Welcome to the last edition of Nexus for 2018. Although this is a busy time of the year, I encourage you to read the articles (perhaps while in transit to the Conference in Melbourne) and provide feedback to the contributors.
We open with the President’s Letter, in which Dan Woodman highlights the appalling interference by the Minister of Education in the awarding of ARC grants and Fellowships. This action is unprecedented and it needs to be resisted through all avenues possible. To this end, TASA has now released a statement deploring these actions. Dan also summarises the activities of the first Social Sciences Week, two of which are reported in this issue. By all accounts it was a most successful initiative that will surely be repeated.
The first articles are broadly related by the topic of age. Louise St Guillaume from the Teaching Sociology Thematic Group writes about an issue concerning many people, the increasing levels of anxiety among students and the implications of this for staff. While not all students are young, of course, this does seem to reflect a picture in the wider society of a stressed, anxious generation.
It is impossible to think about the sociology of youth without referring to the work of the late Professor Andy Furlong. At this year’s ISA Congress in Toronto, Dan Woodman and Johanna Wyn convened a retrospective on his work, reported here by Julia Cook.
We then switch to the other end of the age spectrum, with articles from two of TASA’s older members. Alan Scott writes about the period after retirement, and notes that this was once only a year or two, but with longer life spans it now stretches to 30 years or more and is a time of uncertain identity and status. In The Boomer’s Lament I use poetry to highlight the way older people are almost being blamed for their long lives.
In the next group of articles, several members who attended the International Sociological Association World Congress in Toronto, Canada, earlier this year reflect on their experiences and identify a few lessons that could be learned. Planning is well underway for the next World Congress which will be in Melbourne in 2022. This presents a wonderful opportunity to hear and meet the discipline’s leading thinkers, especially for sociologists from Australia and the Asia–Pacific region.
Next, we have three reports of Social Sciences Week activities. Joel McGregor describes a session at which the disappearance of the Beaumont children in Adelaide in 1966 was revisited. This mystery has never been solved and the panel explored reasons for this and outlined the ongoing investigation. Kristine Aquino and Jennifer Cheng describe the highly successful symposium examining migration, social inclusion and the multicultural city. Finally, there is a report from the Cultural Sociology Thematic Group about their well-attended symposium on digital societies and their implications for social research.
The final article comes from Bruce Curtis at the University of Waikato. He reflects on some differences between Australia and New Zealand in perceptions of official corruption, and includes information on two important conferences in NZ. To round off the issue we have news of doctoral completions, information about Postgraduate Day at the Conference, and a brief look at the 2019 TASA Conference.
This is the final issue of Nexus produced by the current editorial team. On behalf of my co-editors Peter Robinson and Alexia Maddox, I’d like to thank all contributors for their work, especially those who responded at short notice to pleas when we were desperate for copy. I must also thank TASA Executive Officer Sally Daly for her tireless work in producing the online version. I’m thrilled to announce that the new editor will be Roger Wilkinson, who was part of the Nexus team in its transition from print to digital versions, and who also previously served on the TASA Executive. After a long career at James Cook University, Roger now works as an independent sociologist in Cairns. He has a particular interest in digital communications and takes on an expanded role covering Nexus and some of TASA’s digital platforms.