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 of climbing. Along with 35 interviews, it is based on 18 months of multi-site ethnographic fieldwork with climbers engaged in high-risk rock climbing styles and ice, alpine and expeditionary climbing. The concept of habitus has been used as a core guiding concept for this research, particularly its improvisational and generative components. However, habitus is shown to have shortcomings in dealing with accounts of the individual in action because it has been theorised with an insensitivity to the scope of observation and analysis. To address this, the concept of the embodied echo is introduced as a means to explore the more radically embodied and experiential components of habitus in the act of climbing. Through the use of echoes as an allegory for the construction of dispositions, it is possible to give specific accounts to the processes of dispositional acquisition, mutation and activation. In effect, it functions as a theory of the habitus in motion.


Name:                Kristoffer Greaves, PhD, October 2015

Title:                   Australian PLT practitioners’ engagements with scholarship of
teaching and learning

Institution:        Deakin University, Geelong, School of Education, Faculty of Arts and Education

Principal supervisor:    Dr Julianne Lynch

Associate supervisors: Dr Shaun Rawolle, Dr Michael McShane

Summary: This thesis involved a qualitative reflexive-dialectical investigation of individual and extra-individual dimensions of Australian practical legal training (PLT) practitioners’ engagements with scholarship of teaching and learning. In the investigation I collected and analysed documents and semi-structured interviews. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s reflexive sociology and Michel de Certeau’s heterological science as a theoretical framework to inform explicit themes and concepts, the analysis strategy also involved theoretical sensitivity to identify emergent themes and concepts. Documentary analysis disclosed that dominant players position PLT as vocationally focused, non-academic, and critique-free. Players who were concerned with policy and regulation in PLT and focused on reproduction of traditional dispositions and practices resisted change and innovation in PLT. By contrast, PLT practitioners were and are forging an emergent professional trajectory that contemplates non-traditional dispositions and practices which challenge the status quo.


Name:                    John Haycock, PhD, October 2015

Title:                      Revolution rock: A study of a public pedagogy of protest music

Institution:           Monash University, Faculty of Education, Cultural Sociology of Education

Primary supervisor:    Associate Professor Mary Lou Rasmussen

Associate supervisor: Dr Emily Gray

Summary: My thesis provides a theorisation of a public pedagogy of protest music, as it is initially located in the persistent mythology associating protest music—especially that produced as popular music in the 1960s—with social change. From there I work to uncover understandings of the pedagogical dimensions of protest music, as it is facilitated by protest musicians, as a radical practice and critical form of contemporary mass culture. In doing this, my thesis identifies and explores critical and radical relationships between protest music, adult learning and education, and social change, as these interactions occur in the global mass-(multi)media. My research deploys a two-stage methodological approach of domain analysis and a case study on the protest music band, Midnight Oil. Based on this, I provide a theorisation of public pedagogy as it encapsulates protest music, and the critical and radical public pedagogues who produce this mass cultural form.


Name:              Briony Horsfall, PhD, January 2016

Title:                Children’s participation rights during child protection proceedings: Recognition, legal representation, and the redistribution of care in Victoria’s Children’s Court

Institution:      Swinburne University of Technology

Supervisors:     Dr Deb Dempsey (Principal Supervisor), Associate Professor Karen Farquharson (Co-supervisor), and Dr Rae Kaspiew (External Associate Supervisor, Australian Institute of Family Studies)

Summary: This was the first ethnography and case file study in any Australian or international child protection jurisdiction where direct, instructions-based legal representation is the primary participation model for children. The ethnography included 37 lawyers and observations with 56 children. The case file study sampled all cases with a final contest decision by a magistrate in one year. This led to the development of an interpretation of Nancy Fraser’s (2009) integrated theory of justice.

Legal representation, particularly with the direct model, was found to satisfy children’s participation rights to a strong extent and children’s perspectives about their care further illustrated this. Recognition ethics, whereby lawyers respect children as participants and apply skills to scaffold participation, emerged as the defining feature of their relationships with children. The quality of recognition in magistrates’ judgments varied according to the age of a child and whether the child had direct representation. Procedural and forensic aspects of recognition in magistrates’ judgments provided evidence for a relationship between participation and children’s care and safety when determining their best interests.

However, institutional governance structures impede children’s participation rights. There are inadequate legislated provisions, and the fragmented structure of the child protection system misframes participation. In light of the findings, changes to Victoria’s child protection system since 2013 reduce children’s participation and diminish court oversight of the state.


Name:              Maho Omori, PhD, September 2015

Title:                Anti-ageing medicine as edible health insurance: Self-care and ageing well among older adults living in Australia and Japan

Institution:      Swinburne University of Technology, Faculty of Health, Arts and Design

Supervisors:     Dr Deb Dempsey and Professor Michael Gilding

Summary: This study seeks to understand how culturally-embedded health beliefs and values, and socio-political ideologies of old age, influence anti-ageing practices among older adults living in Australia and Japan. Based on 42 interviews conducted in Australia and Japan, a cultural similarity was found in that both Australian and Japanese participants considered anti-ageing medicine as edible health insurance – a necessary investment to prolong ‘health expectancy’. It was believed that, as health insurance, this medicine provides them with ontological security for their future lives, expressed as the ability to carry on what they have established throughout their life course and enjoyed as younger adults into the future. Cultural differences were evident in two ways with regard to: (1) ways of approaching anti-ageing medicine, in particular, roles of medical doctors and Western medicine in the process of developing self-care repertoires using anti-ageing medicine, and (2) in-depth meanings of the concept of independence, which was, nonetheless, an important contributing factor to ageing well for both Australian and Japanese participants.


Name:              Kathryn Seymour, PhD, September 2015

Title:                Deficits or strengths? Re-conceptualising youth development program practice

Institution:      Griffith University, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Supervisors:     Prof. Ross Homel and Assoc Prof. Melissa Bull, Mr Paul Wright (Industry)

Summary: This thesis presents findings from the Queensland Youth Development Research Project which responds to the absence of research on community youth development programs in Australia. Two studies were conducted: (1) Participatory action research was used to explore program characteristics and consider how strength-based approaches could be applied in a program environment, (2) Questionnaires (n=440) and interviews (n=37) explored young members’ sociodemographic, involvement and developmental characteristics and program engagement and practice experiences. Three key outcomes were: (1) a five-element analytic model showing a complex youth program ecology, (2) a good practice framework describing strengths based quality youth program practice, and (3) an analysis of young member self-report data showing participation has a positive effect on young people’s lives. Implications for future policy include the need to (1) revalue the role volunteer youth workers play in supporting young people develop important life skills, and (2) increase access to programs for disadvantaged communities.


Name:              Louise St Guillaume, PhD, November 2015

Title:                The same but different: How people with a partial capacity to work are governed in recent policy changes to the Australian income support system and the National Disability Insurance Scheme

Institution:      University of Notre Dame

Supervisors:     Dr Cate Thill and Dr Denise Buiten

Summary: In this thesis I suggest that there has been a dearth of scholarship on how the partial capacity to work (PCW) category, created by the Howard government’s (1997–2007) Welfare to Work reforms, is governed, particularly through other policies, since initial concerns were raised by disability studies scholars and the disability movement. It addresses this gap through a Foucauldian discourse analysis of key policy documents associated with recent changes to the income support system for people with disability, income management and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). It found that people with a PCW are governed through sameness and difference, which is problematic. Specifically, governing through sameness and an able-bodied norm in income support system reforms and income management ignores the meaning subscribed to impairment and the social and impairment barriers that people with disability experience, impacting then on equality and access. Equality and access for people with a PCW is also impacted by their regulation through difference, found when comparing how they are governed in the income support system with how NDIS participants are governed in the NDIS. People with a PCW and NDIS participants are governed through hybrid rationalities comprised of neoliberalism, authoritarianism and social government which are at times distinct. These findings emphasise a need to move beyond governing people with a PCW through sameness and difference and the importance of examining policy intersections in constructing and regulating subjects.


Name:              Robert Templeton, PhD, November 2015

Title:                An auto/ethnographic study of the influence on a student’s dispositions to drop out of doctoral study: A Bourdieusian perspective

Institution:      University of Southern Queensland, Education

Principal supervisor:    Dr Andrew Hickey

Associate supervisor:  Dr Geoff Danaher

Summary: This research explores the influence of dispositions as sociological features of doctoral student dropout as experienced by participants from different Australian universities. The methodology involved the recollections of the participants to provide ethnographic and autoethnographic data, which were analysed for the influence of such factors as the student–supervisor relationship, student inadequacy, student life changes and a lack of cultural capital. Within the Bourdieusian sociological model, dropout decisions are not habitual and cultural capital is adversely affected by inadequate supervision causing dropout; however, the intrinsic disposition to learn is a factor in the return to study.


Name:              Gregory John Watson, PhD, December 2015

Title:                ‘You shouldn’t have to suffer for being who you are’: An examination of the Human Library strategy for challenging prejudice and increasing respect for difference

Institution:      Curtin University, Humanities (Centre for Human Rights Education)

Supervisors:     Dr Caroline Fleay, Professor Anna Haebich, Dr Rob Garbutt, Professor Linda Briskman and Dr Linda-anne Blanchard

Summary: This qualitative research examines the Human Library method of engaging people in dialogue to challenge prejudice and increase respect for difference and human rights. Its data, collected by participant observation and 44 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with Human Library participants, are interpreted using constructivist grounded theory. The research concludes that Human Libraries are spaces for rights and freedoms that engage people in three process concepts: raising critical consciousness, human recognition and enabling human rights activism.

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