetoric within health care, women’s varied breast cancer experiences are often overlooked within the ‘pink ribbon culture’ of breast cancer, which focuses on white, heterosexual, middle-class women’s accounts. We present a multimodal critical discourse analysis of four Australian breast cancer organisations’ websites, which provide information and support to women. We examine how they represent the needs and experiences of women from minority groups, specifically lesbians, women from ‘culturally and linguistically diverse’ backgrounds, and women from Indigenous backgrounds. Through the two discursive themes: ‘boys do cry’ and ‘being breast aware’, we illustrate how women from these groups are sometimes included and at times marginalised on websites. We also identify a discourse of ‘diversity’, which seemingly supports ‘cultural competence’ but actually obscures the assumptions that underpin cancer care. We suggest that women who are not white, heterosexual or middle class could find available resources inappropriate, or experience barriers to access.
The recruitment for what has become known as ‘voluntourism’ takes place on campuses at many universities in Australia. Under the banner of ‘making a difference’ students are solicited to travel to developing countries to aid poor communities, to enjoy the sights and tastes of the distant and exotic ‘other’, the ‘experience’ touted as a useful addition to the curriculum vitae (CV). This article addresses the discursive terrain of voluntourism by providing an analysis of the ways in which students are invited to participate in such cultural practices while recruiters give little or no information about the lived realities of people in poor nations. We argue that voluntourism reinforces the dominant paradigm that the poor of developing countries require the help of affluent westerners to induce development. We contend that the recruitment of students by voluntourism organisations is an example of public pedagogy that reinforces a hegemonic discourse of need.
In the years following 9/11, we spoke to residents of an Australian city who had witnessed the attacks on television in a research process that we came to describe as holographic. This metaphor emerged as we struggled to represent data generated in these interviews. This struggle over meaning provoked us to ask fundamental questions about the collection of knowledge in sociologies of terrorism – about the encounter of Self–Other in interviews; the embodied, situated location of researcher and researched in such encounters; how this location exists in particular configurations of time and space but is continually re-animated in other configurations of time and space as processes of meaning-making unfold in the production of a variety of texts (recordings, transcripts, papers, articles). To study terrorism, researchers grapple, knowingly or not, with an unstable and volatile concept. It is a volatility that should be embraced, not marginalised, in sociological research into terrorism.
Drawing upon qualitative interview data examining friendships between men across sexual orientation, this article contributes to our understanding of the management of sexual difference within interpersonal relationships. In seeming contradistinction to substantial bodies of research that emphasise the significance of maintaining boundaries between homosocial and homosexual desire within male friendship relations, research participants commonly subverted socially constructed distinctions between romantic and platonic relationships as a form of humour. While these joking behaviours seemingly challenged the conventional norms and practices of same-sex male friendship, this article contends that they paradoxically expressed and reinforced fixed sexual identities.
This article explores the uses and consequences of political communication in Australia. It considers the different types of government ‘spin doctors’ and explores the dimensions of the ‘Australian public relations state’. The article then examines the relationship between the media, political communication and democracy. It subsequently develops a typology of overt and covert practices that suggests that there should be an analytical and ethical distinction between ‘spin’ and ‘political communication’. The article concludes that media advisers are ‘key activists’ within the public sphere and that good political communication gives people the capacity for informed citizenship. Ultimately this discussion demonstrates that political communication has both democratic and anti-democratic aspects, and it offers a conceptual framework for exploring communicative practices and their consequences.
The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami elicited the largest international humanitarian response of any disaster in history, yet comparatively little research has examined the way the disaster agent and the ensuing fundraising have been culturally framed in Western societies. While scholars have speculated that the humanitarian reaction is a response related to the capturing and distribution of the disaster through digital media, this paper focuses on the discursive meaning-making of the crisis as it appeared in a single national public sphere. From an analysis of articles in major Australian newspapers, the study finds that the tsunami discourses of risk, suffering, government aid and public charity were constructed in terms of Australian symbolic boundaries and national sentiment. Existing literature on humanitarian communication provides insights into this media portrayal; however, to more fully comprehend the ways in which national discourse can mobilise populations in responding generously to global catastrophes we propose the concept of national humanitarianism.
This paper explores the representations of non-expert ‘lay’ roles in selected media reporting of the 2011 synthetic cannabis debate in New Zealand. It uses a critical discourse analysis to explore these representations, using van Leeuwen’s work on the transitivity of clauses. It identifies a number of roles present in reporting and argues that media reporting denies lay roles agency and limits the space available for their members to give their account of events. Instead lay groups are constructed as the passive recipients of actions by authoritative groups. The one exception to this is the construction of parents who, because of a combination of a moral authority granted to them by being parents, and the media’s alignment to the ‘concerned parent’ position, are granted agency and space to explicate their positions.
Informal carers of cancer patients have high rates of burden, stress, anxiety and unmet needs; yet, some describe caregiving as fulfilling. Building on the work of Thomas and colleagues, this study takes a sociology of emotions approach to understanding variations in carers of cancer patients’ emotional experiences, using interview data with 32 carers of a spouse with cancer. Analysis indicates that a clearly terminal (negative) prognosis facilitates clear priorities, unambiguous emotion management and improved social bonds. A more ambiguous (positive) prognosis, that includes a greater chance of survival, fosters role conflict, clashing feeling rules and ongoing guilt within spousal carers. This study highlights the importance of a prognosis to emotion management, underscoring a phenomenon that is likely to grow as survival rates continue to improve and explaining some of the variation in carers’ experiences.
This article examines the knowledge-creation project called Sociology that was launched in Australia between 1955 and 1975. An energetic founding group created a network of departments, assembled a workforce and were rewarded with rapid growth. Their intellectual project emphasized data collection, scientificity and social reform, closely modelled on sociology in the global metropole. Underneath was a mostly functionalist concept of ‘a society’ and a strong conviction that Australian society was a case of modernity. They succeeded in creating an empiricist science, which played a role in Australian reformism in the 1970s and 1980s, and reached a high point in the work of Jean Martin. However many younger sociologists were dissatisfied with the founders’ science and launched other knowledge projects in the following decades. The founders’ strategy for making sociology in Australia led to a deep contradiction about Australian coloniality, unresolved in contemporary sociology.
Using data collected by two New Zealand surveys in 1999 and 2009, I explore the connection between the objective social class positions of individuals and their own subjective perceptions of these circumstances. Class position is ‘operationalized’ using a newer variant of Goldthorpe’s schema, the European Socioeconomic Classification (ESeC). Through regression analyses, it is demonstrated that ‘objective’ forces contain positive predictive consequences for self-placement. More importantly, the results suggest that as predictors of subjective class, the effects of class have endured while those of education and income – understood here to represent measures of socioeconomic position – have declined. The empirical evidence produced suggests that class continues to generate subjectively salient identities, leading one to deduce that there are no grounds for stating that it is no longer a significant feature in society.
This article tests the hypothesis that the internet is exacerbating an existing knowledge gap in Australia. The data come from the Australian Election Study, which has measured voters’ political knowledge and internet use since 2001. The results support the knowledge gap hypothesis: while internet access is expanding, consumption of political information online is narrowing among a younger, better educated and politically interested group, and is increasingly associated with higher levels of political knowledge. The internet is therefore reinforcing the advantages of the most knowledgeable while increasingly failing to draw in the most politically uninterested. Despite hopes that the internet would lead to a more informed demos, these findings suggest that it is exacerbating current participatory biases.
Debate over the measurement of global poverty in low- and middle-income countries continues unabated. There is considerable controversy surrounding the ‘dollar a day’ measure used to monitor progress against the Millennium Development Goals. This article shines fresh light on the debate with new empirical analyses of poverty (including child poverty), inequality and deprivation levels in the Pacific island state of Vanuatu. The study focuses not only on economic and monetary metrics and measures, but also the measures of deprivation derived from sociology in relation to shelter, sanitation, water, information, nutrition, health and education. Until recently, there had been few, if any, attempts to study poverty and deprivation disparities among children in this part of the world. Different measures yield strikingly different estimates of poverty. The article, therefore, attempts to situate the study findings in the broader international context of poverty measurement and discusses their implications for future research and the post-2015 development agenda.
Quiapo, the ‘heart of Manila’, like most cities in the developing world, responds to and negotiates with transnational processes in the way its inhabitants arrange local labour market conditions. Quiapo presents a unique case where the informal economy of pirated global media products is hinged on the complexities of gender relations, ethnic politics and even religion within Philippine society. Given the increase in unemployment, and thus the expansion of the informal economy, piracy has become a conduit for socio-economic changes intersecting with the culturally specific economy of Quiapo’s social history. One of these changes is the gendered division of labour in two areas of Quiapo: Hidalgo and Carriedo. On the other hand, piracy reinforces deeply entrenched tensions characterised by religious and ethnic divides. Piracy in Quiapo, as a fascinating terrain of Manileños’ urban experience, has significant implications for the slow but complex transformations that equally refashion the global and the local.
There have been numerous suggestions that the growth of living alone represents a challenge to the hegemony of the family and heterosexual couple relationships, yet the evidence is mixed. This article draws on qualitative research with Australians living alone in their twenties and thirties. Their relationship circumstances, hopes and expectations are described in order to question whether they are decentring or deprioritising couple relationships in their lives. I find that most see living alone as a way of building an independent life prior to partnering. While living alone may coincide with a focus on self and life outside couple relationships, it also often coincides with idealised notions of romantic love and the search for a soulmate. Given this, I argue that most young adults living alone are not challenging the hegemony of heterosexual couple relationships, but finding new ways of maintaining the heterosexual couple ideal.
Media-generated discourse can provide a framework for its consumers to construct representations of the world they live in. These representations, however, are often disproportionate to the true incidence of crime or risk of victimization. In order to examine the extent to which the gender of the offender or victim impacts portrayals of crime, content and discourse analyses were carried out on four Canadian city newspapers over a span of 30 years. The results from the 1190 sampled crime articles revealed that, although portrayals of female offenders accurately depict them as generally lower-risk, both female offenders and female victims were treated equivocally. Women offenders were dichotomized into sexualized bad girls or malicious black widow archetypes. Similarly, female victims were depicted either as bad victims who were blamed for their circumstances, or good victims who garnered sympathy through negative portrayals of the offenders. The findings are discussed within the context of gender differences surrounding the social discourse of violence, particularly chivalry.
Families are the fastest growing segment of homeless populations in resource-rich countries; most are female-headed. We report on women’s experiences of being homeless with their children in Victoria, Australia, emphasising their mental health. Twelve women (who between them had daily responsibility for 31 children) were interviewed, revealing complex pathways into homelessness; the two main contributors were economic decline and domestic violence, with drug use and poor mental health making lesser contributions. Homelessness appeared to have adverse effects on women’s wellbeing, mental health and ontological security. There was evidence of structural barriers to good mental health being inherent in the system designed to support them, with no provision for prevention or early intervention, and limited capacity for providing residential stability. Women wanted to live somewhere that was stable, secure and safe, for themselves and their children.
Recent critical scholarship on bodyweight issues has taken a step back from debates regarding the veracity of claims made about the ‘obesity epidemic’ and its dietary causes and solutions. Instead, researchers have begun to explore the ‘truth effects’ of obesity discourse: how this discourse is translated into interventions that target how people relate to, and act upon, themselves and others. The study contributes to this scholarship through an analysis of a commercially distributed online weight-loss program, where participants are required to govern their own dietary conduct with the assistance of tools and resources supplied via the internet. Adopting a governmentality approach, I demonstrate that the program’s operationalisation of bodyweight and dietary discourse in its attempt to affect the dietary conduct of dieters is dependent upon techniques for governing conduct ‘at a distance’ that are derived from broader innovations in the techniques through which power is exercised in ‘advanced liberal’ societies.
This article reports the results of research into the recent popular phenomenon of flying Australian flags on one’s car for Australia Day. A survey was undertaken in Western Australia in 2011 to ascertain who flies the flag and why. Results indicate the phenomenon was widespread, with a quarter of those surveyed displaying car-flags. A clear relationship between car-flag-flying and exclusionary nationalism is demonstrated. Car-flag-flyers rate more highly on measures of patriotism and nationalism, and feel more negative towards Muslims and asylum seekers, and more positive about the White Australia Policy. They are also significantly more likely to feel their culture and values are in danger, and have a nativist vision of Australian identity. While both groups are positive about Australia’s diversity, car-flag-flyers are more likely to feel that migrants should assimilate. The results support other literature that suggests that in some contexts the Australian flag has come to be associated with exclusionary nationalism.
Whereas teaching of sociology is discussed in terms of innovations to make theory more attractive and accessible, teaching applied sociology remains an unfashionable topic for intellectual discussion and analysis. It is described as a service area taught by ‘invisible sociologists’, removed from the pursuit of explicit theory. Taking the case of an education degree, it is argued that teaching in applied courses can produce a kind of sociologist able to see the world of schools through a sociological eye. The aims in this article are to: outline the conditions constraining sociology in applied situations; reflect on the context of sociology in an education degree and justify a rationale for teaching sociology through concepts; argue for a method of curriculum design and course activities built from student ontology and self-understanding of their future occupation; describe how a school system is constructed in a one-semester course; and argue for implicit theory in applied courses as a defensible sociological practice.
Surveillance through information and communication technologies is an integral part of modernity. However, there has been little research into how surveillance is experienced, with much research focusing on the structural aspects of surveillance. We conducted focus groups with Generation Y internet users to investigate their experiences of internet surveillance. They demonstrate an awareness of and ambivalence about surveillance online, negotiating their digital visibility and exposure against the risks and benefits of using the internet. However, their overwhelming interest and concern is that their online access to desired content is immediate and unfettered. We argue that immediacy has come to dominate how Generation Y understand and negotiate their internet experience, and describe how immediacy outweighs any concerns participants have. This study highlights the need to further explore the experience of surveillance, and the importance of immediacy in understanding sociotechnical systems and experiences.
Women’s work and family choices are affected by social pressures and external constraints. Understanding young women’s aspirations for future work and family is important for understanding their future needs and for developing supportive work–family practices and policies. Despite criticism, Lifestyle Preference Theory has been argued to explain women’s life choices, and historically has been used to inform Australian policy. We address three issues: whether Lifestyle Preference Groups are consistent with young Australian women’s stated preferences; whether aspirations are consistent over time; and whether women’s later lives are consistent with their earlier stated preferences. Using four waves of data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH), young women’s work and family aspirations were investigated cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Most aspired to both paid work and family; most changed their preferences over time; and the fit between preferences in 2000 and lifestyle in 2009 was modest. Lifestyle Preference Theory was not an adequate fit to the data.
Homophobia and the avoidance of same-sex intimacy have traditionally been considered defining characteristics of heterosexual masculinity. They have not only subjugated gay men, but have maintained negative health implications for heterosexual men as well. However, in response to decreasing homohysteria, researchers from the United Kingdom found that 89% of British undergraduate heterosexual men have engaged in a particular type of same-sex kiss. This research seeks to examine whether this cultural shift, and corresponding homosocial intimacy, is evident among Australian undergraduate men. Among the 90 heterosexual men interviewed, 29% report having engaged in at least one same-sex kiss. Results indicate a changing relationship between the construction of Australian heteromasculinity and the avoidance of same-sex behaviours.
This article argues for a broader sociological conception of religion. Religion includes practices that engage with this world in rich and complex ways alongside experiences of transcendence. Religion encompasses a broad palette of aesthetic and emotional experiences that include, but are not confined to, solemnity and beauty. Religious moral ontologies can be both pluralist and dualist. The aesthetic turn in contemporary religion is described, noting associations with individualism, and pluralistic moral ontologies. The concept of pluralistic moral ontology is developed drawing on Nietzsche’s analysis of aesthetics, Carl Einstein’s examination of the relationship of aesthetics to myth and ritual, and a discussion of tragedy in classical Greece. Empirically, the role of aesthetics is manifest in a number of contemporary ethnographies of religion that emphasise the centrality of practice and performance to religion. The film trilogy The Lord of the Rings provides an example of the link between aesthetic experience of myth and pluralistic moral ontologies.
One aspect of transnational education that is anticipated to grow in prominence is the international branch campus. This article is a case study of Monash University Malaysia, a Malaysian-Australian transnational education alliance which has achieved a measure of success in a field fraught with risk. It offers an analysis of the dynamic interplay between global processes and the logics of practice of situated national and institutional interests. The article shows that global processes such as marketization are realized in specifically local conditions. The joint venture was able to find its market in the particular configurations of the Malaysian postcolonial state, ethno-nationalism and neoliberalization.
This article considers the path of social policy and democracy in Australia and the latest set of welfare reforms under Labor. The reforms can be seen to mark a reaction to the excesses of neoliberal government on the one hand, but they also represent continuity in neoliberal thought and policy on the other. As we shall see, engrained ideas about individualist wage-earning welfare, that were established during the formative years of the 20th century, continue to shape, if not constrain collectivist solutions to some of the inherent social risks faced by Australian citizens today. In this light, efforts to create a welfare state geared towards meeting the needs of ‘hard-working’ Australian families appear much sharper.
In diverse social contexts individuals are encouraged to ‘work on’ their bodies to improve their health and appearance. This article builds on recent sociological and feminist approaches which foreground the body and embodiment, combining a Deleuzian theorisation of bodies and the concept of affect to analyse qualitative interviews with young people about their body work practices. Empirical work which explicitly employs a Deleuzian theory of bodies in methodology and analysis is relatively new in sociological studies of the body. Drawing on young people’s narratives about their body practices, and their embodied everyday experiences of ‘health’, this article shows the value of a Deleuzian approach to rethinking bodies, arguing that the concept of affect helps to extend understandings of embodiment. Through interviews with young people about their bodies and body work practices, this article explicates how a Deleuzian approach to bodies can be practically extended in empirical analysis.
The views of business leaders are of particular interest where climate change policies are concerned. This is a study based on interviews with business leaders in the Hunter region. The sociological literature suggests either that the business community will be split according to industry, or that the business community as a whole will resist regulation. Our study finds differences of opinion in the business community somewhat marginal. Interviewee responses also suggest the importance of considering the class location of those who are the messengers of climate science – scientists and environmentalists. Business reactions come out of the habitus of business people and their animosity towards those with high cultural capital. This becomes a barrier to full acknowledgement of the implications of climate science.
Within contemporary social thought, the slow food movement is commonly construed as a growing, organized protest against the development of high-speed lifestyles. The primary aim of this article is to query the limits of such an interpretation. To highlight aspects of the slow food movement that may not be as incongruous to a high-speed society as commonly thought, I explore how the slow food movement relates to the phenomenon of time shortage. I undertake a discourse analysis of slow food texts in the English language to reveal that the aims and activities of the slow food movement may not wholly address the three sources of feeling ‘hurried’, as set out by Southerton and Tomlinson. I find that a more sophisticated analysis of the slow food movement emerges if we avoid thinking of fast and slow in dichotomous terms.
Nineteen academics talking about their entry to teaching sociology reveal how differing institutional contexts have affected the making of their careers. Participants were drawn to sociology in order to understand or to change the world, but the attraction was shaped by the availability of the discipline; for earlier entrants there was a search for an intellectual home while recent entrants made a simple choice from available options. While all participants reported elements of luck and made pragmatic choices about their careers, two decades of structural changes to higher education mean that the kinds of luck they have and the choices they make differ considerably. There is some suggestion that changes within the discipline have also affected careers. The questions are posed whether the two groups are ‘generations’ of sociologists, and, if so, what might be the implications for the professional association and for the discipline.
The first decade of the 21st century will be remembered as a time of terror and war. As the toxic dust clouds settled over the people of New York City and strategies were developed for the wars to come, it may have been difficult to imagine the terrible violence that would be exacted against the civilian population in Iraq. Following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iraqi women took up a place in the blogosphere to write about their experiences of the war. In this article we tell stories about young women in Iraq and how they blogged their experiences in post-invasion Iraq and the ways in which digital spaces enabled them to write a self during a time of war. We argue that digital fields of possibility offer bloggers possibilities for reflexive thinking, for engaging with and critiquing social limits, and for shaping a digital self.
This article critically evaluates key assumptions within classical and contemporary ‘decline’ moral sociology. It argues that two dominant models of moral loss sociology – the ‘cultural pessimist’ and ‘communitarians’ – are indebted to a set of Durkheimian assumptions that underwrite his original diagnosis of the moral crisis of modernity. Three specific assumptions are identified and critiqued: view of human nature and self; ‘society’ as the necessary source of morality; and the functions of morality. The article suggests that these assumptions work to ignore how self, emotions and cultural ideals of self-improvement may work as alternate moral structures in late modernity.
In 1975 the Whitlam Labor government invited Professor Jean Martin, then Australia’s leading sociologist of migration, to conduct a five-year study of the settlement experience of the first refugees from Vietnam. She had barely begun the study when the incoming Fraser government terminated its funding. Drawing on internal government documents, this article tells the inside story of that decision. The fate of the project became intertwined with the dismissal of the Whitlam government, but the links were indirect. Archival sources show state actors raising concerns about academic autonomy, the utility of academic research for public policy, and independence of academic publication. The social science of the period saw research as a public good, generating knowledge at once for its own sake and for application in public life. The withdrawal of Martin’s funding marks the end of an era when Australian social scientists could see research collaboration with government as unproblematic.
Over the last twenty years, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has become one of the most diagnosed childhood disorders in the western world. Research within the disciplines of psychiatry and criminology has increasingly identified a link between ADHD, delinquency and crime. So far, consideration of ADHD from sociological perspectives has been limited, while it has been virtually ignored as a diagnosis with social impact and a popular phenomenon within Australia. In response, this article draws on conceptual resources from the sociology of deviance to illustrate the value of sociological perspectives and to explore questions about the impact of ADHD that psycho-medical perspectives cannot. In doing so, the article adds to existing understandings of the social aspects of this prominent disorder and aims to encourage the development of new conceptualisations that lie beyond the existing deficit label.
Recent research has suggested that income, while playing a part in quality of life, may have only a limited impact on a multi-faceted concept such as social wellbeing. Using data from an Australian household survey (Living in Queensland Survey), a composite Wellbeing Index was created that covered objective circumstances, with known associations to wellbeing, evaluated from the individual’s subjective viewpoint. The importance attributed to each dimension added to the robustness of the measure. The measure was then used to explore the impact of income on wellbeing using various specifications of income. The results indicate that while income is a statistically significant predictor, its effect on wellbeing is small compared with other socio-demographic variables such as health, marital status, employment status and age. The study contributes to the contemporary debate on social wellbeing and adds new evidence to a body of research that has been mainly based on European and American data.
The article explores the considerations that are at stake in assessing the prospects of cosmopolitanism today. It is argued that there is scope for fruitful dialogue between sociology and political science around the question of how a normative idea, such as global justice, becomes an empirical phenomenon. The idea of global justice should be placed in the context of the broader framework of cosmopolitanism. Rather than focus only on the normative project, attention needs to be given to the process by which cosmopolitanism emerges. Cosmopolitanism, in this view, involves socio-cognitive shifts for critical publics in ways in seeing the world. It is such changes in cognitive capacities and in individual and societal learning that often make possible the articulation of new normative principles or their application in domains where they previously did not apply.
As the world becomes increasingly urban, with denser cities, residents become subject to greater amounts of noise. Since the late 19th century, people have formed groups to oppose urban noise generated by industrialization, motor vehicles and jet-planes. This article gives the first detailed account of online noise-abatement groups through a case study of Quiet Australia. It maps the key aims of this group, which are to mobilize community support, raise awareness of noise-related problems, gather and exchange expert information, and promote political participation to reduce noise. I argue that there exists a moral geography of noise in which excessive noise-making is seen by Quiet Australia members as morally inappropriate and uncivilized behaviour, which leads to social disintegration. I theorize that such noise-abatement groups seek what I have termed a ‘residential ethics’ or consideration of others through either state-led or neoliberal self-governance to restore social order and uphold social ‘decency’.
This article is a contribution to ongoing studies of tax compliance by Australian taxi-cab operators and their drivers. The limits of the dominant academic literature and the industry-specific legislation on tax conformity will be assessed. The article’s core premise is that social and economic activities (legal and illicit) of cab drivers are embedded within unique networks of social relations. Cab drivers are subjected to a multitude of structural arrangements and informal social control mechanisms, which influence their attitudes and actions with regard to tax compliance. Regulatory initiatives towards diminishing non-compliance in the Australian taxi-cab industry continue to ignore the concept of mixed embeddedness and the interrelatedness between compliance rules, enforcement practices and broader legislative framework. It will be argued that changes to the employment status of Australian taxi drivers can produce a more expedient way for curtailing the deeply entrenched tax non-compliant modus operandi within this particular sector of Australia’s transport-services industry.
This article is based on study among women who ‘married’ other women in Iceland. It reveals complexity and controversial issues of visibility and acceptance, and illustrates the differing reception that same-sex partnership recognition receives in public, within families and within the non-heterosexual community in general. While same-sex partnership recognition has the potential to shape public opinion in positive ways, marriage neither guarantees acceptance from family nor does it automatically lead to visibility. These findings are interesting in light of the growing body of literature on the fading importance of tradition, growing individualization and the decline of the nuclear family, as they act to complicate such claims, showing that it is precisely through traditional family rituals that acceptance of same-sex relationships is communicated in small close-knit communities.
This article reports results from a survey of academic social scientists in Australian universities on reported levels of research utilisation by non-academic users. Using the scale of research utilisation we examine levels of research impact and explore a range of variables to understand factors influencing the use of academic social science research by policy-makers and practitioners. The results indicate that research uptake is enhanced through mechanisms that improve research transfer and the intensity of interactions between academic researchers and users. Our findings provide insights into how the impact of social science research can be improved and draws attention to factors that need to be considered in efforts to evaluate and enhance the impact of academic social research.
The use of information technologies by young people is commonly understood to be a separate, often risky, activity and a distinct form of sociality. Challenging the dominant understanding, this article applies Haraway’s cyborg theory to explore how Facebook-mediated relationships are interconnected with material relationships and daily social life. Young people’s perspectives are privileged through 40 face-to-face interviews in two rural Victorian towns. The cyborg metaphor highlights the fluid melding of various conceptual dualisms altered in the overlap between the virtual environs of Facebook and the material, everyday lives of the young participants, analysed here using the cyborg metaphor. In this sense, Facebook can be best understood as an individualised extension of young people’s broader social lives, part of a larger suite of information technologies, social media and other mediated sociality that is interconnected with materially based, face-to-face interactions.
Many studies have examined issues of youth and public spaces; however, less attention has been devoted to seniors and their navigation and experience of community spaces, particularly in relation to their sense of inclusion in, or exclusion from, consumptive spaces. This article explores the everyday experiences of seniors in four Australian shopping centres, two in Melbourne and two in Hobart. Based on a survey of 260 seniors (the majority aged 75 years or more), respondents’ perceptions of this environment are considered, including the reasons for visiting the shopping centre, and the challenges of accessing and negotiating the shopping centre ‘terrain’. The research findings indicate that how seniors engage with and navigate the shopping centre is influenced not only by the nature of the space itself, but also by their personal historical and cultural experiences. Where and why seniors choose to ‘hang out’ in shopping centres has implications for research into the social landscapes of ageing, along with public policy and shopping centre procedures. There is a need to consider both the social and physical well-being of older people in the shopping centre locus, and to take positive steps towards improving and enhancing their experience in an environment that is often used to provide a range of experiences that go beyond mere ‘retail therapy’.
Witnessing is never merely watching or seeing. Witnessing is never a passive practice. Witnessing is active, a performance, an embodied experience. Given the hypermediated nature of the contemporary social world witnessing is particularly common when practised large distances from events. Contemporary terrorists, and their counterparts waging the so-called global ‘war on terror’, depend on near and distant witnesses to spread their violent messages and influence target audiences. Witnessing, however, shows itself to be contradictory and unreliable just like the people who do it, all of whom endure disowned desires and fears. Drawing on the Smithsonian, the September 11 Digital Archive and the story of lower Manhattan graphic novelist Art Spiegelman, I argue that witnessing is what is most at stake in any attempt to understand the meanings and consequences of contemporary terrorism.
Since the early 1990s public housing in Australia has become increasingly residualised. The high demand and limited availability means that in order to be eligible potential tenants usually have to be in ‘greatest need’. This article has three main sections. It first considers the processes which have led to the residualisation of public housing. Second, through the use of in-depth interviews the way older public housing tenants in inner-city neighbourhoods in Sydney portray the shifts in the social composition of tenants is explored. The third objective is to investigate the anti-social behaviour older tenants experience and its impact on their everyday lives and how they cope. Loïc Wacquant’s concept of advanced marginality is used to examine the residualisation of public housing. The impact of residualisation is assessed by exploring how it impacts on older residents’ concept of home and what is considered an age-friendly environment.
The Australian healthcare system is complex, comprised of public services (universal access via Medicare) and private health insurance options (fee-for-service). This article presents data from a qualitative study investigating patients’ trust in Medicare and private healthcare in Adelaide, Australia. Interviews were conducted with 37 patients with coronary heart disease between October 2008 and September 2009. The findings suggest that private health insurance holders are fearful and distrusting of public healthcare. Additionally, the findings indicate that both public and private healthcare users are concerned about, and many are distrustful of, the role of government in public healthcare services. These findings are discussed in relation to Niklas Luhmann’s social theories of trust, which provide an analytic framework for understanding private health insurance subscribers’ distrust in Medicare.
Effective intervention into educational inequalities is dependent on having an accurate understanding of the factors which predict it. Research on the educational attainment gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth in Australia has typically focused on closing the academic achievement gap in the hope that this will resolve the issue. However, recent research is beginning to find that Indigenous youth also have significantly different choice behaviours and resources. Using the work of Boudon, the current research used a Bayesian logistic regression model to explore the extent to which differences in university entry rates are due to achievement differentials (primary effects) versus differences in choice behaviours and resources (secondary effects) for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth in Australia. This was applied to 10,000 Australian youth, followed over eight years. Results suggest that primary effects were predominant, however, a moderate proportion of the Indigenous university entrance rate gap is due to secondary effects.
This article reviews sociology’s uneasy engagement with creativity, using the lens of recent critiques of Bourdieusian art sociology and the call for a more nuanced understanding of the agency of art objects and trajectories of artistic production. I develop and apply an anti-humanist ontology to assert that creativity is profoundly sociologically interesting, and key to the production of human culture, from science and technology to the arts to social forms and institutions. Analysis of auto-ethnographic data on the production of a painting of Australian mallée woodland establishes three propositions for an anti-humanist sociology of creativity: that creative production is part of an open-ended flow of affect between assembled human and non-human elements; that affective flows produce creative capacities to act, feel and desire in bodies; and that products of creativity such as artworks are themselves affects that themselves contribute to the production of social life, the world and human history.
Reliance on grandparents for children’s informal care is very popular in Australia. Yet little is known about the gendered dynamics of grandparental care. This study, based on 3000 grandparents taking part in Wave 7 of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics Survey (HILDA) and 14 in-depth interviews with grandparents, reveals that gendered inequalities associated with providing childcare significantly influence the lives of older Australians, particularly grandmothers. Grandmothers doing grandchildcare experience greater dissatisfaction with free time and more than their fair share of domestic labour compared to grandfathers. Gendered meanings and practices of grandchildcare evident in interviews position grandmothers as nurturing, coordinators of care. Grandfathers are somewhat influenced by notions of ‘involved fathering’ as they are emotionally engaged in children’s recreational activities, yet are relatively free to opt in and out of caring labour. We conclude that the gendered organisation of grandchildcare is consistent with a dominant maternalist culture in Australia.
Education has become increasingly driven by economic forces and it is now seen as a way to advance economic growth and prosperity. This article starts by describing the traditional educational vision and Bauman’s liquid modernity. Later, the higher education scenario in Malaysia will be presented. The objective of this research is to investigate the factors influencing Malaysian students’ university degree choice, and their perspectives on basic science as well as basic social science degree courses in universities. Our findings show the primacy of economic considerations when students make a choice about their education. An examination of the relevance of Bauman’s liquid modernity is also applied here. Moreover, the discrepancies in the research results will be discussed. The article concludes that while liquid modernity promises opportunities and advancement, awareness of the current dynamics in the education sector is also needed.
Pro-social activities are intended to benefit someone or something other than oneself. There is little known about the pro-social activities students valorize or why students differ in the value they place on different activities. The study seeks to present an understanding about both these matters. Informed by the critical theorist Jürgen Habermas we first constructed a conceptual model to analyse the desirability and feasibility of pro-social activity among our sample. Using data from an online survey with students involved and not involved in a pro-social activity, we found a significant moderator effect of this engagement. Moreover, students differed in the way they valued different activities, with the engaged group devoting time to educational pro-social activities, while the others were more attracted to alleviating hunger and poverty as pro-social activities.
In the courtroom legal authority must be performed by the presiding judicial officer. It is also a social situation where information and emotions must be managed in face-to-face interactions. This paper investigates how magistrates perform their authority in the delivery of decisions in open court. An observational study of criminal cases in Australian lower courts shows that magistrates communicate sentencing decisions in a distinct manner. Magistrates frequently look and speak directly to the person being sentenced (the defendant), in line with everyday conversational conventions, and preface their decision with explanations, which allow for some engagement with the defendant. When delivering other kinds of decisions (in criminal cases), such as adjournments, magistrates display less engagement with the defendant. These findings underscore the important ways in which the embodied presence of the defendant and the interactional dimensions of the courtroom can impact on the legal process and the legitimacy of judicial authority.
Academic–industry collaborations are seen as a way to improve the translation and uptake of social science research. The ideal model is that of knowledge co-production, which regards effective collaboration as a reciprocal process between academic researchers and industry partners that is underpinned by jointly produced research outcomes. However academic–industry research partnerships can be inherently problematic, with poor collaborations impeding the translation and uptake of academic research. This article sets out to explore the realities of academic–industry collaborations in the social sciences through a study of Australian Research Council Linkage projects. Based on interviews with academic chief investigators and industry partners (n = 54) the article examines factors that influence the dynamics of research collaborations. Findings indicate that collaborations are inhibited and enhanced by particular individual and organisational factors and that the benefits of academic–industry collaborations go beyond simply improving the uptake of social science research.
This article examines the global human rights activism of young Muslims through their participation in hip-hop culture. The increased awareness of their Muslim identity in the post-September 11 era inadvertently influences and permeates the consumption of popular youth culture. The article contends that there is an attempt by the hip-hop ummah to draw from the struggles of the African American experience to articulate the human rights concerns facing respective communities. The right to appropriate hip-hop as a means to express their predicaments also brings its young practitioners into conflict with moral entrepreneurs who act as gatekeepers to the religion. However, the human rights activism of young Muslims is bridging the seemingly irreconcilable gap between hip-hop and piety, serving not only as an important framework of social identity but also providing the space to forge generational and transnational solidarities.
This article considers the part played by typologies in analysing career transition. It identifies three strands of typological thinking in seeking to understand this phenomenon. These are typologies as method, as a method–theory bridge, and as a theoretical mode of sociological thinking. The discussion explores ways in which each of these approaches to career transition may contribute insights or may simply complicate analysis. Positive and negative examples of career transition typologies are used to illustrate typology creation and usage. The argument presented is that while each strand can contribute sociological insights, it is the theoretical use of typologies that is paradigmatic, not method-driven typologies, for contemporary career transition inquiry.
Government policy in many countries encourages migration to regional centres to relieve pressure on major cities and to boost economic development. Migrants are more likely to remain in a new location if they have meaningful work and establish social connections there. This article explores how organisations and groups in a regional city provide newcomers with access to social capital resources which migrants can use to forge social connections. Past research has shown that migrants require a mix of linking, bridging and bonding social capital to form an effective primary social contract with their new home. This research suggests that regional cities – such as Geelong, Victoria – which are proactive in assembling diverse social capital resources and making them accessible to migrants, are more likely not only to receive more newcomers but also more likely to retain migrants and a skilled workforce. The findings have relevance to other regional centres.
The form of institutional linkages between schools and employers changed during the decade-long economic recession in Japan. This article explores why institutional linkages between women’s colleges and large Japanese firms in the secondary labor market have survived, despite a long-term restraining of labor demand. From a network theory perspective, employers value information about applicants’ residency status, as it is conducive to reducing personnel management costs; information can be reliably obtained via these institutional linkages. Employers expect schools to use such information to select nominees. By using the data from the school’s applicant pool, the results from logistic regression analysis showed that schools tend to nominate candidates who are living with their parents, and no candidates who lived without parents were hired. Additionally, a candidate’s academic performance and personality evaluation, which can also be obtained through the linkages, as well as more formal recruitment processes, did not have a significant impact on employee selection.
This study examines how members of pro-anorexia (PA) and fat acceptance (FA) cybercommunities manage their ascribed ‘offline’ socially marginalised identity in an ‘online’ environment. While much of the sociological literature continues to focus on the corporeal or face-to-face practices of socially marginalised groups, we use online non-participant observation to explore how members of these sites use the internet to manage their marginalised identities. We find that cybercommunities provide a safe place for identity management where members come together to understand, negotiate and, at times, reject the marginalised identity ascribed to them in their offline environment. From the accounts of the PA and FA members we studied, we find that online and offline identities are mutually reinforcing and collectively inform and shape identity. However, the online environment provides an anonymised space for identity work, emotional support and an acceptance of their body, whatever their shape or size.
Despite the demand for cosmetic surgery, little is known about the characteristics of recipients beyond the well-known gender divide. Data from a nationally representative Australian survey profiles the social background of cosmetic surgery recipients and those desiring surgery. Aside from strong gender differences, the middle-aged were most likely to desire cosmetic surgery, but older people were most likely to have had it, with body dissatisfaction also associated with desiring and having cosmetic surgery. Social status (education, occupation, income) effects and the fact that those who identify with the Liberal and National parties are more likely than Labor or Greens identifiers to have had surgery suggest it is an aspect of (upper) middle-class lifestyles and sought by those who aspire to them.
Critical commentary about the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) has included the claim that the media presented a simplistic and stereotyped image of Aboriginal communities at the time of its introduction in 2007, but to date there has been no systematic analysis to support this. This study addresses this research gap through a critical discourse analysis of reportage of the NTER in mainstream and Aboriginal populist print media. The findings reveal major differences in these accounts, with radically different propositions and normative assumptions. Mainstream media were overwhelmingly negative in their portrayal of remote Aboriginal communities, were silent about Aboriginal resistance and portrayed urgent Commonwealth intervention as necessary and heroic. The Aboriginal media provided contextualised accounts of the issues and focused intensely on the human rights implications of the intervention. The findings reveal a concerning racialised divide in representations of the issues facing remote Aboriginal communities in 2007 that helps to explain why the Australian public accepted policies that discriminated against Australia’s First Nations peoples.
Prior research finds young people are less satisfied with police than their older counterparts. Despite this, our understanding of youth attitudes to police is limited, as most research has focused on adult attitudes to police. This study adds to our understanding by examining the influence of parent–child dynamics on youth attitudes to police. We predict that youth attitudes to police will be influenced by their parents’ attitudes. A survey of 540 school students in South East Queensland reveals that perceived parental attitudes to police are associated with youth attitudes to police. However, this effect is partially mediated by maternal, but not paternal attachment. These findings suggest that youth attitudes to police are not simply influenced by contact with police and delinquency, but that familial context is important. Consequently, our theoretical understanding of youth attitudes to police must move beyond a focus upon police contact and delinquency.
Taking into account the social conflicts and the many forces present in the domain of health occupations and professions, the authors propose a critical reflection on the role played by the state in the promotion of public interest and the delegation of this role to professional bodies, using a study of an occupational group in the health sector that was carried out in Portugal. The discussion is developed within the domain of the social conditions of sociological research that either uses public funding approved within a public tender and submitted to scientific evaluation, or uses private funding and is commissioned by the private sector, as is the case with one professional group.
It is commonly argued that many young people in Australia inhabit a culture of intoxication. There has been little research on how young people find resistances within this culture. In this article we document how young people above the legal drinking age negotiate the dominant cultural logic of drinking to intoxication and explore how they conceptualise options of not drinking. The analysis draws from 60 semi-structured, mixed-method interviews about alcohol use conducted in 2007–8 in Victoria, Australia. We document the strong social imperative for young people to drink to intoxication at social events. Our results suggest that choosing not to drink carries the risk of social exclusion. To manage these pressures young people adopt specific socially legitimate subject positions for not drinking. Understanding the limited social possibilities and modes of resistance to intoxication is important for understanding the apparent hegemony of the culture of intoxication in mainstream youth cultures.
Protecting participants – especially the vulnerable and/or young – is essential to respecting individuals and doing so upholds the merit and integrity of research. Research is a way of improving the lives of the vulnerable as research informs policy and service provision. Research participants need to be protected, but as their right, they also need to be able to participate in research as a way of being heard on matters which affect them. This article argues that ethical review of research is so heavily focused on minimising risk that young people’s right to participate in discussion is often overlooked. I use my own research with young people who have experienced problematic substance use as a running case study to discuss the tension between balancing protection and participation in research design and offer strategies for balancing the two when designing research.
This article explores motorcycling as an arena for the choreography and performance of body practices of pleasure for young men with hearing disabilities. The article advances the argument that the discursive multiplicity of identities experienced in motorcycling destabilises precepts that privilege paid work and institutionalised competitive team sports as absolute bastions of masculine existence. Drawing on data collected from an interview with one young man with a severe hearing disability, it will be shown that his experience of both finding a stable occupation, and participating in institutionalised team sports, is marked by ongoing difficulties. By contrast, participation in motorcycling is an occasion by which he (re)constructs and enhances his masculine identity. The embodied experience of motorcycling invokes possibilities for an interconnection with the masculine, and dialogic exchange with the identity of hearing disability. This demonstrates an uncertainty of settlements regarding what constitutes ‘masculinity’ and ‘disability’ in different sites and contexts.
This article contributes to scholarship on the cultural politics of obesity by providing insights into how people considered ‘obese’ think news media reporting should be improved and their views on ideas such as reporting guidelines and promoting body diversity. A thematic analysis of interview data identified the following themes: ‘Challenging stereotypes’, ‘The limits of news’, ‘Individual responsibility’ and ‘Legitimating fat’. These themes capture the divergence in views and reflect differences in how people construct obesity and conceive the influences of media on audiences. Situated in the context of the contested science and news frames surrounding obesity, the analysis also engages with wider debates about the potentially unintended consequences of seeking to challenge stigma. We conclude that media and policy discourses need to reflect a diversity of ways of framing obesity if the views of obese people are to be included.
Drawing on qualitative interview data, this article observes the current structure of the Melbourne-based male sex industry, taking into account the unpopularity of traditional sex work ‘venues’ such as the street, print advertising, brothels and agencies. In recent years, the internet has arisen as a viable alternative to these sites. Motivations for the pursuit of internet-based work are numerous and include perceptions of greater ease, convenience and accessibility; anonymity, autonomy and safety, but, above all, the potential for more lucrative returns. The article also highlights the seemingly large numbers of men using dating websites who are casually propositioned online and may consent to such proposals, suggesting further research is required to ascertain the characteristics and experiences of those involved in informal sex work activity.
This article addresses debates within theories of reflexive modernisation about the meaning of reflexivity for understanding contemporary subjectivities. The article demonstrates that the contribution that this concept could make to theories of modern subjectivity has been limited by the problematic assumption that reflexivity describes a form of critical rationality leading to emancipation from social constraint and the sovereign self-fashioning of identity. Both critiqued and defended on these grounds, debate about reflexivity and reflexive modernisation has been limited by a sociologically unsustainable vision of modern subjectivity, and has left theories of reflexive modernisation open to the accusation that they are blind to the relationship between subjectivity and social structure. In response, this article constructs a theory of reflexivity as a social practice which reflects the contradictions and insecurities intrinsic to modern social structures. Conceived as a social practice, reflexivity is a concept that combines the macro and the micro, the structural and the personal. Capturing historically specific forms of structural organisation, as well as the practices through which these structures are made into biographies, the concept of reflexive subjectivity can make a significant theoretical contribution to understandings of modern identities.
What is it like to be socialised into the self-contained Christian fundamentalist world of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and to move towards disinheriting that tradition during adolescence? This article considers this question by looking at how a group of young, Australian Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs), who were born into the religion, make the journey from membership to dissent. The interview data suggest that for these young respondents the roots of disaffiliation lie in disagreement with specific JW practices and the freedom and hedonistic attractions offered by the secular world. It shows how disaffiliation was staged as a dynamic struggle for self as the ex-JWs swung between the secular attractions of freedom and hedonism, and the certainty and comfort of the religious community. Further, the article suggests that parental socialisation and the differences between those born into such movements and converts are important factors in understanding reasons for disaffiliation.
Problems of defining such terms as ‘society’, ‘the social’, and ‘the social system’ remain an ongoing bane of social theory in general and sociology more specifically. This article is located in the context of recent debates that ‘society’ as an empirical reality and ‘society’ as a concept is in crisis. We begin by briefly reviewing sociological understandings of ‘society’ and noting the ‘death of society’ thesis in recent social theory. In an attempt to extend this debate beyond naïve proclamations of the ‘end of society’, we argue – in an exploratory and provisional manner – that the bulk of sociological discourses on the ‘social’ can be located within one of the following categories or registers: (1) society as structure; (2) society as solidarity; and (3) society as creation. These three registers of the social are briefly sketched in the remainder of the article. This argument arises from a larger ‘work in progress’ on the logics of the social.
Drawing on a survey of households across a small rural community in north central Victoria, Australia, this article uses social network analysis to examine the embedded political resources citizens draw on and mobilize in order to effect change at the local level. The article uses a name generator to map the structure, size and composition of citizens’ political support networks and to identify key actors or ‘nodes’ they rely upon to get action on local issues. More traditional quantitative measures are then used to examine how being more or less ‘politically connected’ impacts upon levels of political engagement. The findings confirm that ‘who you know’ is important, with both the level of political connectedness and breadth of contact types important predictors of increased participation in political activities.
The industrialized world is facing an ageing population. Sociology needs to focus on the social impact of demographic change, in particular, how seniors remain socially integrated and what this integration means. Gerontological research has focused on the role of seniors’ centres in the US and Europe, but such research has been lacking in Australia. This article provides much-needed ethnographic research on a range of Australian seniors’ groups which provide outlets for social participation. It develops a typology of seniors’ groups through an exploration of organizational structures, funding models, and their impact on participation and sociality. It argues that because Australian groups prioritize leisure over service delivery, uneven divisions of volunteer labour emerge, which can lead to conflict. The article questions the current gerontological consensus that seniors’ groups are sites of community, arguing that physical proximity does not equal intimate sociality. It addresses these challenges faced by seniors’ groups and new ones posed by the mass-retirement of more ‘active’ baby-boomers.
This article focuses on ‘health’ discourses in pregnancy as interpretive repertoires for shaping embodiment and creating ‘good’ mothers. Drawing on qualitative data, I argue that pregnancy is an extended period of biomedical and cultural surveillance and intensive self-regulation and government. I examine experiences of ‘cravings’ and restricting eating from my sample of pregnant Australian informants to demonstrate this. Eating was also a socio-cultural mechanism for the maintenance of bodily boundaries. ‘Public’ discourses of maternal responsibility are shown to be in conflict with informants’ ‘inside’, ‘private’ lived experiences of eating.
In this article, I approach motorcycling as a learning process. The main concept used is that of the social career, as advanced by Erving Goffman and David Matza. I highlight the specific bodily practices and risks that occur in the successive stages of a motorcyclist’s social career. Throughout their career as motorcyclists, riders learn how to manage successive risks. The riding body may be approached as a case of voluntary risk-taking, a structural factor identified in many contemporary societies. Motorcycling is thus similar to hang gliding, skydiving, scuba diving or rock climbing. The study is based on data gathered from the main online motorcycling forum in Romania, participant observation carried out among motorcyclists in Romania in 2008 and 2009, and conversations and interviews with motorcyclists. I suggest that the risk implied by using motorcycles depends on the stage that a person is at in his or her social career.
This article focuses on some of the fantasies underpinning contemporary politics and the way that these ‘perform’, in effect, to occlude more complex understandings. To develop my argument, I deploy a critical discourse analysis to consider the narratives used by politicians during the 2010 Australian Federal election campaign to galvanise popular support by raising the ‘threat’ posed by large-scale population growth. I argue that narratives framing ‘population growth as unsustainable’ have a resonance with sections of the electorate because they connect to a sense of unease about the present and the future. The vexed debates surrounding population size are indicative of anxieties that lie beneath the surface of political discourse.
The traditions associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps soldiers – the Anzacs – comprise an important element of the Australian narrative. Although Australian and New Zealand soldiers did not officially become ‘Anzacs’ until they joined forces on the Western Front, the Anzacs are associated with the trauma of the Gallipoli campaign. Anzacs ‘live on’ in contemporary Australian culture, celebrated as national heroes by artists, politicians and writers. The Anzacs’ place in Australian history is enshrined through annual Anzac Day commemorations that legitimize idealized, heroic aspects of Australian identity. Drawing upon national survey data we show that Anzacs still have a strong influence on how Australians see themselves. Attitudes toward Anzacs vary only marginally according to social and political background, although they are most salient for middle-aged, less educated, Australian-born citizens, who are proud of their defence forces and exhibit a close attachment to Australia as a nation.
This article outlines a recent pilot project in Bendigo that collected baseline data in order to develop a preliminary understanding of regional migration experiences. The literature indicated that migrant experiences in Australian regional communities are under-researched. Sixty participants from South East Asia, who have migrated to Bendigo, Victoria within the last five years, completed a mixed-methods survey. The key findings reported upon are socio-structural factors, social connectedness and psychosocial well-being. Crucial factors such as culture, spirituality and non-English-language, link to the more complex issues of personal, social and cultural identity. These findings are significant in adding to the limited data and discussion about newly arrived migrants in rural and regional communities. There are sociological implications from this preliminary data concerning social capital and psychosocial well-being. There are also implications for policy development and professional practice for migration to rural and regional communities.
Escalating concern regarding environmental issues has resulted in an increase in the number and scope of environmental movements internationally. The diversity and proactive nature of these movements has put pressure on public (state) actors to address challenges and engage with movement actors. Engagement is not universally positive and can lead to attempts to disrupt or subvert challenging movements. This article examines the impact of perceived state subversion on trust within the New Zealand environmental movement through the alleged use of spies. The analysis finds that short-term emotional reactions within the movement that led to questioning of relationships were outweighed by longer-term pragmatic view about the need to maintain collective action.
This article discusses the process of adjustment for repatriates into their country of origin and considers their ethno-lingual identification. This article also presents the results of a sociolinguistic survey among Kazakh repatriates, in particular the questions connected with the influence of language on the process of ethno-lingual identification and the role of language competence in readapting to the country of origin.
This article employs Bourdieu’s concept of cultural capital to examine the social class differences in the expectations relating to higher education among parents and students in urban China. This study fills a gap in understanding the complex factors that underpin parental expectations regarding children’s higher education. This study has been conducted using mixed methods, comprising a large-scale questionnaire with semi-structured interviews. The data have revealed that parental expectations of their children’s higher education are classed. There is a significant difference between middle-class and working-class parental expectations regarding children’s higher education due to difference in the volumes of cultural capital. It is clear that some of the middle-class parents have a particular concern as to whether the campus culture matches their children’s personality.
This article provides an account of the rise of a bio-politics of governing families and children in Australia and its relations with liberal political reason. Drawing on Foucault’s lectures on Security, Territory, Population it maps out the ways in which forms of liberal governing seek to define the nature and scope of norms and freedoms in a population through the practices of the human sciences. Bio-politics is shown to introduce new ways of calculating and intervening upon certain parts of the population and to create normalizing tensions with sovereign or judicial forms of governing.
This article explores the claim that generalized trust and community participation are positively associated and reports results from a survey that collected data on individuals’ involvement in sport and non-sport community organizations. Data were collected on levels of involvement in community sport and other non-profit community organizations, selected demographic variables and the standard measure of generalized trust. The analysis included an estimation of the direction of causality between involvement and trust and indicated that sport membership led to trust elevation. The findings support the arguments of Stolle and others: that joining community organizations creates heightened trust. Further, sport membership was a strong and significant predictor of trust. The findings have implications both for policy-related social capital interventions and the theory of social capital and trust generation.
This article investigates how a plastic manufacturing firm handles the challenging task of comparing and choosing among the feasible alternative modes of structuring the flow of repeated transaction with one of its key suppliers. Qualitative interviews are used to explore the perceptions of the management of the firm concerning the advantages and disadvantages associated with each alternative, and the main findings suggest that the selection of the transaction structure intended to reduce boundary uncertainty is itself an uncertain choice. Since many of the gains and drawbacks of the alternatives are unknown and even unknowable in advance, the firm is unable to set up a conclusive comparative assessment to underpin its choice. Instead it is inclined to select the alternative that is perceived as the one allowing most flexibility.
Levy and Sznaider’s positing of a global cosmopolitan memory has negated the reductionism inherent in classifying national memory cultures as homogeneous, globalized phenomena by redefining the interaction between the two as a coalescence of the two elements rather than a superimposition of the global on the national with the attendant eradication of the latter. A survey of countries that have adopted the edicts of cosmopolitan memory, however, indicates that this coalescence can take the form of either a strained dialectic or a relatively easy symbiosis. By examining primarily the interaction between cosmopolitan memory and national memory conflicts in Ireland and Austria, this article aims to ascertain the constituent elements of the national memory conflict which serve to increase or diminish the strength of the influence of global cosmopolitan memory.
People are increasingly compelled to take responsibility for their health and illness trajectories. The existing literature on what may be termed self-care points to the ways that public health initiatives have instigated the transfer of governance onto the individual through campaigns promoting physical activity and diet among other things. Meanwhile, cultural trends may have been enhanced and/or transformed by the increased prominence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) which often include a focus on self-determination and self-responsibility for achieving health and wellbeing. This article examines women’s contemporary self-care practices and the logics underpinning their approaches to health, illness and healing. Our findings show that although these women were often positive about the prospects of being autonomous decision-makers, their search for alternatives and practices of self (health) care can be problematic in certain cases and may be viewed as reproducing neoliberal forms of governance and their derivative inequalities.
Contemporary discussions about family care in western societies are generally framed in discourses of scarcity, as changing social structures put pressure on how parental care is delivered while paid care workers face time pressures and deficits in workplaces. From a recent study of nursing families in Australia, I focus on the care practices of mothers who are also nurses. I examine how these female nurses understood and managed competing care pressures across work and family boundaries. Rather than experiencing only care scarcity and pressure, these women maintained a consistent sense of the importance of care in both domains, which informed and supported both their family and work practices. The demand to give care in both domains did not necessarily deplete their capacity for care. Rather, they created a set of congruent care ideals and practices at work and home, and maintained the importance and value of caring labour in their daily lives.
This article explores the recent concern over young people’s apathy and disengagement from politics. It critically addresses this, first, by examining and contesting some of the literature addressing this alleged apathy and dissociation, revealing a particular, narrow and regulatory model of politics and an accompanying liberal notion of self. In contrast, a relational model of self is posited as more sociologically robust and suited to contemporary social life. Second, the article describes a qualitative Australian study of young people aged 18–30 years, recruited from across the political spectrum. In contrast to the key liberal principles, participants highlight interconnectedness, permeable public/private divides and the important role of friends and family in fostering and sustaining their political engagements. It is argued that the relational interconnected model of self presented by the participants reflects the conditions of contemporary social life.
It is often argued that self-help books negate citizenship and the public sphere by promoting a hyper-responsibility in which individuals are rendered entirely responsible for their own life experiences, without reference to social relations. This article argues that discourses of responsibility in self-help literature are more complex and ambiguous, and that this is in part due to the widespread influence of codependency theory, and in part due to tensions within liberal-democratic political ideologies.
This article provides an account of the governance discourses informing Australia’s multicultural policy history. The article problematises the liberal ideologies informing these discourses – as essentialising the cultural identity of minority groups within exclusionary values about what constitutes the common good. Highlighting the ongoing imperative of questioning current frames for understanding and approaching multiculturalism, the article strengthens existing research that calls for alternative models that support a political conception of autonomy. The key argument is that social cohesion, unity and solidarity can be engendered through this conception where a situationally defined, rather than essentialised, view of culture enables recognition and legitimising of a proliferation of voices and versions of national identity and the common good.
For decades, sociologists have debated whether widespread cohabitation among opposite-sex and same-sex couples indicates the transformation of relationships or simply a new pathway to marriage. If it is the latter, what does this transition mean to couples who decide to marry? Using an interpretive framework, the article investigates why cohabiting couples legalise their relationships when there seem to be few legal or social advantages, and how they solemnise and celebrate this transition. Drawing on New Zealand interviews with celebrants and long-term cohabitants who have decided to legalise, we found widespread concern about traditional marriage and a desire to develop individualised pathways for couple relationships. Nevertheless, our participants eventually decided to make a public commitment and to celebrate their ‘successful’ relationships with family and friends. Furthermore, we found that wedding practices continue to be influenced by social pressures and cultural representations, and many couples incorporate traditional practices symbolising patriarchy and heterosexuality regardless of personal beliefs or sexual orientation. Although cohabitation rates are rising, our study concludes that weddings have retained much of their symbolic value as a cultural ideal, but have increasingly become subject to personalisation, as if to signify that couples are indeed the authors of their own biographies of love.
The institutional mechanisms by which young adults come to experience temporary periods of global mobility are varied, but what most have in common is a presupposition that those gaining entry into another country will return ‘home’ within a specific period. This article is concerned to better understand how young adults who are engaged in such forms of global travel manage the significant personal emotional intimate attachments that many of them make in the places that they visit when a decision has to be made about returning. Here we offer an empirical examination of what happens when an envisaged return ‘home’ is stymied by the formation of a significant intimate relationship with someone from another country. In particular we focus on the role that ‘family matters’ play in decision-making processes.
This article examines the increasing impact of migration on Uyghur and Han interactions in urban Xinjiang. It suggests that socio-economic factors, such as segmented labour shares and unequal sectoral distribution in occupational categories, coupled with growing Han migration that intensifies spatial inequalities in urbanization patterns, have been a major reason behind the contemporary rise of ethno-religious consciousness among Uyghurs.
The article further investigates the relationship between returns to education and trade openness in developed and developing countries. It contests Babones’ interpretation of the divergent experiences in terms of the greater credentialism associated with education in poorer countries. It identifies an alternative explanation based on classical trade theory which is at least as convincing. However, it further argues that the heterogeneity of labour markets is greater than either model suggests and that the characteristics of specific national and regional economies, rather than globalization, might be primarily responsible for the interesting statistical differences.
Multivariate analyses of national survey data show that social background has an important influence upon environmental attitudes and behaviour in Australia. The tertiary educated consistently adopt a pro-environmental stance across a range of behaviours, including reducing their consumption, initiating lifestyle changes and voting for the Australian Greens. Men are less likely than women to see global warming as a serious threat and less likely to change their behaviour to protect the environment. However, men are far more likely than women to favour nuclear over coal-fired power, even after controlling for a range of other social background effects. While younger people claim they are willing to pay extra taxes or higher prices to reduce global warming, it is older people who are consuming less and changing their lifestyles because of their environmental concerns. A partisan divide over environmental issues and (in)action on climate change is demonstrated empirically, while conservative political leaders are shown to have an influence upon Green voting.
While the literature points to significant shifts in young peoples’ labour market participation and the social, economic and political context in which this has occurred, it tells us little about whether and in what sense young people can be considered as industrial citizens. We explored the notion of youth citizenship using data derived from 48 focus groups conducted with 216 young people (13-16 years of age) at 19 high schools in Australia. The findings reveal the ways in which several key dimensions of industrial citizenship come to be shaped and have implications for addressing the vulnerability of youth in employment and informing policy and action.
Contemporary global politics is characterized by intense debate about the status of multiculturalism. Framed within discourses of crime, counter-terrorism and moral decline, multiculturalism has been declared redundant just as the Australian government has rehabilitated the term in local citizenship legislation and policy making. Tensions between the local and the global are complex and multifaceted, taking place beyond the formal political arena, with the multicultural image of international mega events, such as the FIFA World Cup, conflicting with local representations of association football in Australia. Our case study of FIFA’s Sydney Live Site (in 2010) investigates latent tensions involving the representation of national interests at mediated local events with global implications. Ambivalence towards multiculturalism in sport is symptomatic, we argue, of a wider conflictual politics of national identity and fealty, with football (soccer) in Australia operating as a specific site where anxieties about multiculturalism are publicly expressed and new forms of governmentality ‘trialled’.
As a qualitative and experiential research method, autoethnography enables students to explore the relationship between their personal, lived experiences with wider social structures and forces, thus actively developing and engaging their sociological imagination. However, while various studies advocate the use of autoethnography as a learning and assessment tool, no study explores the acquisition of knowledge and learning from the student’s perspective. This is the first study that explores student reactions to and experiences of autoethnography as an assessment and learning tool in sociology. Through the feedback of 15 undergraduate students on qualitative open-ended surveys, this article shows that autoethnography actively engaged the students and enhanced their sociological learning by stimulating their critical thinking on the relationship between their lived experiences and the social. While there are some ethical issues that need to be considered when assigning an autoethnography as an assessment item, the potential benefits for students, as identified by them, far outweigh the possible negatives.
Various institutional legacies and contemporary social circumstances often work to constrain the voices and cultural expressions of gender and sexually diverse young people. However, gender and sexually diverse youth can also respond critically and creatively, generating their own sites of cultural participation and meaning. Through an empirical case study of Queeriosity – a queer youth cultural festival held in Brisbane, Australia – this article details the impetus behind the creation of this youth-led event. Second, drawing on participant observations and survey data collected at the festival, this article provides a ‘snapshot’ of the various identities, attitudes and cultural styles that circulate within Brisbane’s queer youth communities. Finally, it argues that the spectacle, celebration and diverse articulations of youth sexualities which underpinned Queeriosity provided participants with opportunities for sexual self-making.
Globalization and cosmopolitanism are treated differently in various literatures. The relations of each to the political state and migration, in terms of mobilities and enclavement, are also variably treated in different sources. The article shows that these concerns are not confined to early 21st-century developments but drew attention in accounts of globalization in 17th- and 18th-century social economies.
This article reports on a citation-context analysis of journal articles from Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Examining publications from the sociology of health and medicine, the study draws a number of conclusions about the state of sociology, inter-country relationships between knowledge workers, and national systems of sociological knowledge production. It finds that core–periphery relations define significant features of sociological work, impacting on citation patterns, inter-country collaboration and the selection of reference materials. Core–periphery relations are also found to influence the sociological production of knowledge across the Australian university sector.
This article applies Q methodology in order to explore Australian Muslims’ orientations to the secular society in which they live. The analysis is guided by some theoretical claims that are made about the dispositions of Muslims who live in Western societies. While a simple ‘closed’ versus ‘open’ dichotomy has some plausibility, deeper investigation reveals four empirical types: respectively, semi-engaged, coexisting, assertively religious and untroubled participant. These four types vary in the same direction from the theoretical specification that informed the search for the type in question in a way that appears to reduce the tension between the type and the norms of secular society. Generalizations commonly made in both popular and scholarly discourse about the problematic character of Muslim orientations to secular society appear not to apply in Australia.
Is there any difference between the widely discussed ‘pictorial turn’ and the emerging ‘iconic turn’? If so, does it matter? The answers to these questions are positive if we look at the problem from a cultural sociological point of view. It has been observed that the concept of the ‘iconic turn’, coined by a German philosopher Gottfried Boehm, may capture more effectively the sense of life attributed to visual objects than W.J.T. Mitchell’s famous ‘pictorial turn’. This article endorses this conjecture and provides a theoretical context for its justification. It thus contributes to the emerging debate about the paradigm shift in studies of visual culture.
VicHealth’s Community Arts Development Scheme (CADS) funded three community arts organizations to work with people from marginalized or disadvantaged communities, to provide opportunities for personal and community development through the arts. This article investigates how CADS engages the public in thinking about and discussing social issues and, more generally, the role of community arts practice in promoting civic dialogue. A mixed method approach was used. Interviews were conducted with community organizations in contact with the three CADS organizations to study to what extent this contact had promoted civic dialogue. Audience surveys were used to measure the extent of similar effects in audiences of CADS performance. The interview and survey data indicated that the arts organizations were successful in engaging the community in civic dialogue by provoking and contributing to discussion of challenges faced within communities.
The academic literature on the use of television shows in sociology education has successfully highlighted the value of the practice, but has not afforded any examples from seminar teaching. This article contributes to the discussion by demonstrating how The Simpsons, an American animated television sitcom, assists in teaching sociology seminars. The article suggests that using The Simpsons in group-based, participatory teaching and the learning environments of seminars helps students to understand sociological theories and develop their sociological imagination. It shows the application of the cartoon series to seminars of a Sociology of Belonging module and tests the value of the practice by drawing on responses to student satisfaction surveys and in-class observations. The results illustrate that the cartoon helps to highlight sociological theories and improve students’ sociological imagination. The research concludes that the sociology curriculum would benefit from developing particular ways of using The Simpsons according to course content.
There are many key questions concerning the current status of the notion of neoliberalism. What is it? Is it an appropriate concept to describe a political and intellectual movement or form of state? What are its prospects as a framework of public policy after the global financial crisis? The article proposes a way of answering these questions by regarding neoliberalism as a definite ‘thought collective’ and a regime of government of and by the state. It exemplifies these by shifts within neoliberalism regarding the question of monopoly, its relationship to classical liberalism and its approach to crisis management. In regard to the latter, it further proposes an emergent rationality of the government of and by the state concerning the fostering of resilience in the anticipation of catastrophe.
This research explores the initiation and progression of new late-life romantic relationships among older Australians (60 years plus). Our research found that older adult romantic relationships were meaningful, important and sexually intimate. However, few led to cohabitation or marriage, with these older adults preferring to date or to maintain separate households (living-apart-together, LAT). In line with Giddens’ ideal of ‘pure’ relationships, our research indicates that older adults are looking for egalitarian relationships based on emotional and sexual equality, albeit not necessarily based on cohabitation or monogamy.
Ecological crisis in agriculture is linked to monologic power relations that developed around industrial productivist farming practices and masculinist scientific knowledge. In identifying and deconstructing the seminal figure of the modest witness in science, and applying it in the context of agriculture as a scientific practice, it becomes possible to locate social relations in agriculture where the farmer is a situated knower, who witnesses in relational and situated fields of practice. This approach attempts to move the study of masculinity in the rural and the agricultural from a masculine subject depicted in binary opposites of hegemony and subordination derived from discourses that give agency only to humans and particularly to men with certain traits. Taking masculinity as a conceptual tool and applying it in a context of sustainability, this article draws on ethnographic fieldwork to reveal examples of farming practices and their masculinities in relations that promise to restore local ecologies and economies.
There has been an explosion of interest in recent years in cosmopolitanism, as both political philosophy and object of sociological investigation. In the empirical sociological literature, there is a strong tendency to present Western cosmopolitan thought as purely theoretical in nature, devoid of empirical referents and underpinnings. This article re-narrates the history of cosmopolitan thinking – stretching from ancient Greece and Rome through Kantian philosophy to the time of Durkheim – to demonstrate that this is a caricature, and that there are important empirical and sociological elements in cosmopolitan thought. This fact must be acknowledged in future cosmopolitanism studies, so that political philosophy and sociological analysis are no longer seen to stand in unhelpful opposition to each other, and such that broader, unproductive divisions between the empirical and normative domains are transcended.
Debates about globalization have been accompanied by considerable critical assessment of the notion of cosmopolitanism. The upsurge in travel, trade, communication, and resettlement among non-elite individuals and groups has raised questions about the nature and form of ‘bottom-up’ or ‘vernacular’ cosmopolitanism. This article explores the ways in which the experiences of a group of young people (12–15 years of age) in south-western Sydney contribute to shared practices of membership in a culturally differentiated society. On one level, these young people display a de facto vernacular cosmopolitanism through familial experiences of migration. However, the article shows how these young people often move within socially and culturally bounded communities defined by ethnicity, language, socio-economic status, shaped by desires for safety, support and belonging, and maintained by propinquity, religion and the persistence of traditional expectations and patterns around gender and inter-marriage.