Department Seminar Series 2012

**Special Seminar**
Wednesday 7 March 2012 - 4 - 6pm
Speaker: Professor Sergei Ryazantsev
Russian Academy of Sciences

Joint Seminar hosted by the Department of Government and International Relations, the Department of Sociology and Social Policy and the Centre for Multicultural and Migration Research


Contemporary Russian Migration: Trends, Challenges & Policy Options

Prof Sergei RyanzantsevRussia is actively involved in the process of international migration as an intermediary between the North and the South. It attracts migrants from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries and Asia, and is now one of the leading immigrant-receiving countries. Many immigrants consider Russian territory as a ‘transit point’ in their further migration to Western Europe. Emigration from Russia has also been considerable: since 1989, more than 1.2 million people have left Russia for permanent residence abroad. The major destination countries are Germany, Israel and the USA. Russia has also become a major exporter of labour to foreign labour markets, with 45-60,000 contract workers leaving annually. Current estimates are that 25-30 million persons of Russian background live outside Russia. This means that the Russian-speaking diaspora is second in size only to the Chinese.

On balance the country is faced overall with population decline, a decrease in the working-aged population, and an aging population. In this situation, Russian immigration policy is directed not at restricting entry, but at attracting the required categories of immigrants. Although the formal policy position is that immigrants are necessary, at the level of practice one sees the directly opposite concern with restricting immigration, involving a struggle against illegal migration and generally limiting the migrant inflow.

This presentation will argue that Russian migration policy requires change in the following directions: providing for entry of foreign-based Russians, attracting skilled, educated migrants, inviting the necessary number of guest workers to meet the needs of the labour market, and stimulating migratory mobility among the Russian population.

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Venue: RC Mills building Room 148, A26 [map]

Wednesday 4 April 2012 - 2 - 4pm
Speakers: Professor Anthony Elliott and Professor Charles Lemert
Topic: Disposable Lives: Explorations in the new Individualism

This seminar is about a central animating feature of the global electronic economy - the items thrown away, products designated as junk, and the disposal of things once valued and now assessed as worthless, by denizens of our new individualist age.

In a world of short-term contracts, endless downsizings, just-in-time deliveries, global electronic offshorings and multiple careers, it is not just goods and services, however, that go the way of a disposability logic.

Disposability, so Elliiott and Lemert contend, goes all the way down into the very fabric of lived experience and personal identity today.

The seminar traces the twists and turns of disposability according to the principal themes of Elliott and Lemert’s new individualist thesis - which places self-invention, instant change, social acceleration and short-termism at the centre of social analysis.

A faith in discarding, dismantling and disposability, Elliott and Lemert argue, brings with it a strenuously self-affirmative identity in the short term, but is one that carries immense emotional and environmental costs in the longer term.

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Podcast: Click here to listen to Prof. Elliott talks.

Click here to listen Prof. Lemert talks

Click here to listen to the seminar discussions.

About the Speakers: Prof Anthony Elliott, Flinders University

Anthony Elliott is Professor of Sociology at Flinders University, Visiting Research Professor in Sociology at the Open University, UK, Visiting Professor at the Social Science Research Centre at University College Dublin, and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia. HIs recent books include Making the Cut (Chicago UP, 2008), The New Individualism (Routledge, 2e, 2009 with Charles Lemert), Contemporary Social Theory: An Introduction (Routledge, 2009), Globalization (Routledge, 2010 with Charles Lemert, Daniel Chaffee and Eric Hsu), Mobile Lives (Routledge, 2010 with John Urry), and On Society (Polity, 2012 with Bryan Turner). He is also editor of The Routeldge Companion to Social Theory (2009) and The Routledge Handbook of Identity Studies (2011).

Prof Charles Lemert, Wesleyan University

Charles Lemert is John C, Andrus Emeritus Chair of Social Theory at Wesleyan University, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Comparative Research in Sociology at Yale University, and Adjunct Professor of Sociology at Flinders University. One of the most widely cited social theorists working in the US, Professor Lemert is the author of over 30 books. His recent books include Globalization (Routledge, 2010 with Anthony Elliott, Danieal Chafee & Eric Hsu), The Structural Lie: Small Clues to Global Things (Paradigm, 2011), and Whyt Niebuhr Matters (Yales, 2012)

Venue: RC Mills building Room 148, A26 [map]

Monday 30 April 2012 - 2 - 4pm
Speaker: Professor Michael Humphrey
Topic: Citizen Insecurity: Violence and Democracy in Latin America

The political paradox in post-dictatorship Latin America is that democratisation has brought high levels of criminal violence. Latin America now has the highest regional homicide rate at 26.5/100,000. Social scientists have termed this the ‘new violence’. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in their recent Report on Citizen Security and Human Rights refer to it as a problem of ‘citizen security’, lack of state protection.

This paper explores the impact of the ‘new violence’ on democratic citizenship. It argues that the ‘new violence’ and ‘citizen security’ represent framings which reveal the intersection of two large-scale processes – the impact of the ‘globalization of public violence’ and the ‘globalization of human rights’. The globalization of public violence involves the rescaling of organised violence through the transnationalisation of security, state franchising of violence to private organisations and state co-existence and/or collusion with the transnational organisation of crime. The globalization of human rights is the product of individual experience of life as precarious, the intensification of victim politics, the growth of individual human rights consciousness and the expansion of international courts and tribunals.

The paper examines the relationship between ‘security’, ‘insecurity’ and ‘securitization’ in Latin America and explores the ‘violence continuum’ as an expression of complex links between past and present, public and private and global and local violence. It looks at state protection through the implementation of ‘Laws of Citizen Security’ and their differential impact on the citizenship especially of youth, women and indigenous populations in Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala.

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Podcast: Click here to listen to Prof. Humphrey talks.
About the Speaker: Prof Michael Humphrey, University of Sydney

Michael Humphrey is Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology & Social Policy at the University of Sydney. His research on ‘Political Violence and Social Healing’ has explored the unmaking of societies by violence and the therapeutic forms of governance that have emerged to rehabilitate societies and recover legitimacy and authority. He has contributed to the study of transitional justice through research on truth recovery, victims and victimhood, disappearance, human rights and democratization.

His main focus has been on Argentina, Uruguay, South Africa and Lebanon. His research students have also studied disappearance in Sri Lanka, reconciliation in South Africa, social justice in Chile, and reconciliatioin in Bosnia. His most recent research concerns ‘trauma and victims politics’ and amnesty and democratisation’ for work in progress on The Politics of Victimhood and Amnesty: the Political Limits to Transitional Justice. His books include The Politics of Atrocity and Reconciliation: From Terror to Trauma (Routledge, 2002), and his most recent essay is ‘Counter-militancy, Jihadists and Hypergovernance: managing disorder in the ’uncompleted’ postcolonial state of Pakistan’, in Arab Studies Quarterly (forthcoming 2012).

Venue: RC Mills building Room 148, A26 [map]

Wednesday 9 May 2012 - 3 - 5 pm
Speaker: Professor Ibrahim G. Aoudé
Topic: The Egyptian Uprising In The Context Of International & Regional Politics

This seminar will discuss the roots and dynamics of the Egyptian uprising, placing it in the context of the global political economy.

It will situate the uprising within the trajectories of resistance to US geopolitical strategy. The discussion will then turn to the main developments after 11 February 2011, showing the ways in which the goals of the uprising have been blunted by both Egyptian and international actors.

Finally, some observations will be made about the possible future direction of Egyptian politics.

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Podcast: Click here to listen to Prof. Aoudé talks.
About the Speaker: Professor Ibrahim G. Aoudé, University of Hawaii

brahim G. Aoudé is Professor and Chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Hawai‘i-Manoa. He has written extensively on Hawai’i’s political economy and on Middle East politics.

He is the Editor of Arab Studies Quarterly and the International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies, and publishes in three areas of research: (1) Middle East Politics; (2) Hawai‘i Political economy and Social Movements; and (3) Arab-American ethnic identity and diaspora.

Professor Aoudé’s publications include The Political Economy of Hawai’i (1994), The Ethnic Studies Story: Politics and Social Movements in Hawai’i (1999) and Public Policy and Globalization in Hawai’i (2001).

Venue: RC Mills building Room 148, A26 [map]

Monday 21 May 2012 - 2 - 4pm
Speaker: Dr Annette Houlihan
Topic: Victims and Violence: The Marginalized 'Other' in Emotional Relationships

After Chris Brown assaulted Rihanna in 2009, the female pop icon became very publically identified with gendered violence in intimate relationships. Brown pleaded guilty to one count of assault and one count of criminal threat in the Superior Court of California, receiving a plea deal of five years probation and an order to undergo domestic violence counselling.

Within many media narratives, Rihanna is culpable for Brown’s crime, with much heavier criticism of her actions than his. Her intentions are continually questioned even after she publicly stated that “this [the violent incident] happened to me, I did not do anything wrong”. Issues of her cultural and geographical home, as well as her identity and self-definition, became even more complex for her within the (abusive) relationship with implied collocations of violence with the relegated ‘Otherness’ of her Barbados nationality (ie poor and Black).

Rihanna, as the marginalised Other, renegotiated her identity, despite her emotionally and physically violent past and present. Thereby reconfiguring the intersections of race/ethnicity, culture and socio-economic status for women experiencing violent relationships. Crenshaw identified interconnected layers of such concepts and their bearings on violence against women within her theory of ‘intersectionality’. When violence impacts young women’s lives, it forces them to question their own place and space as, it intersects with race, socio-economic status, gender, location, sexuality, education and income, and to ultimately give voice to their own experiences of violence.

This paper examines these concepts to increase spaces to consider gendered violence and ways to empower women who experience it.

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Podcast: Click here to listen to Dr Houlihan talks.
About the Speaker: Dr Annette Houlihan, University of Sydney

Annette Houlihan is a lecturer in the Socio-Legal Studies program in the Department of Sociology & Social Policy at the University of Sydney. She gained her PhD in the School of Law at Griffith University, with her thesis ‘(Il)Legal Lust is a Battlefield: HIV Risk, Socio-sexuality and Criminality’, and received the 1997 JV Barry Medal for Criminology from the University of Melbourne.

She has previously taught in Criminology at the University of New South Wales andthe University of Queensland, Criminal Justice at Monash University, and Law at Murdoch University.

She has worked on a number of research projects through Griffith School of Law, the Centre for Work, Organisation and Well-Being at Griffith University, the Queensland Alcohol & Drug Research & Education Centre, the National Centre for HIV Research (UNSW), and the Department of Criminology at the University of Melbourne.

Annette has also worked with various community organisations including the Abused Child Trust, AIDS Line/Hepatitis C Line, ALSO Foundation, the Queensland AIDS Council and domestic/ family violence support services.

Venue: RC Mills building Room 148, A26 [map]

Thursday 7 June 2012 - 4 - 6 pm
Speaker: Professor Farzin Vahdat
Topic: Modernity, Revolution And Democracy In Iran

This presentation traces the roots of the contemporary quest for democracy in Iran, and its recent manifestation the Green Movement, to its origins, the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the events that followed that cataclysmic event. The Green Movement, as attested by many groups that have participated in it, is not a revolutionary movement but a democratic initiative to bring democracy and modern rights of citizenship, women’s rights, and rights of religious and ethnic minorities to Iran.

As such, the Green Movement is the result, and perhaps eventually the culmination, of Iran’s long quest for modernity and democracy. For this reason, in order to trace the lineage of the Green Movement we need to outline the roots of modernity in Iran.

This presentation attempts to provide a theory of development of modernity in Iran, especially since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, and relates this theory to the formation of the reformist movement in the 1990s and then to the advent of Green Movement in 2009.

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About the Speaker: Prof Farzin Vahdat, Vassar College

Farzin Vahdat is a sociologist interested in notions and conditions of modernity and their applications to Iran, Islam and the Middle East. He is the author of God and Juggernaut: Iran’s Intellectual Encounter with Modernity (Syracuse University Press, 2002), as well as his forthcoming book, Islamic Ethos and the Spectre of Modernity, which deals with some Iranian and non-Iranian Islamic intellectuals and their discourses in relation to the forces of the modern world.

He is also the author of numerous articles in English and Persian, a number of which have been translated into a number of languages, including Swedish, Italian and Spanish. Professor Vahdat has taught at Tufts, Harvard ad Yale Universities, as well as Vassar College, where he in undertaking his current research.

Venue: New Law School Seminar Room 030, [map]

Wednesday 18 July 2012 - 3 - 5 pm
Speaker: Professor Stephen Cornell
Topic: Paths to Indigenous Self-Determination: Rights and Governance in Four English-Settler Societies

For much of the last century, Indigenous peoples in four primarily English-settler societies - Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Canada, and the United States - have pursued substantive self-determination and self-government: the right and capacity to exercise collective decision-making power over their communities, lands and futures. Much of that pursuit has focused on the recognition of Indigenous rights, including rights of self-government. In the United States and Canada, this effort has had some success, presenting Indigenous nations with a new challenge: to build effective governing systems and to govern well.

However, in Aotearoa/New Zealand and especially in Australia, the battle for rights has been less successul, presenting Indigenous nations with a puzzle: When recognition of the rights you claim are consistently withheld, is there an alternative path to self- determination? At least some communities or nations apparently believe there is.

Using materials from all four countries, this paper explores these divergent patterns, the complex relationship between rights and governance, and the prospects for Indigenous self-determination.

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About the Speaker: Prof Stephen Cornell, University of Calgary

Stephen Cornell is Professor of Sociology and Government & Public Policy at the University of Arizona, where he also directs the Udall Centre for Studies in Public Policy. His PhD in Sociology is from the University of Chicago.

He taught at Harvard University for nine years and at the University of California, San Diego for nine more before joining the Arizona faculty in 1998. While at Harvard, Professor Cornell co-founded the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development with economist Joseph P. Kalt. At Arizona, he led the establishment of the Native Nations Institute, a partner program to the Harvard Project.

He has written widely in Indigenous affairs and on racial and ethnic relations and identities. His publications include The Return of the Native: American Indian Political Resurgence and Ethnicity and Race: Making Identities in a Changing World, along with numerous journal articles.

Professor Cornell has spent much of the last 25 years working with Indigenous nations and organizations in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand on governance, development and related issues.

Venue: New Law School Lecture Theatre 104 [map]

Thursday 19 July 2012 - 2 - 4 pm
Speaker: Associate Professor Melanie Rock
Topic: Posthumanist Health Promotion & Municipal By-Laws on Pet Ownership: An Ethnographic Analysis

By unpacking the ubiquitous presence of pets in cities and towns, this submission extends the ‘posthumanist turn’ in the social sciences and humanities to health promotion theory. Municipal by-laws on pets are part of mundance governance of everyday life. As such, they may serve as key instruments for promoting human health through pet-keeping, while also mitigating the potential for pet-keeping to negatively impact on human health.

They also reflect ideas about how people are supposed to relate to the ‘animal within’ and to non-human animals (ie members of other species) while occupying urbanized spacae. An ethnographic content anlaysis of pet by-laws from a municipality that has won national awards and international recognition for innovations in urban animal€¨strategies suggests that a critical look at pet by-laws is warranted.

In particular, attention should be paid to the extent to which citizens from diverse socio-economic and cultural positions, as well as the non-humans themselves, actively participate in or resist implementation.

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About the Speaker: Assoc. Prof. Melanie Rock, University of Calgary

Melanie Rock brings a background in medical anthropology and social policy to research that combines a critical perspective on both human-animal studies and public health. Her primary appointment is in the Faculty of Medicine (Community Health Sciences), with a joint appointment in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (Ecosystem & Public Health) and adjunct appointments in the Faculty of Social Work and the Faculty of Arts (Anthropology).

Her leadership roles on behalf of the University of Calgary include serving as Director for the Population Health Intervention Research Centre in the Institute for Public Health. In July and August 2012 she is a Visiting Scholar with the Non-Human Animals and Ethics Program in the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine at the University of Sydney.

This visit and the research that she will be presenting has been made possible by a Population Health Investigator Award from Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions, a New Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and an Operating Grant as well as a Visiting Scholar Award from the CIHR’s Institute for Population & Public Health.

Venue: Transient Building Room 203 [map]

Monday 27 August 2012 - 2 - 4 pm
Speaker: Professor Robert van Krieken
Topic: The Refeudalisation of Society? on the New Aristocracy & Celebrity Society: From Habermas to Elias

In this paper Robert van Krieken reflects on the concept Jurgen Habermas used to characterize the transformation of the publlic sphere by its commercialisation, ‘refeudalization’. The seminar will examine how this concept can be used to understand the nature of power and social inequality today, drawing on the work of the leading German sociologist, Sighard Neckel.

Neckel’s recent writing shows how the concept of refeudalization can be extened to a broader range of concerns beyond Habermas’s public sphere, but it is also useful to examine its limits - to what degree has any de-feudalization ever taken place (have we ever been modern?), and how are contemporary forms of feudal relations in the economy, politics and society quite distinct, perhaps suggesting a concept of ‘neo-feudalism’? The paper turns to Elias’s concept of court society as a particular structuring of social relations and a type of self-formation that has persisted to the present day, and uses its application to the sociology of celebrity, particularly the role of celebrity in business and management, as a useful exampleof how the concept ‘refeudalization’ might be taken in different directions.

The overall argument will be for a better understanding of a distinctive kind of economic dynamic, the ecoonomics of atention, as a key element of today’s structuring of social relations interms of an increasingly wealthy elite and an impoverished peasantry, with the bourgeoisie or middle class struggling to retain its distinctive role and voice in social order and social transformation.

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Podcast: Click here to listen to Prof. van Krieken talks.
About the Speaker: Prof Robert van Krieken, University of Sydney

Robert van Krieken is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Socio-Legal Studies Program at the University of Sydney. His research interests include the sociology of law, criminology, sociology of childhood, processes of civilization and decivilization, cultural genocide, and more recently the sociological understanding of the operationof status, power and recognition in contemporary ‘celebrity society’, as well as contributing to the theoretical debates around the work of Elias, Foucault, Luhmann, and Latour.

Previous books include Norbert Elias (1998), Celebrity and the Law (2010, co-authored), and Sociology 4th edition (2009, co-authored). His most recent book, Celebrity Society, is published by Routledge in June 2012.

He has taught and researched, in addition to the University of Sydney, at University College Dublin, the University of Vienna, the University of Amsterdam, the Free University, Amsterdam, Wuppetal University, and the Free University Berlin.

Venue: RC Mills building Room 148, A26 [map]

Monday 5 November 2012 - 2 - 4pm
Speaker: Dr Salvatore Babones
Topic: Inequality in America: The Economics of the 2012 Election

President Obama has expressed his fear that America was becoming ‘a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by’. On the numbers, he’s right to be afraid.

Since 1973, US economic output has doubled in per-capita terms, yet wages have declined by 20% for the average 30-year-old. In contrast, high-income Americans have seen their incomes skyrocket and their taxes come down. Never in living memory has America been so unequal as it is today.

Republicans criticize the President for trying to divide America into ‘haves and have-nots’, calling for policies to ‘restore an America of hope and upward mobility’. The Republican message is that Americans shouldn’t worry about economic inequality; they should focus on economic opportunity.

In this presentation, Dr Babones will review the parties’ positions, assess them against the facts, and present his prognosis for the future of the US economy.

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Podcast: Click here to listen to Dr Babones talks.

Click here to listen to the seminar discussion

About the Speaker: Dr Salvatore Babones, University of Sydney

Dr Babones is Senior Lecturer in Sociology & Social Policy at The University of Sydney, and an associate. fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC.

He is the author or editor of four books, including Global Social Change: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (with Christopher Chase-Dunn, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006) and the Routledge Handbook of World-Systems Analysis (with Christopher Chase-Dunn, Routledge, 2012) as well as more than a dozen academic articles.

His research focuses on income inequality, economic development, and statistical methods for comparative social science research.

He writes a weekly column for the website, and contributes to progressive websites and newsletters across the United States.

His popular policy writing on the US economy is online at:

Venue: RC Mills building Room 148, A26 [map]

Friday 16 November 2012 - 2 - 4 pm
Speaker: Professor Sujata Patel
Topic: Multiple Modernties, Euro-Centrism and Discourses of Colonial Modernity

In recent times sociologists across the world have been trying to theorise a way to conceptualise the global imperative of modernity without neglecting ‘differences’ - the many local and subaltern voices. The focus of this paper is on Shmuel Eisenstadt’s theory of multiple modernities which he has conceived in consort with the ‘civilisational perspective’ to explain the plural patterns of modern civilisation.

In this paper I use post-colonial theories of Eurocentric-Orientalism to discuss the limitations of this approach, and suggest that Eisenstadt’s perspective remains caught in the universalism of 19th century sociological theories.

I suggest that the problem of multiplicity/pluralism has to be tackled at the ontological and epistemic level rather than at a substantive level. It is about how to frame social theory rather than what constitutes modernity. I elaborate how the use of the concept of diversities can help to displace the matrix of power structuring theories of modernities, and to indicate how the substantive theories of modernities can thus be re-framed.

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About the Speaker: Prof. Sujata Patel, University of Hyderabad

Sujata Patel is a sociologist influenced by a historical sensibility and a combination of four perspectives: Marxism, feminism, spatial studies and poststructuralism/postmodernism. Her work coveres modernity and social theory, history of sociology/social sciences, city-formation, social movements, gender construction, reservation, quota politics, and caste and class formation in India.

She is the author of more than 60 papers and is the series editor of Sage Studies in International Sociology, Oxford India Studies in Contemporary Society and Cities and the Urban Imperative. She is the author of The Making of Industrial Relations, editor of The ISA Handbook of Diverse Sociological Traditions and Doing Sociology in India: Genealogies, Locations and Practices, and the co-editor of five other collections.

Professor Patel has been associated in various capacities in the International Sociological Association, including being its first Vice-President for National Associations (2002-2006).

Venue: RC Mills Building Room 148 [map]