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, and an account of renewed activism in New Zealand and an initiative there to involve schoolchildren as sociological researchers. We finish with news of exciting developments for TASA in 2017 and beyond.
Government plans for a plebiscite about amending the definition of marriage have generated considerable debate across the country. At the time of writing, the fate of the plebiscite hangs in the balance, so it is timely to look at the issue sociologically. Gahan’s article gives the background to the campaign for marriage equality in Australia and explains his opposition to the plebiscite process. Marshall asks whether anyone should get married nowadays, and examines two well-known texts to show how sociological thinking on marriage and family has changed since the 1970s. Robinson, too, questions the need for marriage while pointing out that the proposed changes will do little to reduce homophobia or improve conditions for gay men. We close this section with TASA’s statement about its opposition to the plebiscite.
Digital technologies have had a major impact on our lives as people and they now give us new scope as researchers. The article by Toffoletti and Maddox examines important ethical questions about the collection and use of new forms of data in this dynamic digital landscape. Burns considers the sociological issues raised by the growing use of drones for work or entertainment and Shier-Baker reports on the use of webinars for professional development.
Many members are coming to the 2016 Annual Conference in Melbourne. One highlight for me at every conference is to hear the work of the new generation of postgraduates, particularly those whose talent has been recognised with the award of a Conference Scholarship. In this issue we have the names of winners and abstracts of their papers and we would urge you to mark these in your programs and attend the sessions to give encouragement and feedback to the presenters. We also have the opportunity to hear about the use of sociology in the workplace from the winner of the Sociology in Action Scholarship.
Next year’s conference will be in Western Australia and we have a welcome message from convener Farida Fozdar. We also have an introduction to the 2018 Special Issue of the Journal of Sociology that will be produced by the Ageing and Sociology thematic group.
So, there is plenty for you to read as we head into the ‘silly season’ and hopefully you will get some time away from your workplaces to recharge your batteries and catch up with family or friends. We’d love to get feedback from you on this issue, and suggestions or contributions for next year’s issues. Please send them to us by 28 February 2017.
Eileen Clark firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexia Maddox email@example.com