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Editor’s Letter

Eileen Clark, Clarks Clerks: Welcome to this first-ever special issue of Nexus, devoted to one of the most significant issues affecting universities and TASA members today. The exponential growth in short-term, part-time and casualised forms of employment has been a feature of neoliberal, post-industrial economies. Otherwise known as contingent or precarious labour, this form of work […]

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TASA statement on contingent labour

Kristin Natalier, Flinders University:       During 2016, I had the privilege of collaborating with a group of TASA members* to develop a Working Document setting out practical responses to the increasingly widespread, destructive and exploitative use of contingent labour in academia. The process had its roots in my concern that as sociologists, many of us […]

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The never-ending search for work

Christian Mauri: TASA’s Working Document on contingent labour clearly identifies issues and proposes strategies for academics who employ staff and as such it is welcomed by those who face the never-ending search for work every semester. The anxiety over whether I’d get work in 2017 settled in a month before Christmas. I’ve been living without […]

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The hidden problem of insecurity among research academics

Tom Barnes, Australian Catholic University: There is now a lot of research on the excessive casualisation of teaching in Australian universities and its related problems like employment insecurity or the mistreatment of casual teaching staff, including TASA’s recent report. But little has been documented on the problem of contingent employment among research-focused academics. This raises […]

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Editors’ Letter

Eileen Clark, Clarks Clerks & Alexia Maddox, Deakin University:             We welcome you to our first issue of Nexus as editors. We hope you enjoy it and find it thought provoking and informative. There is discussion of the marriage equality plebiscite, insights into the use of new technologies in research, […]

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Marriage equality: How did we get here?

Luke Gahan, Federation University: Months before the Marriage Amendment Act 2004 was proposed, a small group of LGBT people (yes, we had at least one of each) from around Australia exchanged emails and organised a teleconference. Each of us had raised the issue of marriage equality in our own communities and we wanted to place […]

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Marriage equality: What I want to say

Helen Marshall, RMIT University: The request was to write something about the struggle to alter the Australian legal definition of marriage for Nexus. I was being asked because, as a heterosexual woman, my views might provide a contrast with other writers. I said ‘yes’, then thought ‘oh dear’. I didn’t and still don’t feel capable […]

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Marriage equality: It’s not the main issue

Peter Robinson,  Swinburne University: Between 2009 and 2011, I interviewed 97 men in a variety of international cities including Auckland, Hong Kong, Mumbai, and New York. I asked them questions about their experience of age and ageing as gay men and the results were published in 2013. The book, Gay Men’s Relationships Across the Life […]

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TASA Marriage plebiscite statement

Katie Hughes, TASA President: The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) strongly rejects the proposal to hold a plebiscite on “same-sex marriage” and recommends instead that Parliament resolve the question by free vote. TASA is issuing this statement because we believe as Sociologists that any move which implicitly or explicitly encourages an intensification of abuse or violence, […]

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Finding a home for the digital in sociological research, methods, supervision and teaching

Kim Toffoletti and Alexia Maddox, Deakin University:             Over the past five years in the discipline of sociology we have noticed that doctoral research projects are frequently engaging with the online behaviours and digital networked technologies embedded in our daily lives. The type and level of engagement varies, with some […]

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Drones and social research

Edgar Burns, La Trobe University: Growing exposure and interactivity of participants and researchers is a feature of research in the digital era, in contrast to the creation of taste and preference bubbles that seem to decrease exposure. In relation to the Internet of Things (IOT) that tends to mediate this interactivity in research, Orton-Johnson and […]

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Webinars for professional development

Melanie Shier-Baker, Applied Sociology Thematic Group: The Applied Sociology Thematic Group has two central themes: (1) to provide opportunities for sociologists working outside of academe to network, collaborate, and share knowledge, and (2) to help promote the usefulness of sociological theory and analytical tools in a wide range of arenas. Sociologists paving a career outside […]

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Southern Notes #4

Bruce Curtis, University of Auckland: We live in interesting times. I’m just back from the first industrial strike action at the University of Auckland in over a decade. Meanwhile, colleagues at Victoria University (Wellington) have also taken action over a pay dispute. Theirs was a little more creative than the noisy and well attended rally […]

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President’s Letter

Katie Hughes, TASA President: 2016 seems to be the year of elections, and TASA is no exception to this! Thanks to all TASA members who took the time and made the effort to vote for our next Executive which will hold office in 2017 and 2018. It was very pleasing to see the number of […]

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Thematic group three-year handover

Karen Soldatic, Thematic Groups Portfolio Leader: The number of thematic groups has grown significantly over recent years, and we now have more than 25 groups. When the first groups were established, the TASA Executive resolved that conveners should hold office for no more than three years. There were two reasons for this. First, it was […]

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Postgraduate Corner

Christina Malatzky, Postgraduate Portfolio Leader: It is with much pleasure that I congratulate Ashleigh Watson on being elected as the Postgraduate Portfolio Leader from January 2017. Ashleigh is a PhD candidate at Griffith University and has a passion for Public and Applied Sociology. TASA’s postgraduate members will have an opportunity to meet Ashleigh at the […]

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2016 TASA Conference Scholarship Recipients

2016 Postgraduate Conference Scholarship Recipients: Cassie Curryer School of Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Newcastle, Callaghan; and the Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research, University of NSW. Ageing-in-place and the risks associated with housing in later life. How might older individuals adapt and plan for later life within uncertain policy and housing contexts? […]

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TASA 2017 Conference

Farida Fozdar, University of Western Australia: It’s been ten years since the last very successful TASA conference was held in Perth at University of Western Australia, so we are very pleased to be able to host it next year. The fact that Perth is one of the most isolated cities in the world, and certainly […]

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Editor’s Letter

Written by Sue Malta, outgoing Nexus editor: With all things Brexit monopolising the news landscape, it seems valid that I co-opt the catchphrase, as this issue marks my Nexit – my last edition as editor of Nexus. This edition contains two groups of themed articles on issues that are both topical and, for me, compelling. The […]

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Last Exit to Little Britain

Written by David Rowe, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University: When a word enters the popular lexicon, the social imaginary has surely been tapped. ‘Brexit’ was on multiple lips to describe the UK’s narrow referendum decision to leave the European Union. It then spawned many variations, such as the hashtag ‘#Quexit’ by those […]

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Gratefully reprinted with kind permission from Liz Morrish Academic Irregularities Blog, 25 June 2016 The day after what the BBC has been calling a seismic event is bound to feel rather numbing. The prospect of leaving the EU is disorienting and scary precisely because no manifesto, no roadmap has ever been presented by the quitters. […]

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Lessons from Brexit

Written by Eileen Clark, Clarks Clerks: Result too close to call? Conservative leader under threat from his own side? Financial chaos and credit rating threatened? This seems like a bad case of déjà vu. Last week it was Brexit, today it’s the Australian double dissolution election. In both cases, it appears the little people turned […]

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Towards a sociology of ‘anti-ageing’

Written by Alan Petersen, School of Social Sciences, Monash University: Over the last two decades, the term ‘anti-ageing’ has gained considerable currency. There is a huge and burgeoning number of interventions labelled as ‘anti-ageing’ (or the more common Americanised spelling ‘anti-aging’) advertised online. The term is also widely used ‘off line’, with specialist clinics labelled […]

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What is the ‘ideal’ self in old age?

Written by Maho Omori, Adjunct Research Fellow, Swinburne University of Technology and Research Assistant, La Trobe University (Shepparton campus): One evening, I was reading gossip news about Meg Ryan, a Hollywood actor. She is 54 years old and according to the article, at this age her appearance has not changed much since she was known […]

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Southern Notes #3

Written by Bruce Curtis, University of Auckland:  Kia ora. In case anyone cares or even remembers, New Zealand has had its flag referendum and – surprise, surprise – we are keeping the old one that some sailmaker in the Royal Navy ran up. You know, your one. That was 26 million dollars well wasted, but […]

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President’s Report

Written by Katie Hughes, TASA President: ISA World Congress As many of you might know, Dan Woodman and myself recently went to Taipei, Taiwan to present a bid from Melbourne to host the 2022 World Congress of Sociology. We worked very closely with the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre to build the bid – which […]

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Convening a TASA Thematic Group

Written by Karen Soldatic, Thematic Group Portfolio Leader: The creative and supportive environment offered by TASA’s thematic groups has led to a proliferation of groups in recent years. There are now 26 active thematic groups, with the great majority of TASA’s membership involved in at least two groups. The impetus for new groups has been […]

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PhD Completion

Name: Teresa Flynn Title: Silenced by reason: the creation of the civilised post-divorce family Institution: Murdoch University Supervisor: Emerita Professor Patricia Harris Summary: This thesis sets out to explore how family law has come to shape and regulate the nature of the post-divorce family, with particular reference to contemporary Australia. In doing so, it positions […]

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Introduction: Nexus Editor

Written by Eileen Clark, Clarks Clerks, incoming Nexus editor: I came to sociology as a mature-age student after several years working in health sciences. In those halcyon days, I was lucky enough after graduation to get a lecturing position and I eventually spent 20 years working in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Wodonga […]

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Introduction: Nexus Editor

Written by Alexia Maddox, Deakin University, incoming Nexus editor: Alexia is a sociologist interested in the experience of digital community and thinking into how to visualise social form. She combines her passion for researching digital social frontiers with an eclectic interest in research methodology and exploring ways to bring these two passions together to shed new insights […]

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Editor’s Letter – Volume 28, Issue 1

Written by Sue Malta, Editor, Nexus: This issue of Nexus brings an extended report from the 2015 national conference held in beautiful tropical Cairns. We start with excerpts from some the keynote addresses, bringing us a range of perspectives on the conference theme of Neoliberalism and contemporary challenges for the Asia-Pacific. We begin with the stirring words […]

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Putting the social back into social sciences!

Written by Eva Cox, brief version of 2015 Keynote Address: I start by paying my respects to the First Nations and acknowledge their overlooked and potential contributions to Australia’s social well-being. I note we have much to learn from them about valuing social connections and collective functioning, which links to this Conference and my topic […]

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Neoliberalism and the resurgence of populism

Written by Vedi R. Hadiz, Asia Institute, University of Melbourne: The rise of populism has been witnessed virtually across the globe as a response to new social dislocations associated with the deepening of neoliberal globalisation. This is so even if the expressions of populism will vary enormously. Not surprisingly, populist politics has been drawn into […]


Synopsis of keynote address, TASA Conference 2015

Written by Itty Abraham, Department of Southeast Asian Studies, NUS, Singapore: It’s pretty obvious that technological change affects society, but how it does so is not always clear. In the keynote address I gave at the last TASA Conference (Cairns, 2015), I tried to show how, even as the world appears to become more and […]

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So you thought organising a conference was a piece of cake…?!!!: A post-script to organising TASA 2015

Written by Anne Stephens, James Cook University: Gosh, I’m so darn relieved it went well! TASA2015 will stand out in my mind as one of the most fulfilling professional endeavours I have ever undertaken. As co-convener with Theresa Petray, we were backed up by an incredible team of TASA Executive Committee members, our JCU Local […]

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Postgraduate portfolio report

Written by Christina Malatzky, Postgraduate Portfolio Leader: In November 2015, during my first visit to Cairns (I will be back, it was glorious) I was delighted to meet so many of TASA’s postgraduate members in person at the Annual Postgraduate Day. The room was full, extra chairs and a table were needed and after some […]

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Leanne Stevenson – TASA 2015 Postgraduate Conference Scholarship Report

TASA 2015 Postgraduate Conference Scholarship Awarded to Leanne Stevenson, University of Sydney: I was extremely delighted and honoured to receive a postgraduate scholarship in 2015. The scholarship very generously allowed me to attend my first large academic conference, in the gorgeous setting of Cairns, and I had a blast! Even before arriving at the conference, […]

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Chris Pollard – Conference Scholarship for TASA Members with Disabilities

Conference Scholarship for TASA Members with Disabilities Awarded to Chris Pollard, Deakin University: I am grateful for the opportunity this scholarship afforded me to participate in the TASA 2015 Conference. The experience enabled me to receive valuable feedback on my current research, to be exposed to new and stimulating research across the discipline, and to […]

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Jennifer Cheng – TASA Conference Scholarship for Sociologists Outside Academe

TASA Conference Scholarship for Sociologists Outside Academe Awarded to Jennifer Cheng: I am very grateful and honoured to have received a scholarship for Sociologists Outside Academe. I had enjoyed the TASA 2014 conference very much and hoped to attend again in 2015. However, working outside of academia meant receiving no institutional or financial support for […]

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Eileen Clark – TASA Conference Scholarship for Sociologists Outside Academe

TASA Conference Scholarship for Sociologist Outside Academe Awarded to Eileen Clark, Clarks Clerks: This scholarship is designed to assist members working for government or non-government organisations, private employers or other non-university settings to present their work at TASA conferences. While universities still value conference participation, counting attendance as part of normal duties and sometimes providing […]

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2015 Jean Martin Award

Awarded to Ben Gook, University of Melbourne for his thesis, The past that 0utlived itself: German re-unification and its discontents: First, I want to say thanks to Bill Martin and the award committee. It is a great honour to receive this award, and I found it humbling to read down the list of past recipients. […]

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Love in the sociological classroom

TASA Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching in Australian Sociology Awarded to Andrew Metcalfe, University of New South Wales: Sociology and love Sociology was an epiphany for me, as it probably was for everyone at this conference. I loved the scope and depth and sense of wonder that came with a sociological imagination. It changed […]

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2015 TASA Sociology in Action Award

Awarded to Alan Scott: I am honoured to be the first recipient of this award by the Association, which recognises that sociology is used in the service of the community beyond the walls of academia. My first sociological studies were made in the late 1960s and in 1969 I was invited to take over ITIM Research. […]

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Imposter Syndrome

TASA 2015 Conference Special Award. Written by Sally Daly, TASA Executive Officer: When Katie announced at the Cairns conference dinner that there was to be a surprise Award I felt a bit miffed that I had been left out of that loop and concerned that the Executive had gone rogue on me! When I realised […]

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Postgraduate Completions

During a four-month period, between September 2015 and January 2016, nine TASA members were Awarded their PhDs: Name:                Matthew Bunn, PhD, October 2015 Title:                   In the echoes of mountains: embodying climbing practice Institution:        University of Newcastle Supervisors:     Dr Barry Morris and D. Steven Threadgold Summary: This thesis is a social phenomenology […]

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President’s Report

Welcome to the first NEXUS for 2016, which looks like being another interesting year. TASA had a fantastic conference in Cairns in December. I’d like to thank the Conference Convenors and the Local Organising Committee for both their work and their hospitality: Theresa Petray and Anne Stephens, Stewart Lockie, Roger Wilkinson, Catherine Wong, Nick Osbaldiston, […]

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Secretary Report

Dear Members, After a greatly enjoyable and successful conference in Cairns, the TASA Executive now has to reorient itself to the activities of 2016 (of which there are many!). The TASA 2016 Conference The 2016 TASA Conference will be held at the Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, from 28 November to 01 December. The conference theme […]

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Symposium: The changing face of families and relationships

Written by Luke Gahan, TASA Public Engagement Portfolio Leader Last October the Families, Relationships, and Gender Thematic Group held a two-day symposium on the theme, ‘The Changing Face of Families and Relationships.’ Fifty-one people attended the event, including academics and students from Australian universities, sociologists from outside of academe, and one person from each of […]