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eSocSci Identities: Leon Salter Investing in objects of the holistic tradition: the political identifications of New Zealand education activists
September 26, 2016 03:47 PM PDT
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The writings of Ernesto Laclau represent a rich theory of political identification, with his central claim that our identities are always already dislocated, unfixed and unstable, because they must always refer to externalities. For Laclau there are no fixed, essential identities, but only processes of identification within discourse. This insight has radical implications for scholarly work interested in how social identities become political; or how and in what circumstances do people identifying primarily as teachers become involved in political activism?

The empirical material for this study is in-depth interviews with 21 education activists; all prominent critics of recent neoliberal reforms of the school sector (including bloggers, school principals and union employees). Analysis reveals that the activists draw on social democratic principles and New Zealand’s strong holistic teaching tradition as symbolic resources, in order to create an ethical gap between being (narrowing tendencies of instrumentalism) and the ought-to-be. The theory of Lacan and Foucault, both highly influential in Laclau’s work, is also drawn upon to offer added insights into the affective investments that create strong ethical stances, and the ethical importance for a researcher such as myself in bringing to light the perspectives of illegitimated knowledges.

eSocSci Identities - Esther Fitzpatrick Along a continuum of entanglement with the human and non-human – becoming Pakeha today
August 10, 2016 03:31 PM PDT
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This presentation explores Pākehā identity as a dynamic process of becoming along a continuum of entanglement with our diverse histories, touchstone stories, and relationship with Māori. Each Pākehā’s experience of becoming is therefore unique depending on their position on this imagined continuum of entanglement, at any one time. It is a future always entangled with our past, layered and enmeshed in a mutual becoming. Through exploration those silent stories become visible and the knots on the landscape of our becoming, those intra-actions between matter and meaning, between human and non-human, are threaded into place. A place where “every entwining is a knot, and the more that life-lines are entwined, the greater the density of the knot” (Ingold, 2009, p. 37).

eSocSci Mobilities Network - Tracey Skelton: Young Aucklanders’ and Singaporeans’ Narratives of Travel: Relationality and Identity Formation
February 01, 2016 06:07 PM PST
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This paper draws upon a comparative project conducted in the multi-cultural, cosmopolitan and highly mobile cities of Auckland and Singapore. All interviewees were aged 16 to 23 and had been born and brought up in either city. The paper considers the narratives of these young people about travel overseas and explores the role such mobilities play in relationality and identity formation.

eSocSci Mobilities Network: Debbie Hopkins -Changing Youth Mobility Practices: Transitioning Towards a Sustainable Transport System?
January 27, 2016 07:04 PM PST
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Changes to traditional youth mobility practices have been reported in many developed countries. These changes are characterised by declining rates of youth learning to drive and gaining licenses, decreasing youth car ownership, and declining vehicle kilometres travelled. This presentation will explore the potential opportunities which could arise from New Zealand’s youth transport/energy cultures in order to transition towards a more sustainable transport system.

eSocSci Mobilities Network: Alison Hulme - On the Trail of the £1 Commodity: The Thrift Ethic and the Spirit of Austerity Capitalism
January 27, 2016 05:52 PM PST
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Abstract: Low-end products journey from raw materials on municipal rubbish dumps in China, to showcase manufacturing cities, through superports, to bargain stores and finally to the homes of Western consumers. This seminar discusses the key characteristics of the low-end commodity chain and how these play out in both highly localised and highly globalised situations. It explores the lives of waste peddlers, international wholesale buyers, dock workers and consumers—their motivations and survival tactics. Bargain culture and ‘thrift’ will be examined in the context of the current ‘age of austerity’ and the role of bargain stores considered in light of this.

eSocSci Mobilities Network On the Trail of the £1 Commodity: The Thrift Ethic and the Spirit of Austerity Capitalism
January 27, 2016 05:49 PM PST
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Abstract: Low-end products journey from raw materials on municipal rubbish dumps in China, to showcase manufacturing cities, through superports, to bargain stores and finally to the homes of Western consumers. This seminar discusses the key characteristics of the low-end commodity chain and how these play out in both highly localised and highly globalised situations. It explores the lives of waste peddlers, international wholesale buyers, dock workers and consumers—their motivations and survival tactics. Bargain culture and ‘thrift’ will be examined in the context of the current ‘age of austerity’ and the role of bargain stores considered in light of this.

eSocSci Social Movements Network: Shiv Ganesh "Activism and the New Dialogic"
December 10, 2015 06:05 PM PST
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Massey University's Shiv Ganesh discusses Activism and the new Dialogic at the Social Movements, Resistance, and Change conference 2014.

eSocSci Identities Network: Avril Bell "Doing Critical Family History Research"
December 09, 2015 06:38 PM PST
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Abstract: Extensive colonial and imperial historical literatures already exist and, with them, extensive understanding of the justifications given for imperial ventures, the massive costs involved for indigenous peoples, and the ongoing legacies in contemporary postcolonial and settler colonial societies. Given this, is there any particular value in adding to this by researching particular, ordinary, colonial settler families? What new or different understandings might such settler family histories provide? Might they have the potential to encourage a deeper understanding of the settler colonial enterprise and its legacies beyond the specifics of the families themselves? In this presentation I will consider these questions and canvas some of the pros and cons to this kind of work in relation to existing work in this field and my embryonic research into my own settler family histories.

Bio: Avril Bell is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Auckland. Her research interests centre on settler colonialism, indigenous-settler relations and possibilities for decolonization. She is the author of a number of papers on these topics and her book, Relating Indigenous and Settler Identities: Beyond Domination, addresses these issues in four settler societies – Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States of America.

eSocSci Social Movements network: Dylan Thomas and Sandra Grey "From Class Struggle to Neoliberal Narratives"
November 22, 2015 07:30 PM PST
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Abstract: This talk centres on work examining four decades of claims-making by redistributive movements in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Centred on an article recently published in NZ Sociology, we will explore the shift away from claims based on ‘economic divisions’ to those centred on ‘social divisions’. We argue the change is not a displacement of class by identity politics, rather that the shifting claims-making has been driven by larger trends in the political-economy. The analysis, we argue, highlights the importance of studying social movements in a dialectical manner—one which seeks to understand how contention interacts with the external dynamics of the state and economy.

Bio: Dylan Taylor, University of Auckland, School of Social Sciences dylanmtaylor@gmail.com
Dylan is currently studying toward the completion of his PhD in sociology, the topic of which is the ability of contemporary social movements to enact substantive political change.

Sandra Grey, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Social and Cultural Studies Sandra.Grey@vuw. ac.nz
Sandra Grey is a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at Victoria University of Wellington. Sandra is currently working on a major project examining activism by the New Zealand women’s, union, and anti-poverty movements since 1970.

eSocSci Identities Network: Robert Didham "How people answer ethnicity questions: ethnic mobility in censuses 1981 to 2013"
November 22, 2015 06:48 PM PST
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Abstract: In this seminar I will discuss the phenomenon of ethnic mobility with across time and some of the implications this has for the measurement and interpretation of ethnic data and important social processes such as ethnogenesis.

Ethnic mobility refers to the way in which people change their ethnic identification over time and between different collections. We normally take data as information with little consideration for the details of how it is collected, how it changes over time and the implications of these changes. An example of this is ethnic identification and is important because in New Zealand we use ethnicity as a primary frame within which to interpret information. All too often we regard ethnicity as immutable and causal. This seminar will look at how ethnic identification relates to ethnicity and what this means for how we use information to interpret society. Finally, I will raise some questions that are relevant to data futures: what does this new information about ethnic mobility contribute to the meaning and use of data from both traditional and emerging alternative sources?

Bio: Robert Didham is a senior demographer with the Population Statistics Unit of Statistics New Zealand and a research associate of NIDEA, Waikato University. Robert has published widely in the field of ethnicity and identity and has interests in migration, fertility, historical demography and religion. His current research interests include emerging aspects of genomics and the challenges of comparing interdisciplinary measures.

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