2013

Re-imagining environmental governance Beyond the impasse

The objective of this workshop is to critically examine approaches to environmental decision-making and processes of public policy-making. Specifically, we seek to investigate how current institutionalised norms and processes subordinate popular and cultural understandings about ‘environment’ and ‘participation’, and we aim to explore the role of social movements in improving environmental governance. The structure of this workshop will juxtapose cultural and environmental theory with mainstream economic and environmental paradigms to begin a different kind of environmental discussion. The aim is to provide a new set of markers for thinking about environmental decision-making and policy formulation, and to conceive of new and more creative approaches to public participation in environmental governance.

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The coal rush, and beyond Comparative perspectives

Globally, coal extraction and burning is booming. The burning of coal has released unprecedented quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and exacerbated anthropogenic climate change. This Workshop investigates this ‘coal rush’ in socio-political terms, asking how it can be superseded. We seek explanations of why new coal facilities are constructed, investigate social conflicts that are centred on the facilities, and analyse what factors may enable transition from coal. Specific sites, national contexts and international frameworks will be analysed compared to develop a global understanding of dependence on coal, and how it may be overcome.

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Religion and sexual politics in post-secular Australia

In recent years the role of religion in Australian sexual politics has come under increasing scrutiny. As social and cultural attitudes about marriage, family, and sexual identity have shifted, ostensible conflicts have emerged between religious liberty and sexual discrimination. Simultaneously, it has become apparent that the relationship between religion and sexual politics in Australia is not well understood. Models used to explain the nexus of religious and sexual discrimination in other places, such as Europe and the USA, are not well suited to the Australian context. Further research is needed to explain religious sexual politics in this country’s recent history.

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Social transformation and international migration Challenges for social theory and national identities

The overall intellectual purpose of the Workshop is to improve the links between international migration theory and broader social theory. It builds on the international, interdisciplinary collaboration established through the Social Transformation and International Migration in the 21st Century Project (STIM). The project is based at the University of Sydney, and is led by Professor Stephen Castles. It contributes to the development of social scientific knowledge through analysing the relationship between neo-liberal globalisation and human mobility, and understanding how global processes are mediated through specific national and local social and cultural experiences. Using a mixed methods and multi-scalar approach, the project examines four countries that have experienced significant social transformation and migration since the 1970s: South Korea, Mexico, Turkey and Australia. This 5-year project is funded by the Australia Research Council. It includes fieldwork by five University of Sydney doctoral candidates, and close partnerships with leading researchers in the four countries.

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Prospects for regional cooperation Opportunities for Indonesian-Australian collaboration

The workshop Prospects for regional cooperation: Opportunities for Indonesian-Australian collaboration explores a broad set of questions related to the practice and understanding of regionalism on the part of Australia and Indonesia, two significant but very different states straddling strategically vital Indian and Pacific Ocean littorals. Having been a core battleground of the Cold War, the islands and waterways in the southeastern-most extension of the Eurasian landmass have once again have become a site in the showdown of competing superpowers. Southeast Asia is home to more than 600 million people and is a conduit for nearly two-thirds of world trade. It straddles overlapping American, Chinese and Indian spheres of influence, and hosts middle-power aspirants, Indonesia, Vietnam and Australia, as well as smaller but influential players, notably Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Recent standoffs between the Chinese, Vietnamese and Filipino navies remind us what is at stake in the region, as do the rising tensions in Sino-Japanese relations and the enduring regional echoes of the global ‘war on terror.’

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Markets and the modern university

This workshop arises from a concern about the way knowledge is being shaped by the commodification of higher education. Rather than being regarded principally as a public good, knowledge has been transformed increasingly into a private good and this is exercising a profound effect on the social sciences. After 20 years, the shift of the cost of Australian higher education from community to “consumers” is almost complete. Some Australian law schools, for example, now receive as little as 10 per cent of their income from governments.

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Rethinking retirement Actively capturing the vitality for self and society

“Retirement” is most often associated with concepts of work and the individual (Shultz & Wang, 2011), but easily could extend to activity of any sort or even existence itself, and by extension, wider society. Historically speaking, the issue of what to do when people live to a “ripe old age” has been addressed through strategies varying from veneration to ostracism.

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Exploring the gender dimensions of intergovernmental relations Australian and international perspectives

Intergovernmental policy processes in federal and multi-level states have neglected gender equality issues (Haussman et al 2010). Policy areas such as violence against women and reproductive rights, have rarely been addressed through intergovernmental policy making machinery. At the same time, the social and economic policies prioritised in intergovernmental processes are seldom analysed for their gender dimensions. Paralleling this neglect, social and legal policy researchers attentive to gender have yet to systematically explore the impact of intergovernmental relations on policy development and outcomes.

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Science informing public policy:Beyond ‘What counts as evidence?’ Beyond ‘what counts as evidence?’

This workshop will address the questions of evidence quality and methodological rigour with which policy-makers have recently engaged, and promote discussion with researchers on these questions through a series of case studies: HIV, alcohol and illicit drugs policy, climate change and income management. It will advance these debates through the presentation of policy-relevant theoretical papers on both the sociology of scientific practice and the traffic between the social and the scientific realms. Each of the papers will engage with current debates and reframe their terms, through discussions of science, policy and practice.

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Missionary women Experiences in Australia and Papua New Guinea

Mission historiography tends to be framed either in the context of imperialism and colonialism, or with hagiographic tendencies from inside the church. But missions have played an ambivalent role in the contact zone, and this is sometimes reflected in indigenous biographies. Missions were homes, and places of refuge and training, and therefore a vital space in the contact zones, where interpersonal relations and the continual negotiation of meanings were absolutely central.

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Australia – past, present and future A workshop to bring together contributors to the recently commissioned cambridge economic history of australia

The Workshop is to review progress on the project to develop the first Cambridge Economic History of Australia. The Cambridge Economic History of Australia is intended both for class-room use and to inform researchers, but also to reach policy makers through understanding and assessment of the Australian economic achievement and the policy settings that have led to the current economic outcomes and how they might need to be reconfigured for the future.

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Contact Information

Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia

    ABN: 59 957 839 703
  • Location: 26 Balmain Crescent, Acton, ACT 2601
  • Postal: GPO Box 1956, Canberra, ACT 2601
  • +61 .2 62491788
  • +61 .2 62474335
  • secretariat@assa.edu.au

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