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Friday, December 6



Chair: Kiri West 

Edgar A Burns, Annette D Pyatt and Elizabeth Mackie: Banal Terrorism: Melbourne’s Concrete Bollards—Activism, Aesthetics and Cigarettes

Racism, white supremacy, and fascism are terms increasingly used in popular discourse today. This liberal usage has come at the cost of political effectiveness and clarity around defining these terms. Without clear definitions, these three terms can be conflated and misused, creating unhelpful binaries such as racist and nonracist. White supremacy for example, has been embodied exclusively as a mass shooting, or a white-hooded individual in middle America. This association understood in everyday language takes away the everyday production and reproduction of white domination, essentially describing everything in between “racist” and “nonracist” as acceptable day-to-day behaviour. These terms need to be interrogated and recontextualised in order to make clear and effective definitions that open up nuanced conversations about racism, white supremacy and the resurgence of fascist ideology, rhetoric and leadership in the 21st century. This paper will focus on unpacking these concepts and searching for more appropriate definitions. This work will be used as a beginning point for my doctoral research, which analyses whiteness to understand the everyday practices of racism and their connections with white racist extremism.

Byron Williams: Redefining the language of hate: Racism, white supremacy, and fascism

Racism, white supremacy, and fascism are terms increasingly used in popular discourse today. This liberal usage has come at the cost of political effectiveness and clarity around defining these terms. Without clear definitions, these three terms can be conflated and misused, creating unhelpful binaries such as racist and nonracist. White supremacy for example, has been embodied exclusively as a mass shooting, or a white-hooded individual in middle America. This association understood in everyday language takes away the everyday production and reproduction of white domination, essentially describing everything in between “racist” and “nonracist” as acceptable day-to-day behaviour. These terms need to be interrogated and recontextualised in order to make clear and effective definitions that open up nuanced conversations about racism, white supremacy and the resurgence of fascist ideology, rhetoric and leadership in the 21st century. This paper will focus on unpacking these concepts and searching for more appropriate definitions. This work will be used as a beginning point for my doctoral research, which analyses whiteness to understand the everyday practices of racism and their connections with white racist extremism.

Hannah Rossiter: The Eichmann Trial and Banality of Evil

Hannah Arendt’s book on the Eichmann Trial, has defined how we understand the ordinariness of those who perpetuated the holocaust. Yet, Arendt’s thesis does not recognize that Eichmann was a true believer in Nazi Ideology and plans for the Jews. Rather Eichmann showcases Robert Caro’s thesis on the way of power, as it shows how corrupted power that once Eichmann got enough power. Especially when he used power to punish and eliminate the Jews of Europe. Thus, this presentation will challenge the ordinariness of Eichmann. Also discuss how Arendt missed crucial aspects of Eichmann’s life. Along with her own issues towards non-German Jews impacted how she engaged with the court case.

Each presentation will be allocated 20 minutes. Additional time for questions and discussion will be available in each stream.


Edgar A Burns

Chair of Integrated Catchment Management, University of Waikato
Sociology of professions and expertise; book just published.New role about sociology of water and land.

Hannah Rossiter

Hannah is a PhD candidate in Gender Studies exploring the Transgender communities in Aotearoa/New Zealand.


Chair: Robert Webb 

Adele Norris & Britany Gatewood: Silencing Prisoner Protests: Criminology, Black Women and State-sanctioned Violence

Protests and resistance from those locked away in jails, prisons and detention centers occur but receive limited, if any, mainstream attention. In the United States and Canada, 61 instances of prisoner unrest occurred in 2018 alone. In August of the same year, incarcerated men and women in the United States planned nineteen days of peaceful protest to improve prison conditions. Complex links of institutionalized power, white supremacy and Black resistance is receiving renewed attention; however, state-condoned violence against women in correctional institutions (e.g., physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and medical neglect by prison staff) is understudied. This qualitative case study examines 10 top-tier Criminology journals from 2008-2018 for the presence of prisoner unrest/protest. Findings reveal a paucity of attention devoted to prisoner unrest or state-sanctioned violence. This paper argues that the invisibility of prisoner unrest conceals the breadth and depth of state-inflicted violence against prisoners, especially marginalized peoples. This paper concludes with a discussion of the historical legacy and contemporary invisibility of Black women’s resistance against state-inflicted violence. This paper argues that in order to make sense of and tackle state-condoned violence we must turn to incarcerated individuals, activists, and Black and Indigenous thinkers and grassroots actors.

Kalym Lipsey: A Hypothetical Spectrum of Voices in the New Zealand Criminal Justice System: Are we Really that Different?

A hypothetical spectrum can be used to understand the complex array of tones calling for a change in the New Zealand Criminal Justice System. At one end, the ‘punitive’, sit those organisations calling for harsher sentences and increased punitiveness. At the other, the ‘abolitionist’, where groups are seeking to reduce the scope of prisons. Somewhere in the middle, the reformist groups. Questions emerge as to what degree personal perceptions and attitudes influence and motivate those positioned at various points on this spectrum. This paper explores the primary wants, needs, expectations and values of New Zealanders positioned at the ‘punitive’, ‘reformist’ and ‘abolitionist’ points on this spectrum. This exploration uses Valuegraphics - the world’s largest dataset of what matters to people; consisting of almost 500,000 completed surveys in 152 languages. The key questions that this paper addresses are; What are the shared values and characteristics of these groups? Are the contrasts between these groups striking or are commonalties surprising? Perhaps most importantly, do shared values provide a window of opportunity for a conversation about common goals regardless of vastly contrasting views of how the New Zealand Criminal Justice system should operate?

Usman Mikail Usman and Gold Kafilah Lola: The Impediments to Anti-Trafficking Policy Implementation in Nigeria

Trafficking in humans is a global phenomenon. It is the second fastest growing illegal trading activity that generates billions of dollars yearly. A significant number of females from Nigeria are trafficked day in day out. This makes the most populous African nation a severe source of victims to transnational criminal trafficking networks. The government tries to combat human trafficking by establishing a specialised anti-human trafficking agency. The agency is accountable for the implementation of the anti-trafficking policy. However, putting policy into practice presents thoughtful impediments that create implementation gaps. To date, there is virtually no study that looks into the activities of the Nigerian anti-trafficking agency. The investigation is a qualitative enquiry that uses an in-depth systematic review on human trafficking, which paid attention to putting anti-trafficking policy into action. This is amongst few studies that attempt to comprehend the state of human trafficking service delivery to the victims in Nigeria. It finds limited resources, insufficient training, inadequate shelter, absence of awareness and corruption as the main impediments hampering efficient policy implementation.

Each presentation will be allocated 20 minutes. Additional time for questions and discussion will be available in each stream.


Chair: Moeata Keil

Thibaut B. Bouttier--Esprit: Ending an epidemic: The possibility of bio-social HIV prevention

The number of HIV-positive individuals is continuously increasing. With many academics staring to look at the social aspects of the disease, HIV prevention is taking a new turn, with each nation having its particular social method to prevent the virus from spreading between its citizens. Looking at the United States, the primary source of the epidemic in the Western world, this essay will explain its current relationship with social and psychological prevention of the virus. By explaining this biosocial epidemic and the ways it influences the construction of citizen identities and communities, this presentation will critique the current governance of bodies that influence HIV prevention and consider what New Zealand can learn from such investigations.

Brooke Hollingshead: The new social contexts of HIV: Social and sexual networking apps as places of risk and opportunity for men who have sex with men in the Philippines

The HIV epidemic in the Philippines has been expanding rapidly, with most new diagnosed cases occurring among ‘men who have sex with men’ (MSM). New social contexts of HIV are evident with the evolving phenomenon of more MSM seeking partners online in social and sexual networking apps. The apps create new ways of being, new ways to negotiate ‘risk’, and new opportunities for healthcare workers to intervene.
This research examines some of these, reporting findings from focus group discussion and interviews conducted with healthcare workers, academics and community members in Metro Manila. It argues that apps are viewed as both sites of risk, and an opportunity for intervention with the capacity to reach new ‘discreet’ sexual subjectivities. However, this presentation will argue that these interventions often function as a form of surveillance and a window on bodies of risk, perpetuating biomedical understandings of risk through targeting individuals qua individuals and assuming they are rational, empowered subjects. The interventions have also created new complexities for healthcare workers by reconfiguring boundaries and operating in a sexualised space.

Carol Harrington: “Toxic masculinity”: The Life of a Concept

Based in a literature search for “toxic masculinity” and thematic analysis of the findings, I explore a leap in references to the term beginning around 2014. Coined in late 20th century men’s movements, the term spread to therapeutic and social policy settings in the early 21st century. Literature referencing toxic masculinity offered a psycho-social analysis of violent, criminal and irresponsible men as lacking father-love. Feminists rarely mentioned toxic masculinity until around 2013. The increased currency of the phrase coincided with the popularization of feminism since 2014. Feminist commentary associated toxic masculinity with an array of political problems, from sexual violence to environmental destruction. Yet feminist scholarship often leaves the concept under-defined and risks blaming gender inequality on men’s personality flaws. The term’s popularity signifies a mainstreaming of conversations about masculinity as a political problem. However, disparagement of toxic masculinity may construct a contrasting “non-toxic” masculinity without challenging masculine hegemony.

Each presentation will be allocated 20 minutes. Additional time for questions and discussion will be available in each stream.

avatar for Carol Harrington

Carol Harrington

Senior Lecturer, Victoria University of Wellington
My research concerns politics and policy on violence against women, sexual violence and sex work. I teach courses on sociology of violence, sexuality and comparative welfare regimes.


Chair: Richey Wyver 

Sereana Naepi: Why isn't my professor Pacifika?

This paper examines the ethnicity of academic scholars employed by New Zealand’s eight crown-owned universities, with a particular focus on Pasifika academics. This paper discusses how despite national and university policies to see education serve Pasifika peoples better there has been no change in the numbers of Pasifika faculty employed by crown-owned universities between 2012-2017 and notes that Pasifika who are in the academy are continually employed in the lower less secure levels of the academy. Examining international discourses of exclusion from universities this paper builds on current Pasifika understandings and experiences of universities and highlights the urgent need for universities reconsider their current recruitment, retention and promotion practices and overarching structures and habits that operate to exclude Pasifika peoples.

Marilyn Chetty: Navigating higher education in New Zealand: What can we learn from our Pasifika students?

Pasifika under-representation in tertiary education in New Zealand historically sees a much higher proportion of Pasifika students come from families where very few other family members’ have tertiary educational experience. This means that there is less ‘cultural capital’ in terms of accumulated experience and knowledge from which the students can draw to support them in their transitions to and through university. Research shows that those with parents who have a bachelors qualification are more likely to go on to study at Level 4 and above. While Pasifika are just as likely to go on to study at Level 4 and above as other young people with similar school achievement, those studying for bachelors degrees are less likely to complete their qualifications. Despite increasing enrolments for Pasifika young people completion rates lag behind. This paper draws on a group project on the experience of navigating university of 40 third-year students from the Arts and Sciences at the University of Auckland. Qualitative interviews with nine third-year Pasifika students demonstrated the diverse cultural capital that they draw on, and particularly noteworthy are the first-in-family students who identified family as a key support in getting to third-year.

John Patolo: What does Statistics New Zealand tell us about Pacific languages in diaspora Aotearoa-New Zealand?

The population in Aotearoa-New Zealand, especially in urban areas, is highly diverse. This results in a very diverse linguistic environment. However, as has been the trend globally, the vitality of languages of Pacific peoples living in Aotearoa is in decline.
The Census of Population and Dwellings data and the diaspora communities themselves have reported that the number of speakers of languages of the Pacific is declining. Communities in turn have brought the story to life, sharing their concerns about what the loss of heritage language means, and their desire to arrest this.
In this presentation, I report on language data collected by Statistics New Zealand among speakers of Samoan and Tongan’s living in Aotearoa as well as speakers of te reo Māori (Māori language). Language is an important component of identity and cohesion. Languages reflect peoples’ attitudes, beliefs and opinions not only of themselves, but of others. Furthermore, given the inextricable relationship between language and evolving social change, language practices will play an important role in emerging national issues, and will become more important as diversity increases.

Genevieve Grava: Pinoys in Aotearoa: Barriers to integration

In recent decades, Filipinos have become an important source of migrants and there are currently over ten million Filipinos globally. In New Zealand, the need to fill labour market demands at the beginning of the twenty-first century caused a rapid influx of Filipinos arriving on skilled migrant visas. By 2013, the Filipino community has become the fastest growing migrant group in the country (Friesen, 2017). Categorised as a ‘comparable labour market’ by Immigration New Zealand in 2007, a large proportion of Filipino immigrants in NZ are considered ‘economic migrants’, or those who contribute to the economy by satisfying labour shortages (Spoonley, 2015). However, disjunctions between immigration policies and the lived experiences of migrants are evident. With New Zealand becoming one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, and the Filipinos being the fastest growing immigrant community in the country, the problem of resource provision that accommodates immigrant integration is problematised. This paper will investigate the barriers to integration
experienced by Filipino immigrants in New Zealand and the strategies needed to promote their successful integration, thereby enhancing their sense of belonging, as well as their productivity as contributing members to society.

Each presentation will be allocated 20 minutes. Additional time for questions and discussion will be available in each stream.


Genevieve Grava

Student, University of Auckland

Marilyn Chetty

PhD Candidate, University of Auckland

Sereana Naepi

University of Auckland


Chair: Liz Beddoe

Donna Baines: White Fragility, Populism and Late Neoliberalism

Xenophobia, anti-immigrant backlash and racism are an increasingly present aspect of society. Underlying this backlash is a set of practices known as white fragility (DiAngelo 2011). White fragility is the inability for those from dominant groups to accept even minor critique from subordinated groups, to ally themselves with social justice or to embrace the leadership of those who are marginalised in making meaningful social change. Though social work is well-positioned to resist xenophobic discourses, more than thirty years of neoliberalism means that many social service agencies have been restructured to reflect private market ideology, and there are few spaces left in which to debate social justice issues openly within the workplace or to collectively develop strategies to address emerging needs and rising social tensions. This paper will theorize white fragility and place it within the context of late neoliberalism. It will draw on two vignettes to explore how white fragility operates within everyday social work practice and how it is resisted by those seeking social justice and equity.

Bindi Bennett: Acknowledgements in Aboriginal social work research: how to counteract neo-colonial academic complacency

Much current research continues to present Aboriginal voices, knowledges and cultures in an historical white colonial context associated with power, privilege and entitlement. This approach, conscious or unconscious, perpetuates racism, dispossession and epistemicide. Colonial conventions in research, such as who is designated as a lead author and giving individuals the choice as to who, when, where and if they acknowledge their sources creates subtle yet offensive ways to abuse, de-voice and re-colonise Aboriginal peoples. Tokenistic collaboration, consultation and allyship practices put Aboriginal intellectual sovereignty at risk. It is long overdue for Aboriginal people to become active and fully recognised agents in research and for Aboriginal cultural ideas, values and principles to be placed as the forefront; only then can we decolonise social work and create culturally responsive research. Social workers and academics must form allegiance with Aboriginal people and recognise their need to maintain independence and to determine their own approaches and practices in research.

Each presentation will be allocated 20 minutes. Additional time for questions and discussion will be available in each stream.

avatar for Liz Beddoe

Liz Beddoe

Professor, University of Auckland


Chair: Neil Ballantyne

Stephen Parker: Mapping the counter-intuitive: the social work/social justice divide

A core aim of social work is to improve the lives of families in need of help and support during difficult times. When outcomes do not reflect this aim, legitimate questions about whether interventions are socially just must be asked. However, social work interventions operate within a framework of law and policy and this arguably constrains the ability of social workers to carry out therapeutic work with families rather than focus on a swift outcome for a child. This paper presents findings from UK research which considers the impact of important but diverse statutory and policy changes to child protection case management. Key, relevant policy developments are discussed which include a statutory move towards mandatory reporting, a judicial change to more rigorous case management protocol in the courts, a social work review of child protection processes completed for the government and revised statutory guidance.
All these changes have been implemented since 2004 across three UK Governments and a backdrop of austerity. However, they did not lead to the expected fall in the number of cases where children were removed from their families. The paper ‘tells the story’ of how these changes draw social work away from socially just outcomes.

Michelle Newcomb: By the people for the people: Challenging social work practice using Dorothy E. Smith’s sociology

Social work processes and organisations can replicate institutional power and privilege, despite the professions aim of social justice. The work of Canadian sociologist Dorothy E. Smith provides a lens for examining unjust institutional practices but has received limited attention within social work. A Marxist, feminist Smith developed a form of sociology which examined people’s day to day activities and how they relate to wider regimes of institutional power. Smith (2005) is renowned for her development of feminist, standpoint theory but also institutional ethnography; a method of inquiry that examines how dominant ideologies are exercised within institutional practices. This presentation with explore how current neoliberal ideology and manageralist processes which dominate social work organisations can be challenged and resisted using Smith’s sociology. By engaging with Smith’s work, it is hoped social workers, can engage in transformative social change which is in Smith’s (2005, p.10) words: “by the people for the people.”

Ashleigh Price & Stephanie Kelly: Between the Hammer and the Anvil: Non-government Social Work

This thesis is concerned with the impact of government policy on social work in non-government organisations in Aotearoa New Zealand. It aims to increase understanding of how NGO social workers remain dedicated to the pursuit of social justice and social change in their day to day practice. This is key to understanding the future of ethical and principled social work practice in the NGO sector in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The findings of this research are informed by interviews with five experienced social work practitioners currently practicing in NGOs in Aotearoa New Zealand. Thematic analysis of the research data found that an overarching theme to emerge characterised contemporary NGO social work as a practice manifested by a sense of powerlessness. Five sub-themes emerged from the findings; freedom and powerlessness; the application of the principle of social justice at a macro level; professional dissonance; issues of funding and resourcing as a result of neoliberal economic policy; and policy, realities and ‘othering’. Overall this study seeks to build understanding of the impacts of government policy on social work practice in the NGO sector and how this can be enhanced for better outcomes for practitioners and service users.

Neil Ballantyne: Theorising the algorithmic state

Modern states have been early adopters of information technologies as tools to enable the governance of their populations. Citizen users of the services provided by the state – health, education, housing, corrections, child protection and income maintenance – routinely submit personal data in order to gain access to services. In neoliberal states with highly stratified populations, it is the poor and the disadvantaged who are the primary users of social services and the objects of state sponsored data collection. In the age of big data, data linkage and machine learning, neoliberal state actors are increasingly applying calculative practices on linked databases to measure, monitor and predict the risks presented by population groups. This paper will review the literature to trace the ways in which social theory is responding to the rise of the phenomena of algorithmic regulation and the challenges these practices present for human rights, social justice and social equity.

Each presentation will be allocated 20 minutes. Additional time for questions and discussion will be available in each stream.


Michelle Newcomb

Lecturer, Griffith University
avatar for Neil Ballantyne

Neil Ballantyne

Senior Lecturer, The Open Polytechnic
avatar for Stephen Parker

Stephen Parker

Senior Lecturer, University of the West of England
I am a Senior Lecturer at the University of the West of England researching the role of risk prediction and decision making in public law interference in private life with a focus primarily on families, child protection and safeguarding. I teach law cross discipline to forensics undergraduates... Read More →


Book Launch: Palimpest' by Lisa Wool Rim Sjöblom
Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom will be here in person to launch the English language version of her graphic novel Palimpsest: Documents From a Korean Adoptionhttps://www.drawnandquarterly.com/palimpsest-documents-korean-adoption

Books will be available to buy for $30 (cash only please)

Friday December 6, 2019 11:00am - 11:30am
201E-450 10 Symonds Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand



Chair: Suzanne Woodward 

Nicola Harrison: Weaving Family and Intimacy Practices with Whanaungatanga to Understand Relational Impacts of Familial Childhood Sexual Abuse

Familial Childhood Sexual Abuse (FCSA) affects up to 1/3 girls and 1/7 boys. Māori are twice more likely to be victims of FCSA than non-Māori. FCSA causes relational disconnection between mōrehurehu (survivors) and their whānau, often compounding ongoing colonial disconnection for Māori from our ways of being. I explore these disconnections by bringing Māori work on whanaungatanga into conversation with European analysis of family. Pākehā scholarship talks of family and intimacy practices while Māori scholarship talks of whakapapa and whanaungatanga. There is precious little research into how whānau relationships work via whanaungatanga, and none at all on how whanaungatanga operates in circumstances of FCSA.
Interweaving mātauranga Māori and European analysis of personal life, I hope to enhance profundity in both worldviews. Whanaungatanga may be explored through language from Morgan’s family practices and Finch’s displaying family perspectives. Jaimeson’s intimacy practices could be enriched by considering Māori engagement practices of manākitanga and wairuatanga. Memory work, well narrated from UK-US perspectives, may also be powerfully invigorated through exploration in te ao Māori. Legitimating whanaungatanga principles can transform how we think about whānau. This will help us understand how mōrehurehu (survivors) of FCSA experience relationships with their whānau and provide increased access to rangatiratanga.

Rhona Winnington, Jessica Young & Roderick MacLeod: Assisted dying: family experiences of burden, expectation and stigma following a legally assisted death and the potential impact this may have on decision-making in New Zealand

The landscape of the contemporary Western death is changing. Assisted dying is at the fore of contemporary issues regarding death and dying in New Zealand, with a Government bill having now passed its second reading. Although the right-to-die is legal in some countries, this discourse has never been more prominent than the current media focus. Despite considerable literature being available denoting the divide between the right-to-choice and ‘sanctity of life’ debates for those suffering, there is little evidence of the effects this pathway has on surviving family members. Specifically, it appears that the notion of being burdensome is transcending future generations through the social and cultural expectation of having to also consider assisted dying. Using a case study approach, family experiences are explored to understand the language used and the stories relayed through individual interview and online discussion forums in a global context. Early analysis indicates that despite the legality of this death pathway in some countries, it remains stigmatised, becoming an unacknowledged event. Furthermore, the data suggests that in some instances the reduction of burdensome care becomes expected and thus, promotes the use of assisted dying for the next generation.

Alice Beban: The rural care crisis: Gender, land inheritance and agrarian change in Cambodia

As financialised capitalism, climate change, and rapid urbanisation reshape rural areas across the world, sociologists are turning attention to generational concerns in farming: How will rural people get by when land inequality is increasing and rural futures are so uncertain? How are rural gender relations changing, particularly in areas where matrilineal inheritance norms have previously secured some status for women? I shed light on these questions through my ongoing research with indigenous and Khmer communities in the Cambodian highlands. In a context where state support is absent, land inheritance remains vital for young Cambodians to gain stability and wealth, and for older people to secure care by providing land to children who look after them. But as land becomes a scarce commodity, the social norms that guide inheritance decisions are thrown into question; some families are shifting from matrilineal inheritance to bilateral inheritance, and some families are moving away from farming altogether. I consider how this case highlights broader spatial and temporal phenomena linked to financialised capitalism which promotes the commodification of agriculture and land while simultaneously constraining social protection, leading to a crisis of care for young and old.

Kalym Lipsey and David Allison: Sociologically Marketing, Marketing Sociologically: Profiling Values of the World, Ethically

A chance encounter between former colleagues in 2016 resulted in conversations about the frivolous nature of demographic stereotyping. These conversations have lead to what is now known as ‘Valuegraphics’; the largest database of global values ever created. Run in 152 languages in over 170 countries; this database contains almost 500,000 completed survey responses with questions on 40+ values and 380 metrics; allowing the identification of profiles for any audience imaginable. It is argued that with great power comes great responsibility and several crucial questions emerge as to the ethics of collecting and maintaining a global database. Which ethics come into play when participants are freely contributing intimate details of their lives into a database that will be used to profile them and their peers? Is access to one’s own data a fundamental human right? What kind of societal change could emerge from informing and influencing the decisions of entire audiences? This paper firstly introduces the Valuegraphics database with examples of profiles. Thereafter, questions the role and responsibility of such a database; specifically, in a post-Cambridge Analytica world within which the value of data has exceeded that of oil, and where ‘big data’ becomes ‘weapons-grade’ communication.

Each presentation will be allocated 20 minutes. Additional time for questions and discussion will be available in each stream.

avatar for Kalym Lipsey

Kalym Lipsey

Massey University
avatar for Nicola Harrison

Nicola Harrison

Doctoral Candidate, The University of Auckland
avatar for Suzanne Woodward

Suzanne Woodward

PTF, University of Auckland


Chair: Charlotte Moore 

Hamish Robertson: Vulnerability Theory & The Social Sciences: A Patient Perspective

The social sciences have a long history of investing in the construction and critique of categories of people including gender, race, class/SES and ability. Such categories are prone to shift over time with new categories emerging (e.g. Hacking, 2006) and conventional ones morphing under dynamic social conditions (e.g. sexuality). The result is a complex interplay between society and category attribution, including systems for the maintenance of such category positions. In the social sciences, the concepts of risk and vulnerability can be brought to bear on the analysis of categorisation for different ‘kinds’ of person. Our research in the field of patient safety illustrates that some categories of person remain consistently vulnerable over time and space, while others may experience more dynamic vulnerability status. In particular, adverse medical events and associated systemic harms, are differentially experienced by different categories of person. More significant from a social science perspective is that some vulnerable groups are less likely to be the focus of patient safety research, and the harms they experience are experienced at higher rates and endure across time.

Bruce Cohen: Mental Health is Everybody's Business:The Social Control of the Workplace

In the wake of staffing and funding cuts in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Auckland in 2018, a ‘Social & Wellness Committee’ was established “to help foster a positive workplace culture and environment that promotes staff wellness (physical and mental), and is welcoming, inclusive and safe for all staff”. This presentation examines whether the rise of such initiatives in the workplace is purely coincidental or rather part of a systematic attempt to more closely manage and surveil over-worked and ‘disengaged’ employees in neoliberal society. Through socio-historical analysis of previous psy-professional understandings of the workplace, it will be highlighted how there has been a fundamental shift in conceptions of employees from contented to ‘at risk’ subjects, initiated through the American Psychiatric Association’s publication of their third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) in 1980. With reference to the contemporary critical research on workplace mental health, this presentation will forward that being un(der)productive is now constructed as a sign of mental illness, and the introduction of mental health and wellness initiatives has become a way to more effectively monitor and police emotionally-suspect individuals.

Martin Harbusch: Controlling Psychiatry?: (Non)Psychiatric disciplines as a hidden force for the (re)production of psychiatric knowledge

The acceptance of psychiatric categories for describing irritated social situations has grown in professional and private contexts. Not only has the number of psychiatric categories increased since 1980, the year of the publication of DSM III; ideas of mental health and illness have also paradigmatically changed to medical stories of the “broken brain”. Critics have widely discussed the power of psychiatry, its institutions and the consequences psychiatric actions and narratives have for their clients. Today’s research emphasizes the reproduction and solidification of psychiatry beyond psychiatry itself.
One of these contexts is the setting of social work. I am interested in the way social institutions as „troubled persons industries“ (Gusfield 1989) and social workers as academically educated experts embedded in “real world” situations use psychiatric categories. This study will show and discuss uses and forms of illness categories from interviews with professionals from different contexts of social work. These sequences will show how social workers not only control psychiatric labels for the description of the every-day-life-situations. They also demonstrate how social workers are able to control the (self-)narratives of their clients, the role of other institutions and “psy-professions” (Cohen 2016) and the entire impact of the psychiatric labels for everyday life.

Natalie Cowley: Understanding Sadness Within the Depression Phenomenon

Depression is predominantly understood as a serious mental illness and rising global health problem of epidemic proportions to be treated with antidepressant medication and psychotherapy. Dominant interpretations of profound and enduring sadness are contested by a growing number of mental health researchers, mainly for the lack of evidence of depression’s biological basis and whether current treatment models work to alleviate it. I draw on sociological literature to problematise the concept of depression and highlight the disquiet surrounding dominant interpretations so that mental distress characterised by despondency might be understood and responded to in different ways. Alternative understandings point convincingly to structural determinants of profound and enduring sadness, such as a sense of alienation caused by individualism. Other sociological critiques configure mental illness as a matrix of social construction and political power, while there are several calls for the voices of the depressed to bear witness to the oppressive conditions of neoliberalism.

Each presentation will be allocated 20 minutes. Additional time for questions and discussion will be available in each stream.


Hamish Robertson

Senior Lecturer, University of Technology Sydney
health geography, ageing, disability, patient safety


Session Chair: Bruce Curtis

Chamsy el-Ojeili: Liberalism in Splinters

This paper focuses on liberalism following the Global Financial Crisis. Examining the work of prominent liberal thinkers and the publications of global institutions, I suggest that we see both a splintering effect and a pronounced wearing down of utopian significations within Western liberalism. In the realm of liberal intellectual production today, three strands are most significant, and these provide a contrast to the period of “normative neo-liberalism” (Davies, 2016): first, a post-hegemonic, contingent (Davies, 2016) neo-liberalism of austerity, dedicated to the preservation of power; second, a reinvigorated neo-Keynesian position, which merges certain neo-liberal emphases with an attempt to raise the profile of the political; and, third, a “liberalism of fear” (Schiller, 2016), which issues a set of dystopian warnings about looming civilizational threats – in particular, by drawing analogies between the 1930s and today. In this paper, I will explore these three fragments, and also consider the residualization of utopian reference, expressed in a predominant language of “risks”, “vulnerabilities”, “uncertainties”, “resilience”, “volatility”, “stabilization”, “dangers”.

Avery Smith: The role of schools in shaping the cultural identity of Pākehā teachers and influencing their views about the cultures of their students

What role do schools play in shaping Pākehā teachers’ views of culture and cultural identity of both themselves and their students? Given that majority of Aotearoa New Zealand’s teaching force is Pākehā (Education Counts, 2019), these teachers play a significant role in the school system. Currently, little research examines how Pākehā teachers conceptualise culture and cultural identity, and if these views are influenced by the schools in which they work. This study argues that Pākehā teachers within Aotearoa New Zealand’s education system are an important creator and mediator of culture within their classrooms. Drawing on original ethnographic fieldwork in-progress at two primary schools, this presentation will explore the tacit and active processes that are present in schools that may shape the ways Pākehā teachers conceive of culture and cultural identity. Additionally, this research examines how teachers may enact their understandings of culture in the classroom. The fieldwork for this research is nearing completion and the data will be analysed in the months prior to the conference using the theoretical frameworks of Settler Colonial Studies, Critical Race Theory, and Critical Whiteness Studies. The presentation will consist of briefly outlining the methodology of the research and then move to identifying emerging themes supported by examples.

Colin McLeay: Affordable housing, democratic erosion, and the inevitability of capitalism

Recent New Zealand governments have sought to increase the provision of affordable housing. Responding to a severe home affordability and ownership crisis, National-led Governments in office between 2008 and 2017 implemented initiatives designed to encourage ownership among first-home buyers. State-directed efforts around affordable housing focused on increasing the supply of land for housing and encouraging builders to include affordable housing in their developments. Evidence from New Zealand Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) shows the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013 introduced by a National-led Government reinforced the inevitably of the mechanisms of neoliberal capitalism. Members of Parliament tacitly accepted the worth of market mechanisms and the centrality of capitalism to the provision of affordable housing. This paper identifies ways in which recent state intervention in the affordable housing market was expressive of neoliberal capture of the political process. Parliamentary debates associated with the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013 failed to provide a challenge to the place of the market in the organisation and regulation of the state and society.

Oluwakemi Igiebor: Why gender equity policies fail to advance women to academic leadership positions in Nigeria

Concerted efforts to transform gender cultures within Nigerian universities have yielded the adoption of gender policies, aimed at reinforcing gender equity principles and practice within universities. However, existing literature reveals that gender imbalance in academic leadership positions is still prevalent in Nigerian Universities. Institutional discourses in the Nigeria context have focused mainly on cultural and structural barriers that hold women back from advancing to leadership positions. Empirical research on why gender equity policies have failed to gain real traction in advancing women to academic leadership positions in
Nigeria are almost non-existent. Using documentary data gathered from two purposively selected universities in Nigeria, this paper unveils the various ways in which the content and enactment of institutional gender
policies are gendered and potentially reinforce systems of inequality. Informed by the Feminist Institutionalism and McPhail’s Feminist Policy Analysis framework, I analysed policy contents and identify areas of silence, women's exclusion and how male dominance is perpetuated in policy content. The study concludes that 'policy silences’ on the strategic tool for achieving policy goal/intent; exclusion of women-specific initiative(s) in policy action plan and, ‘embeddedness’ of male dominance in the policy documents are dominant explanations as to why existing equity policies have failed to advance women to academic leadership over time.

Each presentation will be allocated 20 minutes. Additional time for questions and discussion will be available in each stream.

avatar for Avery Smith

Avery Smith

PhD Candidate, Victoria University of Wellington
My current research focuses on how schools may impact Pākeha teachers’ conceptions of culture. My research interests include: race, culture and ethnicity in education, decolonisation, Settler Colonial Studies, Critical Race Theory, and Critical Whiteness Studies.

Colin McLeay

University of Waikato


BREAKOUT SESSION EIGHT: Science & Technology
Chair: Stella Pennell

Nicole Pepperell: How Scholars Think: About Captain Cook, for Example

As Howe noted in 1996, both scholarly and popular interest in Captain Cook is not uniform and unchanging, but shifts focus over time, in ways that provide a useful lens for understanding key intellectual and political transformations. The Tuia - Encounters 250 Commemoration, and the protests and criticisms it has provoked, provide a contemporary opportunity to use scholarly and popular commentary on the events surrounding Cook's voyages as a mirror to reflect, not on Cook himself, but rather on competing contemporary understandings of the relationships between indigenous knowledge and global science. This paper explores the ways in which, since the 1990s debates between Sahlins, Obeyesekere and their critics and advocates, the figure of Cook has provided a freighted symbol for competing theoretical understandings of the relationship between indigeneity, science, and the world system.

Richard Moreham: The utility envelope: Making practice theory practical

Practice theory constitutes the social world through a complex web of practices – emerging from the work of theorists such as Giddens and Bourdieu – but practices are a slippery, elusive concept. They are dynamic and performative – emerging from actions that are intelligible to the actor in the moment – yet they are not represented by any single act. They form an ‘entity’ of sorts which both shapes and is shaped by individual performances in a recursive dance. This is theoretically fascinating, but how can these abstract concepts apply in the real world? Through my PhD research into cycling in Christchurch, I consider how this elusive performative entity may be applied to increasing cycling for transport. I found that everyday transport practices are governed by ‘what works’ for people – captured by the concept of a ‘utility envelope’. I propose that for any change to occur in a practice it must enter the real-time, situated logic of the utility envelope, meaning that the change must work for people who are in the thick of day-to-day life. Good practice intervention would then ‘teleoaffectively’ address the detail of practical utility, at the same time as engaging values and emotions. Practice change can then occur – when it makes sense to the traveller as they head out the door.

Manuel Vallee: Perpetuating Ignorance about the Link between Disease and Toxicants: WebMD’s Coverage of Leukaemia

During the last five decades environmental health researchers have documented environmental pollution's profound impact on human bodies, including how human bodies bioaccumulate industrial chemicals and how those toxicants contribute to cancers and other chronic ailments. However, the relationship between toxicants and disease is often difficult to discern in mainstream sources of medical information. In their seminal research, Brown and colleagues identified the way print media systematically obscures the environmental causation frame in favor of a genetic and lifestyle frame. Moreover, their research stimulated much research on disease framings in print media. However, less has been said about medical publishing websites, which have become very influential. To address this gap I analyze WebMD's coverage of leukemia, whose development is linked to over twenty toxicants. Similar to the print media research, I found WebMD's coverage systematically obscures the environmental causation frame by failing to identify most toxicants associated with leukemia and by emphasizing a genetic and lifestyle causation frame. Building on previous research, I also identify rhetorical devices through which WebMD further downplays the environmental causation frame. Additionally, I discuss public health implications and sources of the problem.

Alexandar Maxwell: When Theory is a Joke: The Weinreich Witticism in modern Linguistics

Contemporary work in linguistics often adduces the Weinreich witticism, “a language is a dialect with an army and a navy,” first published in Yiddish in 1945. This paper discusses the reception of the witticism as a case study in the sociology of “scientific” knowledge. Linguists display a surprisingly casual approach to the witticism, often mis-citing or mis-attributing it. Quantitative analysis suggests that only some 4% of linguists who use the quotation cite it correctly. Qualitative study suggests that the witticism appeals to two distinct schools, both of which treat the “army” and “navy” as a metaphors for political power. The first school, “contemptuous” linguists, use the witticism to deny the legitimacy of studying the language-dialect dichotomy, preferring to see linguistics as an objective “science” unsullied by crass political interests. The second school of “engaged” linguists acknowledge the legitimacy and possibility of studying political factors, but use the witticism as a substitute for political analysis. The humour in the witticism appeals to both schools: it distracts from the necessity of an unpalatable political analysis, with which linguists apparently feel uncomfortable. Studying political analysis perhaps takes linguistics beyond the boundaries of their own disciplinary training.

Each presentation will be allocated 20 minutes. Additional time for questions and discussion will be available in each stream.

avatar for Stella Pennell

Stella Pennell

PhD student, Massey University
Phd student (sociology) Massey University. Research interest: Airbnb, platform capitalism, digital subjectivity, tourism


Chair: Edwin Sayes

Fanqi Meng: How can we pay back? The end of the only child policy

Starting in the early 1980s, China has implemented a population control project, named the ‘only-child’ policy, to control the overwhelming population and restrain its growth. After 30 years, it significantly changed the family relationship, care-giving system, and demographic structure. However, facing severe aging population and care deficit instead of population boom, the government finally ended the policy in 2016 by converting it to a ‘two-child’ policy, hoping to control the future care collapse. In China, under the traditional culture, it is children’s responsibility to take care of their aging parents as a payback. For the only-child generation, unfortunately, a couple now should take care of their 4 parents and 1 or 2 children at the same time, of course cannot satisfy the needs for care within households. Therefore, this essay intends to explain the ‘care deficit’ now happening in China, especially for families in cities, who are mainly taking the consequences of the policy. The essay will start from reviewing the historical background of the ‘only child’ policy, as well as its impacts on individuals and family relations. Then it will draw back to the present to explore the care deficit in today’s society due to the policy, especially in relation to aging parents and the role of this care deficit in bringing to an end of the ‘only-child’ policy in China. Finally it will look into the future to forecast the possible future of the ‘Y generation’ in 10-20 years.

Julie Chambers: Swings and roundabouts – the making of child safety policy in Aotearoa New Zealand

This research set out to describe what influences the New Zealand government’s adoption of child injury prevention policies. Unintentional injuries (accidents) are a global child health problem. Many child injury prevention measures are proven to be effective, yet government and community prevention activities wax and wane through time and across locations. Some measures, such as child car seats, are mandated and enforced while the provision of other equally effective strategies, such as the enforcement of swimming pool fencing regulation are inconsistently adopted or ignored. Further, gains in child safety might be lost if well established, proven methods to prevent child injury are ignored or reversed. Methodological approaches included grounded and critical theory while Foucault’s concepts of governmentality and discourse provided theoretical context.
Interview data were thematically analysed, and the results accompanied by an illustrative case study to identify the factors that contribute to the adoption of child safety policy. At the same time caution was expressed about the possible perverse effects of well accepted strategies. The presentation concludes with recommendations for injury prevention practitioners and suggestions for further research.

Julie Chambers: The rise and fall of swimming pool fences – The New Zealand government’s retrenchment of drowning prevention policy

During the 1970s and 1980s the incidence of young children drowning in home swimming and spa pools went from being a relatively rare event, to be alarmingly common. Increasing affluence meant more people could afford swimming pools in back gardens, where families assumed it was safe for children to play. In one year alone (1983) 17 children drowned in New Zealand home swimming pools. The solution was simple and effective. In 1987 the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act required people to fence home swimming and spa pools. The numbers of children drowning in pools rapidly dropped and the legislation was hailed as a success.
Despite this acknowledgment, in 2016 the government repealed and replaced New Zealand’s swimming and spa pool fencing legislation. It is argued this action has reduced safety for New Zealand children. This case study examines the actions and complex relationships between the various players that resulted in this changed safety régime. Foucault’s concepts of governmentality and power are drawn upon to provide theoretical context. It concludes with advice for practitioners and recommendations for research. Child drowning in public places, such as at beaches and in rivers and streams are well described and are very different events.

Ashley Rudkevitch: Community comes in many shapes and forms: A qualitiative investigation into bridging and linking social capital in community resilience

On November 14 2016 a destructive earthquake ripped through the north east region of New Zealand’s South Island. It is widely known that the earthquake caused extensive damage to the environment, disrupted transportation networks, and impacted the local economy. As a result, there has been a significant amount of research on the resilience processes and recovery efforts in the North Canterbury region. However, there has been little research into the relationships between community members before the earthquake and the role these relationships played in connecting the community with decision-makers following the event. By applying an interpretive approach, with 24 semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and document analysis, this research aims to explore the sociological concepts of bridging and linking social capital following a disaster event. More specifically, this research will interrogate what defines community before and after a disaster, and whether this effectively translates into what is theoretically and practically known as ‘community resilience’. Drawing on preliminary analysis of the data, this presentation will outline how residents in Kaikōura navigated their pre-existing and new-founded social networks to work with local government in identifying and managing the economic, social, and environmental rebuild.

Ron Layton: Scottishness in Modern Age South Australia

Like New Zealand, South Australia attracted a significant pro rata percentage of Scots over its history. However, initially a British province rather than a colony, it had an evolution that was quite different from the other Australian States, this being translated into the modern age. The little research into Scottish Australia has been almost totally focused on the four eastern States, failing to take into account the unique South Australian situation. Furthermore, it has largely been through an historiography lens, often cutting off decades ago and thus neglecting more recent phenomena. Whilst this history is important there is also a need for a sociological perspective on the more recent period. This study has taken place over two years and is a precursor to a Report to the Scottish Government as it attempts to better understand their country’s vast diaspora and their connections. It has been ethnographic in approach but also using an extensive literature relating to other countries and cultures.

Each presentation will be allocated 20 minutes. Additional time for questions and discussion will be available in each stream.


Edwin Sayes

Research Fellow, University of Auckland
avatar for Julie Chambers

Julie Chambers

research, Home
Julie Chambers graduated with a PhD in public policy and child injury prevention from the University of Waikato in 2019. Julie initially completed an undergraduate degree in Sociology and Education at the University of Auckland. While serving as an elected representative in Auckland's... Read More →
avatar for Ron Layton

Ron Layton

Prior to retirement I was a senior executive in across 3 government departments and finally in the Attorney Generals Departments, as Directors Strategic Programmes for the Justice portfolio. In retirement I have had academic status at Flinders University in the College of Business... Read More →


Chair: Donna Baines

Bindi Bennett: Cultural responsiveness: measuring and evaluating social work practice

​​​​The Closing the Gap rhetoric is too often understood from an epistemic lens of Western based practices, practitioners, and policy makers. This, in part, has resulted in generations of reports on comparative health and wellbeing outcomes where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have continually been framed within homogenised discourses of disadvantage and deficit (across all ‘indicators’) that too often demonises and restricts the diverse voices and rights Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities (Walter, 2018). Whilst it cannot be denied that the endemic gaps in health and wellbeing (and all other indicators of inequity and inequality) must be closed, we argue that a critical and self-reflexive lens is required for any practitioner working at the interface between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the institutions and government induced policies seeking to ‘close the gap’. Here, social workers can play a pivotal role, but despite a recent emphasis on ensuring social work graduates are informed by Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing, it may be argued that social work practice is failing to address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing concerns. In this paper we present the results of a comprehensive literature review and thematic analysis of Indigenous cultural competency, responsiveness, and ethical frameworks, and attempt to develop a social work model for a critical, self-reflexive, and culturally responsive practice. We identify the individual attitudes, skills and knowledges that may define a social work practitioner’s ability to provide culturally responsive care, whilst also promoting a critical lens on the interface between culturally responsive care and the Eurocentric institutional and policy forces that may impede a social workers ability to assist in ‘closing-the-gaps’.

Percy Lezard: Tending to the Fire, Stoking the Flames as Responsibility: A 2 Spirit Indigenous Ontology of Healing and Decolonial Social Work Practice 

Grounded in the Sylix Ontology of the Four Food Chiefs, I explore my responsibilities as a Fire Keeper within the context of the Syilx knowledge systems as a method of materially manifesting a culture of healing within classroom spaces, specifically social work. My family is known across our territories as the fire keepers for our nation. As a non-binary 2 Spirit person, my fire keeping responsibilities bring an additional nuance to my being as a ‘2 Spirit medicine bundle’. My presentation will interrogate how tending the fire as a metaphor can function as practical and theoretical approaches to making a decolonizing intervention in the settler-colonial classroom space. By highlighting the roots of social and personal trauma and drawing on Sylix conceptions of family, community, the spirit, the body and relationality, I posit possibilities for healing for current and future struggles against colonial violence within and outside the educational system, specifically social work education and Indigenous resurgence.

Liz Beddoe, Kathryn Hay, Neil Ballantyne, Jane Maidment and Shayne Walker: If [you’re competent] you can be a rebel because there are no worms in your salad: Views on the student journey into social justice in social work practice

Public criticism of social work in Aotearoa New Zealand motivated a three-year mixed methods study of readiness to practise. Over 2017-2018 we ran a survey, focus groups and interviews with social work students, educators, supervisors and newly qualified social workers to explore their views about the strengths, gaps and limitations of their New Zealand qualifying programmes and the transition to practice. This paper will report on the themes of social justice, theory and practice, as a key component of the journey of student to graduate. Social justice, social work advocacy and anti-oppressive practice were key themes in the main messages delivered in education and supervisors want students to be grounded in these areas. Educators and students acknowledged the tensions created in understanding and articulating social justice principles and acting on these in constrained practice settings. Educators should reflect social justice principles in their teaching roles but students weren’t always convinced this was achieved. Supervisors want graduates with critical and political thinking skills and to be “multidimensional”, not just good at ticking boxes. All participants conceptualised social work education as the transformational journey of students into practitioners and social justice is a key part of this process.

Each presentation will be allocated 20 minutes. Additional time for questions and discussion will be available in each stream.

avatar for Liz Beddoe

Liz Beddoe

Professor, University of Auckland
avatar for Neil Ballantyne

Neil Ballantyne

Senior Lecturer, The Open Polytechnic
avatar for Percy Lezard

Percy Lezard

Lecturer, University of Manitoba
As an Indigenous 2 spirit non-binary scholar who previously lived and worked in Greater Toronto Area (dish with one spoon treaty), I have an intimate and embodied understanding of the complex relationship between academic learning, body/mind change, and land-based ways of knowing... Read More →