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 edition, fittingly, begins with three perspectives of the public referendum in the United Kingdom. The first from Western Sydney University’s David Rowe, Last Exit to Little Britain, discusses the so-called ‘border’ between Britain and the rest of the EU. It draws comparisons between the more ‘informal’ borders – and their implications – within Britain itself, which have been brought into sharp relief by the Leave/Remain vote. The second article is a reproduction from Liz Morrish’s blog (Nottingham Trent University) entitled Brexit – is this Schrödinger’s neoliberalism? Like Rowe’s article, the piece highlights how the vote was divided along boundaries of class, privilege and education and bemoans the silencing of public intellectuals within academia who may have (could have/would have?) had an effect on its outcome. My thanks go to Liz for so generously allowing us to reproduce her article. The third article is from our very own Eileen Clark who, as a British expat (export), gives her own take on this moment in history in Lessons from Brexit. Eileen discusses the result of the Australian election and likens its outcome to that of the voting divide within Britain. As a British-expat myself from a low socio-economic background, but now with the middle-class privilege that comes from an Australian education and its ensuing social mobility, I found each of these unique articles compelling reading. I hope you do too.

The second group of articles is themed around Ageing and showcases the innovative work occurring in this neglected but burgeoning area of Australian sociology. The first article from Alan Petersen at Monash opens up the debate with his article Towards a sociology of ‘anti-ageing, which discusses how “little sociological analysis of the concept of anti-ageing and of the operations of the market of ‘anti-ageing treatments’” has been undertaken both here and elsewhere; thereby providing a unique opportunity for Australian sociologists to be at the forefront. The second article by Swinburne University’s Maho Omori expands the theme by asking the question What is the ‘ideal’ self in old age? The article denotes how the societal shift from old age as dependency to old age as personal responsibility has led the way for the ‘anti-ageing’ movement to cash in, as evidenced by the proliferation of pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals to ‘postpone or relieve the effects of biological ageing’. The last article by University of Melbourne’s Barbara Barbosa Neves (ex of the Technologies for Aging Gracefully Lab (TAGLab), Toronto) takes a different perspective, providing a personal account of the struggle between recognition of her work in sociological circles and maintaining its multidisciplinarity. Entitled Ageing, technology, and multidisciplinary research: intended and unintended consequences, Barbara suggests that Australia, at least, has embraced her research, and commends TASA for the foresight to facilitate an Applied Sociology thematic group when other, much larger, organisations have not. Lastly, the article by Christopher Baker (Swinburne University and Nexus ex-editor) discusses Ageing and estate transmission: legacy beyond the family. The article highlights the importance of charitable bequests and how the structural ageing of the population has implications to influence giving patterns in Australia for the foreseeable future. Along with the significant impact of volunteerism in late life, this article provides yet another example of how an ageing society can – and does – contribute to the greater good. In keeping with the eclectic nature of this newsletter, these four articles provide an interesting breadth of perspectives on sociology’s engagement with ageing.

We have been privileged to once again receive the next rendition of Southern Notes (#3!), by Bruce Curtis, University of Auckland. Bruce’s usual sardonic wit regales us with stories of social science NZ-style, the impact of rising sea levels and, of course, a comment on Brexit. I am sure you will enjoy reading it as much as I did. We also have the usual reports from the TASA Executive, which includes the President’s report from Katie Hughes detailing the successful Melbourne bid to host the 2022 World Congress of Sociology, the Thematic Group report from Karen Soldatic and the PhD completions (only one this edition). On another note, please don’t forget to cast your vote in the upcoming elections for the TASA Executive! Alerts will be regularly posted in the TASA e-news. Keep a look-out in your email inbox.

This edition also includes two introductory pieces from Eileen Clark and Alexia Maddox who take over as co-editors of Nexus commencing with the next edition. Eileen and Alexia bring a wealth of experience to the role and I wish them both well. Peter Robinson will join the editorial team early next year. Please join me in extending them all a warm welcome. Articles for the next edition are due in by September 15. All enquiries and submissions should be directed to Eileen at elclark@westnet.com.au

This is the second electronic delivery of the newsletter via the new TASA web. I encourage you to make full use of this transformation by interacting and commenting on articles that take your interest, thereby increasing your engagement with each “news”letter as well as the wider TASA community. In addition, your insights on this new interactive model would be most welcome.

Once again, this edition would not have come to fruition without the hard work of the production team of Sally Daly and Eileen Clark. I thank them, Roger Wilkinson and Christopher Baker for their unstinting help, wise words and friendship, and will miss our ongoing interactions greatly.

Sue Malta

Outgoing Nexus editor

Volume 28, Issue 2









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