SSPS HDR Research Day, Friday, 15 September 2017



TIMEFisher Library Seminar Room (218)Fisher Library Exhibition Space (224)
8.45-9.00Morning tea in Fisher Level 2 Common Area 
9.00-9.15Introduction by Head of School, Simon Tormey 
9.15-11.00 SESSION #1
JAMES REILLY, Discussant

KESHAB GIRI — Female Combatants and Civil War Duration
KIHONG MUN — The Origins of Political Transitions in Myanmar
MD SAIMUM PARVEZ — Violent Extremism: The Interplay between Offline and Online Worlds
HANEOL LEE — A Case Study of Capability-building Activity of Military Alliance – the Deployment of Theatre High Altitude Air Defence (THAAD) System to Republic of Korea (ROK)
SESSION #2
JADRAN MIMICA
& GAYNOR MACDONALD, Discussants

LUCIE HAZELGROVE-PLANEL — Basketry Gifts and Relationships in Vanuatu
PATRICK EWING — Gentrification, Urban Displacement & The Right to the City: Towards spatial justice and a spatial ethics
LAURA MCDONALD — Visualising Homicide Victims
NATALIE MAYSTOROVICH — The Importance of Dignified Burial for the Relatives of the Missing
11.00-12.00 'Making The Most of Conferences'
Tips for presenting, networking and getting the most out of your time at external conferences.

MARK BYRON, Presenter
12.00-12.45Lunch in Fisher Level 2 Common Area
12.45-2.30 SESSION #3
NICOLA PIPER, Discussant

DAVID FITZSIMMONS — Balancing economics and politics: Critical factors in Australia’s foreign policy towards China during the Howard government (1996-2007)
SUZANNE INGRAM — Health communication of chronic disease in an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audience-specific newspaper
LI MO — Structural Determinants of China's Divorce Rate: A Cross-Regional Analysis
HUGH TUCKFIELD — How States Decide: International norms, socialisation and protracted refugee situations, China, US and Nepal
SESSION #4
JENNIFER WILKINSON, Discussant

LEAH WILLIAMS VEAZEY — Migrant maternal sociality in online diasporic mothering communities
RHYS HERDEN — 'Why marriage?': Perspectives on Marriage Equality in Australia
ELSHER LAWSON-BOYD — Biopolitics, barbeques and being together: An exploratory study of social eating in a Uruguayan Social and Sports Club
GRETA WERNER — Social Housing in Three Areas of Practice
2.30-3.15 Post-PhD Life Session
A panel-led discussion on Post-PhD life and opportunities within and without academia.

LISETTE COLLINS, Panellist
GORANA GRGIC, Panellist
AINSLEY ELBRA, Panellist
JOE COLLINS, Panellist
 
3.15-3.30Conclusion by Head of School, Simon Tormey 



Abstracts




PATRICK EWING, Sociology and Social Policy
Gentrification, Urban Displacement & The Right to the City: Towards spatial justice and a spatial ethics

This paper outlines the theoretical and methodological approach for my current doctoral research. My research examines how gentrification and urban displacements fundamentally alter the production of spaces. Case studies in Sydney and New York City form the basis of ethnographic research to demonstrate how gentrification and urban displacement transform perceptions, conceptions and lived experiences of both the physical landscape and abstract space. These two interlinked processes erase and (re)produce meanings of place through the privileging of neoliberal space, eroding the potential for urban spaces to be heterogenous multiplicities. The relationship between the gentrifier and the displaced is formulated not as a static dichotomy, but as fundamentally complex and ethical, encompassing class, race, ethnicity, indigeneity, gender, age and other markers of intersectional identities. Formations and organisations of resistance to gentrification and urban displacement at all scales, from the local to the global, becomes a key strategy in achieving a sense of spatial justice. Lefebvre’s concept of the Right to the City is applied as a means to balance the self-determination of a community with the need for spaces of difference and alterity.


DAVID FITZSIMMONS, Government and International Relations
Balancing economics and politics: Critical factors in Australia’s foreign policy towards China during the Howard government (1996-2007)

Recent studies regarding Australia’s foreign policy attitudes towards China have argued that international factors and domestic political factors have created a pragmatic and diplomatic balancing act in the Australia-China bilateral relationship. This paper tests this argument by exploring the Howard government’s role in policymaking and policy implementation of Australian foreign policy towards China from 1996 to 2007. It argues that there were also “other” factors - such as – public diplomacy and leadership styles that drove and influenced Australia’s China policy in the Asia-Pacific region. This highly interactive process had profound continuing effects for Australia’s foreign policy towards China in the years to come.


KESHAB GIRI, Government and International Relations
Female Combatants and Civil War Duration

Recent literature have established that the participation of women in armed conflicts is indeed regional and global phenomenon not an aberration limited to few countries. Similarly, study of civil war duration has now been considered to be equally as important as the study of civil war onset and its resolution whereas focus is more on characteristics of rebel group in civil war duration studies. I try to connect agency role of women in civil war (as combatants on the rebel side) with civil war duration to argue that presence of female combatants at any number on the rebel side helps them to enhance their resistance power which in turn makes civil war longer. Secondly, I argue that such impact on civil war duration increases with the increasing prevalence of female combatants on rebel side. I propose two causal mechanisms towards the support of my theory: numerical advantage and retention, and tactical edge and political value. I will use triangulation methodology that combines Large-N quantitative study (Zero Truncated Negative Binomial Maximum Likelihood Estimation and Logit Model) and a theory-confirming process tracing case study of Female Combatants in Maoist Insurgency in Nepal (1996-2006) to test my hypotheses.


LUCIE HAZELGROVE-PLANEL, Anthropology
Basketry Gifts and Relationships in Vanuatu

This paper considers how gifts of pandanus baskets are requested and used on Futuna, a small island in Southern Vanuatu. It compares and contrasts the use of basketry by the local Presbyterian church with traditional forms of gifts on the island and uses the concept of gladhat to do so. Gladhat, which loosely means goodwill, is a concept that runs throughout all spheres of the economy on Futuna. It is the professed reason for gift exchange of all kinds and is linked to the local rhetoric of community. The paper explores the aims of these gifts and their outcomes: how these gifts affect social relationships.


RHYS HERDEN, Sociology and Social Policy
'Why marriage?': Perspectives on Marriage Equality in Australia

The movement toward marriage equality in Australia can be framed in many, often closely related, ways. As a push for the honouring of the equal rights of LGBTIQA* Australians to their straight, cis-gendered counterparts; as a movement toward including LGBTIQA* Australians as equal 'citizens'; as a potential refutation of some queer theories; and as a symptom of the continuing relevance of family and personal life in Australia. At the centre of many of these potential ways of framing marriage equality, the question of 'why marriage?' is of central concern. Why has the institution of marriage become, in many respects, the most salient LGBTIQA* issue in the Australian media and parliamentary discussion? Why are LGBTIQA* Australians, by large, in firm support for establishing marriage equality if queer theories argue this could lead to erasure of queer cultures? This paper will seek to establish some possible theoretical explanations to address this question of 'why marriage?' and will combine this with some preliminary findings from qualitative interviews with LGBTIQA* Australians. This paper will also aim to open an investigation into the role that intimacy may play in relations of power in Australian politics.


SUZANNE INGRAM, Anthropology
Health communication of chronic disease in an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audience-specific newspaper

‘Communication’ is a key reference in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health policy but little is understood about how to do this in a way that promotes or effects better uptake of the health message. Communication of evidence based research is assumed to be an end in itself. Ethical research aims to be of practical value to Aboriginal people, their health professional and service providers, and is implied in enhancing the skills, knowledge and capacity of the health and research workforce. Health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is conceived as “… not just the physical wellbeing of the body but a whole of life view...” (NACCHO 1989). This paper discusses the health communication of chronic disease in an Aboriginal audience-specific English language print publication, one that would arguably be seen as a primary vehicle of information to this audience. This analysis seeks to understand the assumptions embedded in text-based communication to convey the chronic disease message. It asks ‘what are the characteristics in a print media publication for delivering the chronic illness message to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audience?’


ELSHER LAWSON-BOYD, Sociology and Social Policy
Biopolitics, barbeques and being together: An exploratory study of social eating in a Uruguayan Social and Sports Club

Unless you have been living under a rock, it would be extraordinarily difficult to ignore the salience of current political discussions that tell of Australia’s growing obesity crisis, or ‘epidemic’ as it is now commonly known. An overweight or obese body, and therefore one that manifests potential chronic disease is decidedly one at risk not just to the self but also to society and indeed future generations, particularly in terms of the estimated health dollars spent and productivity lost (Guthman 2005; Lupton 2012). Through arguments such as these, a case is made and justified for nation-wide governmental intervention, a prime example of this being Australia’s Dietary Guidelines. It is a text that coordinates current voices of stakeholders and contributors largely from the natural sciences, serving a primal purpose of treating the causes of overweightness and obesity as they are commonly told in health and political discourses: individual dietary choices. If one were to analyse the guideline’s contents with a level of naivety, what could be found, to put simply, is a language that tells a reality of an eating body and the eaten food (Law 2002, p. 12). Let us start with the body. The eating body is mechanistic, utilising food as energy and sustenance and comes with the requirement of self-regulated balancing between energy intake and energy output. Without management and control, the body has self-destructive potential (Mol 2012). As the logic goes with publically disseminated nutritional knowledge, the onset of non-communicable ‘lifestyle related’ diseases could be avoided when an educated mind comes to see the body as a manageable, alterable material. It is up to the individual to know one’s own nutritional and energy needs, and food choice becomes situated within individual rationality. Then there is the food. Food is known as a collection of microscopic pieces before it becomes cultured, and as it is affective and potentially damaging matter on the body, its biochemical ontology (the ‘right’ biochemical ontology as defined by validated scientific enquiry) is one that a healthy educated body knows and acts upon. In the laboratory, skills and techniques fragment, test and judge quality of nutritional components like any other chemical, be that trans-fats, carbohydrates or vitamins. Simply, food is known primarily as nutrients, and the logic stands that overweightness and obesity can be reduced when food is known and done as such. But what of those in Australia’s communities who do not prioritise an ontology of food as it is represented in the guidelines, nor come to see their bodies as they are told to by biomedical discourses? Is there dissonance and confliction between a prescribed reality of eating and a reality situated outside the laboratory, in spaces that manifest a complex, multifaceted array of social varieties? Can food be chosen primarily on the basis of nutritional rationality as the guidelines ask? Can we see food as always momentarily becoming an active centerpiece between relations, and eating as a process of continually solidifying networks? The Uruguayan Social and Sporting Club is located in Sydney’s suburb Hinchinbrook, where attractions include a Latin American styled barbeque, cafe and bistro, dancing, live music and Spanish classes, among many others. Every weekend it welcomes patrons from an array of European and Latin American backgrounds, Italian, Spanish, Uruguayan, Argentinian, and thrives off a foundation of volunteer support. As stated in its objectives, the club aims to provide a ‘space of expression, assembly and entertainment through the feel of Hispanic and Latin American culture’, and on Friday nights it becomes a space to share conversation, drink and food with friends, family and other members of the community. By using ethnographic methods of qualitative enquiry within the context of the Club and semi-structured interviews with eight of its members, I am in the process of exploring the significance of food and eating as a shared social practice, which may contrast to eating as individually self-regulated and biochemically prioritised.


HANEOL LEE, Government and International Relations
A Case Study of Capability-building Activity of Military Alliance – the Deployment of Theatre High Altitude Air Defence (THAAD) System to Republic of Korea (ROK)

This chapter is dedicated to scrutinize the deployment of THAAD system to ROK, one of the ongoing capability-building activities of ROK-US alliance. This case study goes beyond the discussion about the THAAD system per se (i.e. the capability), expanding to the understanding of the entire process of the deployment, the ‘building.’ Based on the discussion of our theory in Chapter 3, the crucial indicators of the military effectiveness in the THAAD case pertain to series of decisions for the progress of the deployment. The most significant, however, includes ROK’s decision for the actual, but partial, installation of the THAAD missile system on 26 April 2017, and President Moon’s decision for the suspension of deployment process on 5 June 2017 in order to fulfil ‘procedural legitimacy’ and the most recent resumption of the provisional deployment on 31 July. Only installing part of the system (the X-Band radar and the two launchers) displays limited progress of the entire deployment, meaning an ineffective military activity. The halt (or delay) by President Moon evinces a severe ineffectiveness in the THAAD deployment plan. In contrast, the start of installing the remaining launchers evidences that the capability-building activity restores its effectiveness. Given how these decisions relate to the progress of the deployment, the military effectiveness changes, rendering it a variable. The case study below explores the causes for this change with particular focus on such variables as the preference alignment between ROK presidents and the military and the policy coordination among the actors involved in the decision-making process of the THAAD issue. In the following sections, I put forward the discussions about the THAAD weapon system and development of the THAAD issue and then analyse the preferences of the decision-makers, which include the South Korean military, political parties and the presidents. What follows is the scrutiny on how the divergence of preferences and meagre coordination between the president and the military are causally related to the military effectiveness of the entire capability-building activity.


NATALIE MAYSTOROVICH, Sociology and Social Policy
The Importance of Dignified Burial for the Relatives of the Missing

The process of recuperating the missing has various aspects that are imperative to the healing and reconciliation in post conflict societies. Knowing the fate or loved ones and where they are buried is only one part of the process. Another aspect is the recognition of the death that is achieved through the provision of funerary rites. During my fieldwork this became blatantly apparent in the case of Timoteo Mendieta. His daughter Ascension had one grand ambition to bury her father where she wanted in her local cemetery so that when she passed on she could be placed in the ground with him. The significance of the materiality of physical remains is highlighted by the intrinsic need to have something that can be held and touched substantively. Initially during my investigation I believed it would be the objects that would hold primary importance in the recuperation process. While those objects associated with life connect us to the dead. It is the physical concreteness of remains or the bones that tied the living with the dead.


LAURA MCDONALD, Sociology and Social Policy
Visualising Homicide Victims

This paper explores the way representations of homicide victims are managed by the media. From CCTV footage of a victim’s last moments, to family photographs supplied by the bereaved and personal Facebook photos re-published by the media, images nowadays saturate the mainstream news. If the public’s engagement with crime is increasingly mediated through still and moving image in the digital age, then what does this mean for the way a victim is represented and remembered? These proliferating images arguably have immense power to shape the public’s understanding of crime, law, and justice. But our relationship with them may be problematic especially when it comes to victims’ rights.


LI MO, Sociology and Social Policy
Structural Determinants of China's Divorce Rate: A Cross-Regional Analysis

Based on the data of 31 provinces from China Statistical Yearbook from 1996 to 2013, this study explores the structural determinants of China’s divorce rate at the provincial level with cross-sectional designs. By investigating the combined effects of economic development, urbanisation, the educational level, ethnic characteristics, unemployment rate, women’s social status and the regional factors, which are theoretically related to the divorce rate, the regression analysis of this study suggest the educational level, the ethnic characteristics, unemployment rate, and women’s social status have the significant and positive impacts on the regional variations in China’s divorce rate. Additionally, Northeast China, the Provincial-Level cities and the Autonomous Regions have distinctively high divorce rates compared to the rest of China. However, contrary to most prior research findings, the significant effects of economic development and urbanisation are not observed.


KIHONG MUN, Government and International Relations
The Origins of Political Transitions in Myanmar

The military regime in Myanmar has been highly unified for more than 60 years as one entity even though there have been changes in the leadership and main governing bodies. However, after more than 50 years of military authoritarian rule, the country started the ‘liberalization’ process by establishing quasi-civilian government and easing restrictions on the political and social freedom of citizens. Finally, a general election in 2015 resulted in relinquishing of power from authoritarian to civilian; the country is now considered to be on the path leading towards democracy. Although the current political changes in Myanmar could not be considered as a ‘new political phenomenon,’ I argue that the regime change in the country poses challenging questions in the field of political science regarding transition and democratization studies. I hypothesized that the military regime’s position in the strength level was the essential background condition of the regime to decide which transitional paths from authoritarianism. However, the hypothesis on ‘the position of strength’ alone will not explain a voluntariness of transition in Myanmar comprehensively. Authoritarian regimes have instinctively tried to sustain and maintain their influences over a political arena. In this regard, the military’s choice would consider options and choices built on the lessons learned from the past to minimize defamation of their legitimacy as the position of the state guardian. Combined these two essential circumstances, the military can choose to initiate transition as to their favour. Throughout the dissertation, I explore reasons why the stable and strong military-led government decided to open up a regime to the door toward democratization, and why the government specifically chose to proceed by negotiating and making pacts with the oppositions. This research is expected to contribute to our understanding of the origins (and causes) of the transition under the strong and durable authoritarian rules, and the interaction between institutions and agencies in the process of political transitions.


MD SAIMUM PARVEZ, Government and International Relations
Violent Extremism: The Interplay between Offline and Online Worlds

The contemporary world has been experiencing a surge of violent extremism and experts blamed different factors behind it. Many experts pointed to the unprecedented easy access, availability, and interactive nature of the internet for increasing violent extremism. However, most of the literature only analyse the militant contents without exploring how these materials translate ideas into actions. The proposed paper attempts to look at the role of the internet in violent extremism and the interplay between offline and online worlds. It seeks to explore whether the internet plays a role behind increasing extremism and does the internet accelerates/reinforces extremism without the support of the offline world. The paper also looks at how the messages and contents of the online extremist materials influence their audience.


HUGH TUCKFIELD, Sociology and Social Policy
How States Decide: International norms, socialisation and protracted refugee situations, China, US and Nepal

This paper investigates how states decide to follow or reject international human rights norms in their decision-making behaviour. It investigates how and why the Himalayan states of Nepal, sandwiched between China and India, decided to agree to a proposal by Washington to resettle the Bhutanese, but did not agree to accept a similar proposal to resettle the Tibetan refugees. To investigate this paradox my research has developed a conceptual framework grounded in international relations (IR) theory and the concept of socialization to ‘explain how state and non-state actors change their behaviour and embrace new ideas’ to conform to norms and roles. I have employed the research methodology of process tracing to ‘attempt(s) to trace the links between possible causes and observed outcomes’ in the individual case studies by examining ‘histories, archival documents, interview transcripts and other sources’ to better understand ‘the sequence and values of the intervening variables in that case’. This research contributes to understanding how other states decide whether to follow or reject international human rights norms, and how their decision-making behaviour is shaped by other state and non-state actors.


GRETA WERNER, Sociology and Social Policy
Social Housing in Three Areas of Practice

This research compares the structure of 'fields' involved in the provision of social housing across three areas of practice. Fligstein and McAdam's theory of fields is used to analyze government agencies, firms and non-government organisations involved in housing provision, the relationships between them and how they are impacted by external factors such as the global economy. The research aims to compare housing in Sydney, Australia, where around 5% of households live in social housing, with Vienna, Austria, where around 60% of households live in social housing. These areas of practice are also compared with Singapore, where more than 80% of people live in government provided housing. Content analysis of publicly available documents and semi-structured interviews with government officials, representatives of firms and advocacy groups, are proposed to be used to explore questions such as: What practices, within which fields, enable the provision of social housing? Are there differences in how social housing is conceptualised in the three areas of practice and related fields? Are there similar fields in the three cities under investigation, and if so, how do they differ? How do their relationships with other fields differ?


LEAH WILLIAMS VEAZEY, Sociology and Social Policy
Migrant maternal sociality in online diasporic mothering communities

Migration and motherhood are major life experiences that shift, rupture and re-form women’s sense of belonging. In the face of these dual upheavals, migrant mothers use the affordances of social media platforms to form communities of mothers. Drawing on qualitative data from in-depth interviews with administrators and members of online communities for migrant mothers in Australia, this paper explores how migrant mothers enter into social interactions with each other, using these interactions to explore multiple and dynamic relationships of belonging: to their country and family of origin; to their new country and family; to friendships, communities and networks; to ethnic/cultural/linguistic ties; and to new maternal identities.