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Tuesday, December 3


Chair: Alice Mills

Tess Barlett: Constructions of the family for imprisoned primary carer fathers

This paper draws on an Australian Research Council funded study conducted in Victoria and New South Wales between 2011 and 2015 that examined care planning processes for children when their primary carer parent was arrested, sentenced, imprisoned, and released. In particular it examines data relating to 39 primary carer fathers incarcerated in prison in Victoria, Australia. The term ‘primary carer’ has mixed definitions and, although this study had a strict criteria, discussions about primary care with participants were not straightforward and instead revealed complex lives. This raises definitional issues relating to ‘primary care’ and the nature of the family and family networks for this population. By examining the interview process as well as the views of incarcerated primary carer fathers, this paper aims to explore differing constructions of the family for incarcerated fathers within the context of imprisonment. Drawing on research and theory related to families and imprisonment it explores a number of key themes relating to incarcerated primary carer fathers including the complexity and meaning of family for fathers in prison. Ultimately it seeks to explore the following question, what is the nature of family for imprisoned primary carer fathers?

Cinnamon Lindsay Latimer and Alice Mills: Going Straight Home?

Going Straight Home? is a Marsden-funded project which aims to explore the role of stable housing in reducing reoffending for people leaving prison in New Zealand. It involves pre and post-release interviews with a cohort of prisoners. The researchers have spent the last six months going into prisons around New Zealand for the initial interviews and have now begun the challenging task of trying to contact the sample six months later to conduct the first wave of follow-up interviews. This methodology paper will speak to some of the initial findings of the study, and share some reflections on the research process, including the challenges of practising whanaungatanga in the highly restrictive environment of the prison and the difficulties of maintaining contact with an incredibly transient and hard-to-reach population. It will also explore how concepts, such as whānau and ‘home’, can have differing meanings to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated populations, and the nuances of applying these within criminological research.

Luke Oldfield: Pākehā in uniform: Autoethnography of a Spring Hill Corrections Officer

One of many factors contributing to a punitive-thinking public is the physical, psychological and financial remoteness of prisons in contemporary society. These facilities, often closed off in view from the general public, shelter and reinforce misconceptions about prisoners, projecting the most egregious individuals and their behaviors while obscuring a majority of those on the muster. This autoethnography provides my observations as an officer at Spring Hill Corrections Facility, a prison in the North Waikato. It traverses a number of anecdotes from both inside and outside the prison walls, intertwining social realities with the political environment from which the Department of Corrections has been operating. It hopes to illuminate not just the hopelessness of performance measurements such as Reducing Reoffending by 25% but also how much further the (Pākehā) public must come before it sets aside the desire for an ever expanding carceral state.

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



BREAKOUT SESSION ONE: Gender & Sexuality
Chair: Vivienne Elizabeth

Ciara Cremin: Femininity and the end of Masculine Domination

A power play in which strength means domination and, if not through the dividends of class and race, domination is achieved through aggression, traits associated with the term masculinity are inextricable to patriarchy and capitalism. A stylisation as opposed to a state of being, masculinity is born of crisis but only named as such when the veneer of invulnerability is tarnished. A feminine woman, on the other hand, wears her vulnerability. Goddess, slut, scab to the sisterhood and never queer enough, her femininity is synonymous with decadence, frivolity, weakness and fragility. Her adornments, Freud thought, compensated for the absence of a penis, whereas for others are markers of an enslavement to and complicity with the nefarious practices of the beauty and fashion industries. Being turned into a woman, wrote Bourdieu, is the worst kind of humiliation to be inflicted on a man. The barrier that exists in an overwhelming majority of men that prevents them from making even the slightest sartorial incursion onto woman’s turf is more than a question of style or social pressure. It is an index of the degree to which the subject, irrespective of how they are sexed, is invested in masculine forms of domination. The paper considers how this bond can be severed.

Paul Ware: Does the punishment fit the crime? Examining self-problematising pornography consumers’ negotiation of a stigmatised condition

It is suggested that alongside the explosion in internet access, the viewing of pornographic material has increased significantly. Discussions on whether behaviours of a sexual nature should be added to the addictions section of the most recent version of the DSM prompted a flurry of literature to accompany public conversations on the topic. Efforts were made - and resisted - to establish pornography as a potentially addictive agent. Efforts have also been directed at examining why some consumers of pornographic material come to consider their behaviours problematic. Largely absent from the literature have been the voices of those under scrutiny. Also lacking has been critical and theoretical engagement with the topic. Through research conducted as part of the BHSc Honours programme, I hoped to play a part in addressing both of these issues. I conducted 24 in-depth interviews with participants seeking help to change their pornography consumption. A range of Foucauldean concepts informed the research. Participants were seen to draw on a range of experiences and discourses in their self-problematisation and transformative efforts. For most, the relationship with pornography represented a small part of wider processes of self-discipline, but a part they believed instrumental in accessing particular subjective and institutional transformative technologies.

Suraya Dewing: Enforcing Gendered Policies: The Impact on Transgender Inmates in New Zealand Prisons

In New Zealand, transgender prisoners continue to be exposed to unsafe conditions because initial housing placements are determined by their birth sex and not gender identity. Consequently, they are more likely to be assaulted, neglected, raped and subjected to degradation than their cis-gendered counterparts (Schweikart, 2018). In 2013 the Department of Corrections (DOC) delivered a policy that promised to be more in line with retributive, restorative and reintegration initiatives (Cassaidy, 2016). The revised M.03.05 Transgender and intersex prisoner policy allowed prisoners to be transferred to a women’s facility (DOC, 2019), but enforced arbitrary guidelines which meant most remained in these conditions for several months before being transferred (Schweikart, 2018). In 2018, as an attempt to create visibility, DOC added I.10 Management of Transgender Prisoner guidelines to work in conjunction with the policy (DOC, 2019), but again, failed to address the systematic discrimination sex-segregated institutions impose on gender non-conforming people. This paper argues that to reduce harm and to address these deficiencies, legislators need to revise and authorise placement modifications that are not currently permitted by law (Lea Johnson, 2015). This needs to happen so that imprisonment is a guaranteed just and proportionate sanction for these prisoners. By introducing trans-friendly guidelines to work in conjunction with an already problematic policy will continue to fall short of providing safety because the key determinants for placement decisions are still grounded on binary logic that privileges heteronormative assumptions of gender.

Rogena Stirling: Sex Equality: Will the mainstreaming of gender lead to sex equality?

Sex inequality and discrimination has been based upon the embodied socio-cultural roles and functions in the forms (sex, gender and orientation – as we refer to them today) of sex. This history of sex – its nature, roles of sex and what they should mean – has been reflected through the history of intersex. It was the control over intersex that gender began its rise in power from John Money as the “outcome of a cognition-based behavioural system where gender role was merely one variable of sex among many.” John Stoller picked up on this work of gender and designated it as “the cultural order of sex separate from biological sex variables” becoming the common usage today as two different orders of data. Such a notion of gender is being mainstreamed into social and public life. The process of mainstreaming gender though has further entrenched a biological determinism and though recognises de jure sex diversity, on a de facto basis merely sees diversity as ‘other’. Recognition of sex diversity must include the multiplicity in all its forms to overcome inequality and discrimination must fight against the embodiment placed upon these forms.

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

avatar for Rogena Stirling

Rogena Stirling

Teaching Fellow/Researcher
Have completed a PhD in human rights and taught in areas including Urban governance and social policy. I have written on sex/gender equality, affordable housing, and identity and Well-being/human flourishing, and data issues.


Chair: Manuel Vallee

Michael Nuth: Socio-technical networks and housing failure: a sociological explanation of technical flaws within medium-density housing

Orin Lockyer: Consuming Houses: Production and Consumption through the lens of first-time clients building a house in New Zealand

Casimir MacGregor: Beyond behaviour change? The epistemic and social practice foundations for ‘behaviour change’ in the context of the transition to a net- zero carbon economy

Zohreh Karami Nejad: The foundations of collaborative governance: Building the soft infrastructure of 'housing' renewal

During the last decades, collaborative governance, has been advocated as an approach with many benefits for planning, policy and decision making. While collaborative governance is seen as an improvement on technocractic ‘top-down’ approaches, critics note significant concerns around inclusion, power-imbalance and other inequalities. Also, the main focus of the theory seems to be on a single formal collaboration stage, and it lacks enough attention to pre-history and context of collaborations. We found that an informal, pre-collaboration ‘stage’ was critical in mitigating contextual and historical factors that often lead to marginalisation during more formal negotiations. Before undertaking consensus-oriented deliberations in settings that privilege certain interests, our data emphasised building trust and credibility, collective community capability and a mandate as foundational to the process. We conclude with the idea that we need to extend and expand our conceptualisation of collaborative governance to include a composite of formal and informal elements that provide varied opportunities for inclusion and alternative means of representation.

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


Chair: Louise Humpage

Rebecca Grimwood: The challenges of financing social services through Social Impact Bonds: Lessons from New Zealand

Around the world, governments have become increasingly intrigued by the possibility of harnessing the private ‘impact investment’ market to finance the delivery of social services. Social Impact Bonds have received particular attention and have been implemented in over 20 countries. Enabling government to repay investors upon the achievement of agreed social and fiscal outcomes rather than service outputs, Social Impact Bonds are seen as a way to catalyse ‘innovation’ in the social services sector. But there are significant operational challenges that attend these efforts. This paper focuses on the fraught implementation of New Zealand’s Social Impact Bond pilot program to identify general lessons for practitioners.

Tom Baker: Investable poverty

The management of poverty is undergoing significant changes with the rise of social investment states. In this context, we examine how governmental concern about the long-term public cost of poverty is increasingly modulating the selection, sequencing and targeting of interventions that seek to manage poverty. Using examples drawn from the management of homelessness in Anglo-America, we outline a research agenda related to the objectification, economisation, and subjectification of ‘investable poverty’. These emergent developments at the intersection of social investment and poverty management invite social scientists and others to rethink where, when and how poverty management occurs.

Louise Humpage: Will payment-by-performance improve Māori outcomes? Whānau Ora commissioning agencies and social impact bonds

The National-led government experimented with payment-by-outcomes models in social services, assuming stronger financial incentives and private investment were necessary to improve social outcomes. This paper examines two such models: 1) the commissioning agencies that make funding decisions on behalf of the state as part of a broader Whānau Ora strategy and receive performance payments if certain outcome levels are achieved Māori families; and 2) the social impact bond trials that involve for-profit organisations funding mental health services for the unemployed and attempts to reduce youth reoffending, while non-government organisations deliver the services needed. Although not explicitly targeting Māori, the sites for and focus of these trials mean Māori are disproportionately targeted. Service providers receive performance payments and funders receive returns on investment if outcomes are significantly improved. Drawing on government documents and independent reviews, the paper qualitatively analyses the costs/benefits associated with these new ways of delivering social services, as well as practical issues of implementation. The Whānau Ora commissioning agencies demonstrate more potential to improve indigenous peoples, given they offer greater level of indigenous control over the funding process and given significant problems with the bond trials, but there is no evidence that payment-by-outcomes is effective in either case.

Pekka Pennanen: Social Impact Bonds in Finland

One of the latest social innovations for the realization and funding of welfare services is Impact Investing and one of its form, Social Impact Bond (SIB). In the SIB-model, private or institutional investors invest in welfare services and take financial risk. SIB arrived in Finland as a process of several coincidences. The application of the new model as part of the welfare service provision in Finland is still fairly limited. However, the upcoming projects are larger in scale and budget than those implemented so far. My study reveals four objectives and four methods that the Social Impact Bond combines. The first objective is prevention of social problems. The second is improving the productivity and efficiency of social services. The third objective is better services, and the fourth is to reduce the budget deficit. These objectives can be achieved by applying the model-related methods. The first method is performance measurement and enhancing public sector effectiveness. The second method is increasing cooperation between different sectors. The third method is buying results, and the fourth is transferring the financial risk to private investors.

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


BREAKOUT SESSION ONE: Sociological Theory
Chair: Simon Barber

David Toews: Where do Beliefs Come From? Tarde’s Relational Theory of Monadic Order Schemes

Much of sociology is built upon a misapprehension of Durkheim’s idea that our individual beliefs are a product of social constraint as a positive theory based upon induction from empirical realities. Durkheim’s theory of belief is, in fact, wholly negative and deductive, appealing to a notion that it is inconceivable to not believe in anything given that social behaviour seems to only appear as incoherent when one has failed to identify the people, places, and things in certain definite situations that it is reacting to and in some sense constrained by. As a result of this misapprehension, I claim, sociological theorists have neglected to ask the question: where do beliefs come from? Relational sociological theory puts forward that what are primary are fluctuating networks of relations. Tarde posits that wild or unprocessed – what he terms ‘cosmic’ – networks of relations are seized and ordered by humans through a process of imitating other people, animals, and things. He puts forward the concept that within vast interferences between various networks of imitations there emerge “mathematical reasons” that account for why this or that belief becomes formulated in the minds of actors and then used as an affectively-loaded account of their action. This quantified landscape of relations amounts to what I term monadic order schemes. In this paper, by drawing contrasts between Durkheim and Tarde, I critically explore the extent to which a Tardian neomonadology can help explain where beliefs come from and their role in social interaction, as well as the relationship between humans and other objects.

Benjamin Atkins: Capital’s modes of being: on phenomenological ontology and historical materialism

Edmund Husserl’s development of phenomenology in the early 1900s was instrumental to the much of the philosophy that followed, from existentialism to ‘poststructuralism’. His and Martin Heidegger’s work provided rich methodological apparatuses not only for ‘continental philosophy’ but for progressive thought around the world, including feminist, anti-racist, and anti-colonial theory in the U.S., Latin America, South-East Asia, and Australasia. This occurred despite the fascist politics of one of phenomenology’s leading figures, Martin Heidegger. My recently submitted dissertation proceeded from puzzlement at this contradiction between Heidegger’s politics and the influence of his work on radically progressive thought. I enquire into how this might be, and whether the compatibility of phenomenology with liberatory thought might indicate the untapped potential of phenomenology’s relationship with historical materialism. This takes form through the immanent critique of Heidegger’s work and Herbert Marcuse’s early attempt to synthesise these fields. I provisionally suggest that phenomenology can provide an ontological supplement to Marx’s concept of capital as self-valorising value by revealing it as an ontological structure of human being. Workers exist in an immanent ontological understanding of capital’s constituent entities such private property, alienation, and exploitation, as the very basis of theoretical understandings of capital.

Marko Galic: The Making of Precarious Habitus

This paper investigates the structural constraints and everyday struggles of vulnerable precarious workers who work within insecure modes of employment. Working in unprotected precarious jobs results in precarity, a broader concern that prevents workers from both anticipating the future and living well in the present. It signifies a socio-economic condition and a mode of domination that systematically subjects increasing numbers of people to uncertainty and social vulnerability. Because women, Indigenous peoples and non-Western migrants are disproportionately represented in precarious work, this paper critically analyses precarity in the longue durée, considering the historical connections between precarity and capitalism (the mode of accumulation) and between precarity and colonialism (the structure of dispossession). Drawing on ethnographic work based on 26 semi-structured interviews with precarious workers and union representatives, I analyse precarity beyond the relationship of paid work. I introduce the concept of precarious habitus, signifying normalisation and internalisation of precarity. As an intentional consequence of anti-worker employment policies, the study reveals workers’ struggles to get by in an environment of precarious work and life, forcing them into submission and the acceptance of exploitation.

Anna Fielder: Stretch Marx

The maternity services are in a state of crisis in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Over the past 18 months, midwives and nurses have taken to both streets and picket lines in objection to pay and working conditions. Doctors have also been on strike. There are maternity staff shortages across the country, and a particularly acute shortage of Māori and Pasifika midwives. Maternity unit closure has created longer travel distances for people in labour and resulted in babies born on the side of the road. In this paper I discuss some of the largely unspoken ways in which capitalism has contributed to the contemporary crises which beset the maternity services, and I do so by drawing upon the work of Karl Marx. However, Frantz Fanon once noted that ‘Marxist analysis should always be slightly stretched’ when considering contexts of colonisation. In this paper I stretch the corpus of Marxism even further, in order to take the topic of childbirth seriously.

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

Wednesday, December 4


Session Chair: Sailau Suaalii-Sauni 

Warwick Tie: Responding to the collapse of desire in the analysis of penal excess

An analysis of early twentieth century torture lynching in the American South by David Garland introduces to the sociology of punishment the notion of ‘surplus meaning’. Garland thereby explains the ‘penal excess’ of torture lynching not just in terms of the excess of pain it delivers but an excess of social meaning generated by lynching events. The concept enables torture lynching to be framed as a populist form of penality used for racist political purposes. Despite the apparent clarity of this analysis, the approach crumples in the midst of a subsequent and seemingly endless proliferation of explanatory accounts. Methodologically, the logic of overdetermination used to frame explanation fails. Affectively, the desire of explanation collapses. A broad theoretical point can thereby made, that the desire central to the pursuit of understanding can be rescued when explanation includes the influence of capitalist (‘real’) abstraction in how the analysis of ‘surplus meaning’ proceeds.

Emilie Rakete: The prisons are full and the cupboards are empty: Social reproduction theory in the era of mass incarceration

The historical materialist method begins from a basic truth: if a society did not produce the things people needed to survive, that society would perish. In societies like ours, riven by inequality between the capitalist and working classes, a key site of conflict is the struggle over just how much it is that people need to live: on how little can the poor be made to subsist? The price of labour-power, the only commodity that working-class people control, has been systematically devalued in order for the capitalist class to appropriate increases in the productivity of labour. In the fight to determine who benefits from this overall social wealth – over who will thrive and who will starve; who will flourish and who will wither – the institution of mass incarceration has presided like a grim cenotaph. By assigning blame for the suffering caused by decades of neoliberalism to those who suffer, mass incarceration has acted as a weapon of class war. The development of social reproduction theory allows for a materialist analysis of non-workplace exploitation in terms of the labour theory of value. This insight makes it possible to conceptualise the political economic role that mass incarceration has played in reducing the price of labour-power, depressing wages, and keeping the working class poor, desperate, and miserable.

Juan Tauri: Challenging Authoritarian Criminology

In 2010, Nigerian criminologist, Biko Agozino, argued that the discipline of criminology is a “control freak” whose epistemological foundations were formed during the colonial dispossession of Indigenous peoples worldwide. As such, the discipline has long approached Indigenous peoples residing in settler-colonial contexts as problem populations in need of significant social management through targeted surveillance (especially policing), geographical containment (in reservations and boarding schools to begin with, and of late via the prison industrial complex of late modernity), and/or corrected through the ‘gift’ of western knowledge in the form of psycho-therapeutic programmes and other, similar interventions. This presentation will challenge core assumptions of mainstream, authoritarian criminologists and members of the policy sector they work with, in relation to Indigenous peoples, including that they have nothing to learn from Indigenous peoples and their knowledge systems about how to effectively respond to social harm, and that crime control policies imported from other ‘high crime’, Western jurisdictions are suitable for all communities regardless of ethnic, cultural, social and historical context.

Carl Bradley: Gangs, Violence and the Shadow Economy

Patched gangs as a deviant sub-culture have a long history in Aotearoa New Zealand. Drawing on the cultural tenets of the outlaw bikers of North America, outlaw bikers and patched street gangs grew to such an extent that they now have a presence in most towns and major cities in Aotearoa New Zealand. One of these tenets, violence sets patched gangs outside the standard characteristics of hyper-masculine groups: violence also makes gangs well-placed to control areas of the shadow economy. This paper seeks to locate gangs in the cultural landscape of Aotearoa New Zealand and interrogate what attracts young men to these groups applying General Strain Theory. This paper also investigates the tenets of gang culture with a focus on violence and the role it plays in dominating aspects of the shadow economy. Future trends in the face of an increasingly international gang landscape will be considered while issues in obtaining accurate data on gangs will be discussed. It is the authors contention that increased economic inequality will see gang membership rise with a move by some groups to position themselves to further control the drug trade through the threat or use of violence and the utilisation of transnational networks.

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

avatar for Carl Bradley

Carl Bradley

Research Asociate, Massey University
I research patched street gangs and Outlaw biker culture. I am interested in the persistence expressions of war-band like and hyper-masculine groups. I have also published on indigenous response to colonization from Iron Age Europe through to contemporary times.

Juan Tauri

Senior Lecturer, University of Waikato


BREAKOUT SESSION TWO: Gender & Sexuality
Session Chair: Carisa Showden 

Moeata Keil: ‘It really does take a whole village to raise him’: Pacific mothers and fathers post- separation parenting practices

Gender neutral terms like ‘parent’ and ‘parenting’ hide and in many ways disguise the gendered experience of mothering and fathering as well as the collectivised way that caring responsibilities for children are organised and negotiated in different cultural (ethnic) contexts. There is a growing body of sociological scholarship that explores gendered experience of post-separation mothering and fathering. However, much of this literature draws on normative white Western and nuclearised understandings of family structure and the nature and scope of parental obligations and responsibilities within that structure. Little is known about the way that Pacific mothers and fathers, many of whom adhere to a more extended family structure and hold more communally-based understandings about moral obligations to children, navigate and negotiate post-separation parenthood. Drawing on interviews with ten separated Pacific mothers and five separated Pacific fathers living in Aotearoa, this paper explores the way that ethnicity and gender interact and overlap in ways that shape how everyday parenting practices are organised, negotiated and enacted when parents live apart. This paper concludes by arguing that post-separation parenting is multiply informed by Pacific cultural norms and values as well as normative gendered ideals and practices associated with ‘good’ mothering and ‘good’ fathering.

Vivienne Elizabeth: A new form of mother blame: parental alienation syndrome, emotion work and the governance of post-separation mothers

Constructions of bad mothers are both changeable and numerous. They also have a long cultural history in the West. In this paper I examine a recent variant: the alienating (post-separation) mother who is judged to be hostile to contact between her children and their father. This version of the bad mother owes its existence to emergence of a ‘psy’ discourse on parental alienation (PA) in the context of a virulent father’s rights movement across the globe. Over time PA has become an important adjunct to custody law in the governance of post-separation mothers that provides legal actors with a pathologising interpretive frame, results in mothers’ self-disciplinary practices and is linked to their experiences of a range of affective burdens. In this paper I draw on the talk of a small number of separated mothers to explore the affective burdens occasioned by how parental alienation or the spectre of parental alienation shapes mothers’ emotion work. Mothers worked on their own emotions to minimise the risk of being seen to display emotional states linked to parental alienation, helped their children manage their peripatetic lives, and performed emotion work on behalf of fathers at the behest of the court.

Hannah Rossiter: Sport is a Human Right: Transgender athletes the Transgender Question of Our Time

The participation of trans women in sport has become one of the contentious social issues among cisgender and trans communities. It is commonly believed that trans women have an unfair advantage over cisgender women. As I will show in this presentation that trans athletes do not have an unfair advantage, but rather, they struggle to compete against cisgender athletes. Indeed, with Rachel McKinnon winning the UCI 35-44 Master’s World Championship and Lauren Hubbard representing New Zealand in women’s weightlifting, has put a spotlight onto the participation of trans women in sport. Many of the discussion of trans women participation in competitive sport fails to incorporate the 4th Fundamental Principles of Olympism, that the practice of sport is a human right. Additionally, these discussions of trans women in competitive sport view the effects of hormones as having minimal impact on trans athletes.

Laura Schilperoot: Practising gender equality: church-going couples' experiences of egalitarianism and their tools for egalitarian partnerships

Drawing from in-depth interviews with couples attending Protestant churches in New Zealand, this research explores how couples practice gender egalitarianism and examines the social and religious rationales underpinning their behaviour. In the context of this sociological study, ‘egalitarian’ refers to the position that women and men are of equal, intrinsic value and there are no gender-based limitations of what functions or responsibilities each can fulfil in the home, church or society. Drawing from the words and experiences of participants in my study, I will discuss one theme emerging in my data - egalitarian masculinity. Central to this discussion is the trend within literature that shows that men’s attitudes are more likely to influence gender equality within a heterosexual relationship. Following on from this, the women and men I interviewed share practical and conceptual tools they use to enact their beliefs about equality, and I will highlight some of these. Lastly, I will explore how this research is situated within wider, societal ‘traditional’ norms and discuss ways in which the experiences of the men and women in this study might be relevant to, or useful for anyone desiring egalitarian relationships, religious or non-religious. The following questions lie at the heart of this presentation: How do men and women understand and experience gender egalitarianism in partnerships, and to what extent can their practices have a transforming influence on hegemonic gender ideals?

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


Carisa Showden

Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland

Hannah Rossiter

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


BREAKOUT SESSION TWO: Indigenous Studies
Session Chair: Lara Greaves 

Lizzie Cook: Unsettled Bliss of Cruelty: Decolonising Aotearoa

I examine White domination in relation to the unextinguished sovereignty of Tangata Whenua - the multiple Indigenous entities of Aotearoa. Exploring justifications for that domination, I raise awareness for generating change towards equal power sharing between Tangata Whenua and Tangata Whai (all non-Indigenous, colonial and more recent Settlers) as a parallel bi-culturalism. Rorty described Nabakov's writing as showing how, `the private pursuit of aesthetic bliss produces cruelty'. Viewing `private pursuit' as solipsism, I apply it to
White domination aspirations in Aotearoa from landfall to present day. Using Hayden White's idea of a dominant consciousness, I site how White domination occupies Aotearoa socially, economically and conceptually. From Shklar's perspective of examining vices, I probe the aesthetic bliss of White domination in banal, daily practices that are unwitting acts of cruelty based on the misconception of its own universality that marginalises Tangata Whenua in their own country. The Protestant informed secular theorised by Weber, continues rationalized, puritanical violence post Te Tiriti, generating the 1860s great civil war described
by O'Malley, that positioned Tangata Whenua as 'rebels' in their own land. I challenge White domination claims of Indigeneity in relation to on-going White privilege and superiority and the marginalisation of other, non-Indigenous New Zealanders. Dissenting within this White domination, I develop a Theory of Cruelty that explores White domination repudiation of Tangata Whenua by Negation, Rationalism, Private Pursuit of Bliss, Defensiveness and White Essentialism. Aotearoa requires decolonisation.

Simon Barber: Māori Mārx: Some provisional materials

I begin by following Marx in his search for the proper starting place for a materialist dialectics. Marx’s search ends up, at the close of his life, with the passionate study of indigenous modes of life. I sketch some of the possible lineaments of a Māori Marxism which takes ‘whakapapa’ as its central concept. Whakapapa describes the way in which the world has its being and becoming through the relational and intergenerational reproduction of all things. From this perspective follows an indigenous form of historical materialism wherein reproduction is foregrounded over and against production. I close by suggesting that we must come to conceive of ourselves as part of the ensemble powers of Papatūānuku if we are to conserve the earth whilst overcoming capital.

Tracey McIntosh: He Waka Roimata: Justice Reform and Listening to Understand

In 1988 John Rangihau and the Māori Perspective Advisory Committee's Te Puao-te-Atu-tu report and Moana Jackson's He Whaipaanga Hou report were released demanding urgent reform of both the social welfare system and the criminal justice system. Each of these reports positioned Māori at the centre of the need for transformational change, power sharing and decision making. In 2019 Whakamana Tangata and He Waka Roimata were released from the Welfare Expert Advisory Group and Te Uepū Hāpai i te Ora - Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group respectively. This paper looks at the experiential costs of a generation of an increasingly hostile policy environment and the subsequent increase in our consumption of punishment. Listening to understand privileges lived experience of those that ' have lived it and seen it all'.

Fern Smith and Morgan Tupaea: He Tamariki He Taonga: Disrupting colonial media patterns about taitamariki atawhai and the capacities of whānau Māori

A rising tide of activism, supported by social and conventional media forms, has enabled greater visibility to the longstanding practice of state removal of Māori children from their whānau. On the precipice of, and preceding this social change we analysed a corpus of print media identifying and deconstructing pervasive representations of whānau and taitamariki atawhai (children adopted or born of the heart) affected by the state care system. Drawing on kaupapa Māori methodologies, and thematic analysis methods, we identified dominant representations of a) neoliberal subjectivities reinforcing colonial structures, b) pathologising, undermining and silencing Māori and c) the ongoing effects of colonisation and the marginalisation of Māori worldviews. This work foregrounds patterns of discourse that constrain possibilities for whānau and taitamariki atawhai, seeking to broaden media representations of Māori to attend to the brilliancy, complexity and resiliency of taitamariki Māori atawhai. Following hui with Ngāpuhi Social Services and VOYCE: Whakarongo Mai, about this analysis, we advocate for media to better contextualise representations of Māori with understandings of colonisation in local contexts. Furthermore, the media can move beyond being a tool of colonisation by validating and legitimating mātauranga and tikanga Māori, as espoused by Māori leaders - informing solutions to these issues.

Liana MacDonald: Cultural memory and photographic representation of early settler life in the Waipa District

A rich account of early settler life in New Zealand is captured through photography taken by migrants between 1840 and 1914. Some of these images have been used by scholars to learn more about settler culture and colonial history, however, colonial photography in settler colonial societies do much more than that. In this presentation, I argue that photographic images of everyday colonial life are a technology of cultural memory. Cultural memory both defines a culture and influences how history is understood; consequently, photographic representations of early colonial life reflect early settlers’ claims of belonging to indigenous lands and supports the descendants of settlers today to view these claims as legitimate. I will present six tropes that emerged from the photographic repository of a museum in the Waipa district, to show how cultural memory is evoked through colonial images and sustained over time. This presentation is based on in-progress research that is part of a large national project, He Taonga te Wareware?: Remembering and Forgetting New Zealand’s Colonial Past.

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

avatar for Lizzie Cook

Lizzie Cook

PhD Candidate, University of Canterbury
White privilege, racism, negotiating conflict as a normal everyday activity, bee & butterfly gardens, native plants, potagerdesign, colourperforming artist

Morgan Tupaea

Te Aitanga a Māhaki, Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Tipa

Tracey McIntosh

Professor of Indigenous Studies, University of Auckland


Session Chair: Luke Goode

Luke Goode and Steve Matthewman: Possible, Probable, Preferable: Contested Urban Futures

This paper introduces the Social Futures stream by sketching out a brief history of futures studies and its relationship to sociology and critical social science. It addresses the question: why ‘social futures’? And it discusses some key conceptual and methodological challenges involved in studying ‘possible, probable and preferable futures’ in relation to issues of agency, structure and unequal power relations. The paper will then relate this discussion to our research project based in Christchurch/Ōtautahi. Following the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, the city rebuild created an unprecedented opportunity for the city’s residents to participate collectively in shaping its future. Initially, the City Council was lauded for its efforts to engage citizens through its Share an Idea process of public “conversations” surrounding future directions for Christchurch. In reality, however, the power to shape the future of Christchurch through policy and practice is very unevenly distributed across different interest groups, communities and demographics. Our research aims to explore and give voice to a diverse range of hopes, fears and expectations surrounding the future of Christchurch among the city’s residents, communities and stakeholders.

Georgia Lockie: Utopia and Desire: Bloch with Lacan

In our contemporary ideological enclosure by ‘capitalist realism,’ a crucial task for the Left is building counter-hegemony. My doctoral research focuses on the counter-hegemonic possibilities of utopia and utopian hermeneutics. Utopia historicises the present, returning us to the plane of history against the eternal present of capitalist realism, and offers ways of thinking the genuinely new. However, utopia is also appropriated by ideology—our desires for better ways of being are captured and neutralised in service of the status quo. The Left’s war of position must also incorporate, therefore, a war of utopia. For Ernst Bloch, utopianism is ontological. He argues, contra Freud, that hunger (conceived broadly), is our most basic drive. The Not-Yet-Conscious—the proto-utopian aspect of the unconscious and part of the ontological basis of Bloch’s speculative materialism—is animated by lack, and its correlative longing. This bears remarkable similarity to Lacan’s theory of lack as constitutive of both the subject and the social, and raises the possibility of utopia as objet a. This presentation will bring Bloch and Lacan into conversation with one another, exploring the implications of this theoretical synthesis for Left counter-hegemony.

Greg Minissale: Schizoanalytic Futures

In many of Deleuze and Guattari’s texts the political economy and the libidinal economy are one and the same. In Chaomosis: an ethico-aesthetic paradigm, Guattari writes: ‘The Freudian Unconscious is inseparable from a society attached to its past, to its phallocentric traditions...Contemporary upheavals undoubtedly call for modelization turned more towards the future and the emergence of new social and aesthetic practices’ (1995: 12). Clearly, what is being mapped here is the cooperation between phallocentric psychoanalysis and the capitalist economy. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to see this is the Barbie doll and Action Man—both consumer products meant to reproduce heterosexual gender essentialism. I argue that for the ‘emergence of new social and aesthetic practices’ to be possible, social futures need to turn away from the authority of the Oedipal past which regulates our present and future actions. Instead, Deleuze and Guattari propose ‘schizoanalysis’, an approach that opens up to a broad heterogeneity of libidinal micropolitics and social relations. In this paper I examine how schizoanalysis brings together aesthetic, libidinal, social and political registers with reference to queer Muslim futurisms. This social, political and aesthetic praxis is particularly urgent in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand where heteronormative culture and toxic masculinity have encouraged high suicide and self-harming rates among LGBTIQ, with alarming figures for bullying at school and on social media.

Wayne Hope: Conflicting Futurities: Time, global capitalism and the Anthropocene

Initially, I set out the case for a new epoch – the Anthropocene – from a geological and earth systems perspective. Then a critical conception of the human - centred Anthropocene narrative will foreground the relations of power and vested interests involved in rapidly escalating greenhouse gas emissions (including CO2). I will also argue that from the late 20th century an epoch of global capitalism took shape. The globalisation of capitalist finance, production, consumption and communication infrastructures coincided with the globalisation of carbon capitalist footprints. Transnational value chains of energy extraction, electricity generation, production, supply networks and commodity consumption represent a convergence between the earth – human Anthropocene and global capitalism. Against this background, I will consider the complex uncertainties of global climate change scenarios arising from interacting causal linkages associated with a depleted, artificial biosphere, biodiversity loss, ice cap contraction, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, unruly weather and climate, fragile agricultural systems, declining food security, new unequal suffering, social instability and violent geopolitics. My general argument here is that the difficulty of determining these scenarios stems from certain conflicts and obfuscations of time. Thus, the growing scientific certainty concerning anthropogenic temperature rise and greenhouse gas emissions conflicts with the growing uncertainty as to how greenhouse tipping points will play out across ecological, economic, social and political realms. Additionally, concerns about the future of generic humanity conflicts with the need for an appreciation of coeval communication and its denial. In the latter context, greenhouse gas scenarios can be seen through the lens of plutonomy, socio-economic immiseration and the displacement of surplus populations. Finally, I will argue that these insights in regard to global futurity are obfuscated by financial and corporate constructions of climate change risk.

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

avatar for Greg Minissale

Greg Minissale

Associate Professor, University of Auckland
Greg completed his PhD in Art History at SOAS, University of London. Research is centred on Deleuzoguattarian approaches to contemporary art, cognitive psychology, Heidegger, new materialism, queer theory. He is author of Images of Thought, Visuality in Islamic India 1550-1750 (Newcastle... Read More →
avatar for Luke Goode

Luke Goode



Session Chair: Aimee B. Simpson 

Supuni Liyanagunawardena: From harsh pills to powerful pirith thread: Exploring the thing-power of medications

Medications are administered to bodies to bring about some (desirable) change, though their impact often transcends pharmacological efficacy. In a pluralistic medical landscape where biomedicine is juxtaposed against diverse folk and traditional therapeutics, the effects of medications further multiply in their entanglements with state policy, national identity and communal relationships. From my on-going doctoral research into everyday medication practices in a rural community in Sri Lanka, I draw on people’s engagement in diverse therapeutics that involve (and often combine) biomedical pharmaceuticals, plant-based remedies, Buddhist rituals and supernatural healing. To explore such dynamic and ambivalent interactions with a plethora of medications, I propose a vital materialist perspective as theorized by Jane Bennet. Based on data from qualitative interviews with 20 participating households, I delve into the ‘thing-power’ of medications, highlighting their capacity to ‘enchant’, transform and actively form human-nonhuman assemblages. Recognizing medications as nonhuman actants, I argue, could offer fresh insights into people-medication interactions and have important implications for public health approaches towards people’s medication practices.

Andrew Dickson: Fat is a fictional issue

In her seminal text, commonly referred too as FIFI, Susie Orbach proposes a diagrammatic representation of the ‘fat woman’. My descriptor of Orbach’s text as seminal is of course deliberate. Her text is super-saturated in phallic logic – the ease with which one can imagine themselves besuited in a lard-layer, waiting for a release, for thigh-gap to be reinstated, the proper woman. No wonder it is still a best-seller. Orbach’s text demonstrates the illogic characteristic between fa(c)t and fiction, her work is ostensibly factual, yet this image exists only in the fiction of phallic logic. In this presentation I will attempt to insert a prybar between the layers to consider how Lacan’s logic of sexuation can help us to understand the desire of/for thin in an age of the rampant obese. I will do this via the emerging radical qualitative method known, intriguingly, as autotheory.

Laura Starling: A New Zealand Perspective on Networked Publics and Trust in Contraceptive Apps

Social media influencers are becoming increasingly wide-reaching and influential, and many specialise in health and well-being. They use their platform to display ideal neoliberal citizenship by both actively participating in and promoting neoliberal capitalist ideology through the process of self-objectification and self-branding. Given that many social media influencers are lifestyle bloggers who promote health and well-being related products, they assume a level of medical authority to those in their networked publics. Authority is awarded to them by their community of followers and through the development of social capital in online networks. This research is particularly interested in the promotion and sale of reproductive health apps, which are advertised to followers as reliable and trustworthy forms of safe contraception. I will specifically focus on New Zealand-based social media influencers that promote reproductive health apps. Applying the Quantified Self and Goffman’s presentation of the self, a netnography of a networked public will be used examine trust and neoliberalism.

Alex Ker: Exploring trans and non-binary people’s epistemic agency when accessing gender-affirming hormones

Trans and non-binary people currently face barriers to accessing gender-affirming healthcare. These barriers, such as long waiting times and denial of care, are a result of the longstanding lack of transparent information, education, and funding towards gender-affirming care. While these barriers exist in Aotearoa, little is known about how these barriers affect trans people’s agency over their bodies, gender and healthcare. This presentation draws on my honours dissertation, in which I use the concept of epistemic injustice to explore eight trans people’s experiences of agency when accessing gender-affirming hormones in Wellington. Participants’ experiences suggest that trans people are required to perform epistemic labour to prove themselves as credible, knowledgeable and certain when accessing hormones. This labour is perceived as unfair and disproportionate to other healthcare, yet necessary to be perceived as a competent agent. In situations where trans people’s agency is affirmed, healthcare professionals trust people’s testimonies and engage in shared decision-making processes. This research highlights the need for healthcare providers to reconsider their epistemic responsibilities when providing care for populations that have historically been marginalised in healthcare settings.

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

avatar for Aimee B. Simpson

Aimee B. Simpson

PhD Candidate, University of Auckland
Sociology PhD student based at the University of Auckland. Interested in sociology of medicine, the body and issues relating to health. Currently working on an analysis of obesity discourses and their effects on understandings of fatness, health and identity using a fat studies l... Read More →

Supuni Liyanagunawardena

PhD candidate, Victoria University of Wellington
My research is in Sociology of Health. For my PhD, I'm studying medication practices in rural households in Sri Lanka. Currently exploring new materialisms.


Chair: Kalym Lipsey

Lissy Fehnker: Human-nature relationships across Auckland: Exploring perceptions and connections to ‘nature’

This PhD research is exploring people’s perceptions of ‘nature’, their connectedness to ‘nature’, the practical implications of this. I would like to present on my research to date, highlighting methods used, background of the research and an example of results. I am interested in presenting so that I can gather feedback from cohorts outside of environmental management, particularly as my research straddles social sciences and sciences. Previous research has argued that human’s disconnection from the natural world contributes to environmental decline. Since human activity can be attributed to being a primary driver of environmental change, it is crucial when developing conservation and environmental management policies that we take into consideration factors that influence human activity and human motivations. Integrating a knowledge of people’s perceptions of nature and the reasoning behind certain actions into environmental management can assist in developing more holistic approaches which are strategic and tailored to accommodate the varying ways in how people relate, value and connect to nature. This study responds to a gap in knowledge in New Zealand and also internationally. This research will be the first major study which will investigate human-nature relationships in New Zealand. Internationally, it has been argued that more studies need to investigate how nature is perceived as often it is left undefined. Also, findings from research on human-nature relationships tend to stay in the field of psychology which eliminates any action from an environmental management perspective. However research understanding people’s connections to nature and the practice implications has been rated as high priority for conservation planning. This research will fill these important gaps and contribute to the development of theories that seek to understand why people do what they do, and how people view themselves in relation to the natural world around them. This research has involved 1,002 participants across Auckland and was conducted using online questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. Key results are that the most common perception of ‘nature’ is it is separate from humans. Perceptions of what ‘connections to nature’ mean is that it is something cognitive – relating to beliefs, knowledge or attitudes.

Angela Maynard & Bruce Curtis: Squeezed Aucklanders Reflect: A Qualitative Analysis of Discussions on Class

The presentation will discuss the commentary on class made by participants in our recent study of the ‘squeezed middle’ (Curtis, Maynard & Kanade, 2019). That study confirms the notion of a squeezed middle for the participants based in Auckland. Particular attention will be paid to how age, gender and occupation have shaped the discourse, and the extent to which a class narrative informs a critique of neo-liberalism.

Jessica Terruhn: Diversity and Equality in Urban Housing Renewal

Auckland is currently seeing an unprecedented number of urban development projects that form part of addressing the city’s housing crisis. This presentation critically discusses the discursive role notions of equality and diversity play in the visions of such urban development projects with a focus on the Auckland neighbourhood of Northcote. The Northcote Development is exemplary of current large-scale developments in Auckland insofar as it takes place in a socio-economically deprived neighbourhood with a large area of land owned by Housing New Zealand. In the course of redevelopment, this land undergoes intensification as well as partial privatisation by offering a mix of affordable and market homes alongside public housing. Based on a qualitative content analysis of planning documents, website content and community publications pertaining to the Northcote Development, this presentation argues that diversity is explicitly mobilised to justify state-led gentrification. This is particularly evident in discourses that frame a likely influx of higher-income earners in terms of greater socio-economic diversity that benefits all neighbourhood residents. In order to attract affluent homebuyers, undesirable ‘low-value’ diversity is eliminated whilst desirable diversity, especially as part of food culture, becomes an asset. All the while, notions of equality are conspicuously absent from visions for the neighbourhood. The discussion situates the findings in critical scholarship on the urban diversity dividend to argue that such discourses of socio-economic diversity ultimately benefit developers and gentrifiers while risking the direct and indirect displacement of low-income residents.

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


Jessica Terruhn

Senior Researcher, Massey University
avatar for Kalym Lipsey

Kalym Lipsey

Massey University


Chair: Marilyn Chetty 

Naomi Fuamatu: Samoan Aiga (Family) and Youth Justice in Aotearoa, New Zealand

Family is important, when it comes to understanding the phenomena of youth offending. Family is where an individual’s life begins, from birth to the years of adolescence and transition into adulthood. A young person, encounters their own experience of how they are immersed or socialised into family life or connected to caregivers, people or a community that has significant meaning to the individual. Youth offending impacts families and communities, it is important to understand the significant role of family for young who engage or become entangled in the youth justice system. Particularly how family is perceived as an essential component in youth justice discourse. This presentation which will speak to Samoan aiga (family). The structures of power within the aiga model, considering how Samoan youth who become part of the youth justice system in Aotearoa, New Zealand - negotiate these aiga structures, articulate their reflections on their personal and collective sense of identity, well-being and belonging, before, during and/or after their engagement of the youth justice system. I intend to explore the aiga dynamic as a place of strength, resilience and challenge for Samoan youth.

Sailau Suaalii-Sauni, Juan Tauri, Robert Webb: Māori and Samoan Youth Justice in Aotearoa: preliminary research themes

An ongoing area of major concern for Māori and Samoan communities in Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) is the criminal justice system, and in particular, the system’s responses to youth and their whānau/aiga (families) and vice versa. This paper outlines some themes from the preliminary analysis of the New Zealand leg of a Marsden research project on international comparisons of Māori and Samoan experiences of youth justice. This speaks to the different cultural and community knowledge frameworks used to understand justice, and the issues for youth in these communities.

Maja Curcic: The Making of Māori Hyper-Incarceration: Narratives of Imprisonment and the Violence Continuum

This presentation draws from interviews with Māori ex-inmates, their family members and Indigenous prison scholars. The paper analyses structural constraints and everyday struggles regarding incarceration, violence and dispossession. Acknowledging the social structures, historical context and power relations between Indigenous peoples and settler-colonial society, it investigates Māori incarceration as a structural problem that has its roots in New Zealand’s colonial and neo-colonial history. Throughout the thesis, the over-representation of Māori in the criminal justice system is not understood as an independent issue, much less a criminogenic problem, but as a wider social harm issue that has been in the making by various historical and structural processes of dispossession. The study investigates the ongoing process of the making of Māori hyper-incarceration with its destructive social, cultural, economic and political consequences. It reveals the active presence of structural violence that intimately translates into the violence continuum in everyday social settings and relationships. This includes a critical outcome where Māori incarceration becomes unremarked, internalised and taken for granted.

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


Juan Tauri

Senior Lecturer, University of Waikato

Marilyn Chetty

PhD Candidate, University of Auckland


Chair: Steve Matthewman 

Tricia Wachtendorf, Samantha Penta, and Mary Nelan: Post-disaster materiel convergence: A social construction approach

Over a half century of research has pointed to the challenges associated with unsolicited donations in the post disaster-environment. The sociological concept of convergence is central to such examinations. Yet despite improvements in message clarity regarding problems associated with excessive transportation cost, inappropriate giving and timing, as well as storage and distribution, the challenges persist. Based on qualitative interviews conducted in the U.S. after several disaster events, this presentation adopts a social construction approach to materiel convergence in the aftermath of disaster. We find that people who organize donation drives are often motivated to engage in social action by concerns disparate from actual survivor need. Meeting the needs of the donor and donor organization often guide giving more so than an assessment of survivors’ objective need. An interdisciplinary approach - drawing on Weber’s theory of social action, the field of collective behavior, and humanitarian logistics – is central to this analysis and for developing strategies to mitigate the burden of non-priority items in the post-disaster supply chain.

Jeevan Karki: Whose Recovery Counts? Understanding Social Vulnerability in the South Asian Disaster Response and Recovery Context

While we have no control over natural hazards, it is society rather than nature that decides which type of people are more likely to be exposed to risks and which groups will suffer most in the aftermath of disaster. Caste and ethnicity, which are still a dominant factor of social stratification in South Asian societies, have been recognised as significant factors of social vulnerability; however, these aspects are often neglected in disaster research (see Bolin, 2007; Gaillard, 2011). Therefore, my ongoing research intends to address this gap. In
this paper, I will analyse how Dalits (one of most marginalised and oppressed social groups) and ethnic minorities in South Asian societies are structurally placed in vulnerable conditions and how this social inequality is perpetuated in post-disaster response and recovery contexts as well.

Sara Salman: Citizenship Lost: Post-Disaster Relief and the Banality of State Neglect

In 2012, New York City was hit by hurricane Sandy. The storm impacted approximately 70,000 homes. In the immediate aftermath, private citizens and charities came to the aid of those affected, while the federal government worked on dispensing aid quickly. The media hailed the private and federal responses as testaments to the “resiliency” of New Yorkers, and an illustration of “institutional efficacy,” respectively. But in the aftermath of the post-disaster high, long-term relief seemed to lag. In 2013, Mayor Bloomberg launched “Build it Back”, a long-term homeowners’ rebuilding program. The program was mediated by a powerful discourse of mistrust of needy citizens and valorization of the private sector, both of which paralyzed it, leaving scores of Americans unable to return home. This paper explores long-term aid efforts and the discourses that shaped relief after Hurricane Sandy as well as subsequent hurricanes. The paper argues that post-disaster relief in the United States offers an illustration of ebbing citizenship rights. It presents the American model as a cautionary tale against fetishization of the social contract.

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


Jeevan Karki

PhD Candidate, The University of Auckland
avatar for Tricia Wachtendorf

Tricia Wachtendorf

Professor, Disaster Research Center Director, University of Delaware


Chair: Matthew Wynyard 

Emer Lyons: MTV and ME, ME, ME: How 90s Pop Culture Messed Up Millennials

“[. . .] wherein history unfolds as the future envisioned for a Child who must never grow up” (Bersani 2004, 21-22).

Why do I think everybody cares (/HURTS)? This paper is an autotheoretical hunt through the poetics of the nineties through M People, Daria, and the Spice Girls to see how a generation of forever young (me)millennials was created. In 1994, I’m six years old. My mother goes to an M People concert, she brings back a cloth neck tie with M PEOPLE stitched into it. I wrap it round my head like how I’ve seen the IRA wear their tricolour Tiocfaidh ár lá headbands. In section one I’ll deconstruct pop songs to analyse how Gen Y learnt individualism, to “search for the hero inside” ourselves (M People, 1994). In 1998, I’m ten. The world becomes autotuned. Ireland gets MTV. The Spice Girls are falling apart. I’m certain I’ll be a famous. In section two, I’ll look at the MTV show Daria and how individualism becomes nihilistic as millennials begin to chant “No Life. No Hope. No Future” (Daria, 1997). This paper will draw on queer anti-futurism through Leo Bersani, queer futurity through Jose Esteban Muñoz, and growing sideways through Kathyrn Bond Stockton.

Morgan Hodgson: The millennial question; who are we and what are we doing?

Millennials are a generational grouping who are increasingly facing the challenges of precarity. Where higher education once provided a route into secure employment, graduates are increasingly leaving universities to find themselves without any employment advantage, relegated to precarious employment with the addition of student debt. This presentation is going to look at the narratives of millennial graduates in New Zealand to discuss the emerging trend of educated precarity and to ask who are we, and what are we doing? These experiences consider the challenges of transitioning from a university into employment, the functionality of a university degree in New Zealand, and the looming mental health crisis of burn-out. What can these stories tell us about the state of capitalism in New Zealand, what can they tell us about our national identity, and how can we address the rise in precarity? It is through sharing our individual experiences that we are able to critique our social realities, join me to discuss the contemporary neoliberal climate in New Zealand.

Natalie Matthews: Subduing Sabrina: embodied metaphors of in/authenticity and the devaluing of the teenager

Recent churlish reactions to young people’s leadership in global climate strikes indicate the continuing relevance of the devalued “teenager” as a cultural trope. Here, I expand upon a case study from Neopagan Witchcraft to argue that teenagers are not merely understood as deficient adults-in-progress but as fundamentally inauthentic; a charge of some significance in what Charles Taylor characterised as an “age of authenticity”. I detail the stereotype of the “Teen Witch”, a defining Other within Neopaganism, including among young Witches themselves. Style-oriented, aligned with commoditised media imagery, and above all fundamentally susceptible, the teenaged Witch has elements of historical specificity but is also remarkably similar to boundary figures within diverse contemporaneous subcultural groups. Further analysis sees this as resting on wider constructions of in/authenticity. Drawing on an understanding of thought as fundamentally embodied, I show how these constructions rest on a depth model of authenticity upon which other binary relations of in/authenticity and un/desirability are articulated. The “teenager” consistently falls on the devalued side of this embodied understanding, both within Neopagan Witchcraft as the “teen Witch” and in wider representation.

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

avatar for Emer Lyons

Emer Lyons

PhD Topic: Shame in Queer Contemporary Poetry in Ireland and New ZealandResearch Interests: Queer Theory, Poetic and Lyric Theory, Feminism, Affect Theory, Sociology of Emotion, Queer Theology, Irish Studies, Performance Studies.


Chair: RituParna Roy 

Vinod Bal: #TheyAreUs in the wake of the Christchurch Terrorist Attacks

In the wake of the March 15th Christchurch terrorist attacks, hashtag ‘they are us’ emerged swiftly by the majority in every facet of New Zealand. From the highest levels of the state to the ground-roots of the country, the phrase was said, mostly, without any confirmation from those actually targeted by the attack. Using Robin Diangelo’s seminal work on White Fragility, this paper elucidates how this movement, while well-intentioned, is part of a broader function of whiteness that hinders much needed articulation of racism and anti-racist strategies in New Zealand. This paper argues that #TheyAreUs represents more than just a successful attempt at deflection but rather a denial of any call to New Zealanders to introspect their own racialized prejudices and a failed attempt to acknowledge this event as a part of a growing re-emergence of white supremacy. The chant facilitated a dissociative stance toward the racist attacks while maintaining the racial status quo. Such strategies perpetuate an environment that is passively permissive to white supremacy by absolving New Zealanders of responsibility by adopting a position of victimhood and innocence. This paper concludes that this movement is paradoxical and harmful to those targeted by this attack.

Erica Lee: Race, affect and psychoanalysis

In the book Mistaken Identity: Race and Class in the Age of Trump (2018), Asad Haider brings attention to the “self-colonising trajectory of certain forms of identity politics” among the racially oppressed. There exists a paradox: for the racially oppressed to reappropriate the imposed negative identities as a source of pride, to use as a form of defense and protection, they remain under the subjection of racial ideology. These identities are not easily given up, one reason being that the reclamation involves self-driven reworkings of one’s own racial trauma, the process itself often being traumatic. Scholars point to the unconscious to explain such attachment to racial identities and the affective strength of these attachments.Thus, this paper aims to trace various psychoanalytic theorising of racial subjection/subjectivation and affect in the current literature. This will form the basis to construct an anti-colonial theoretical framework for the racially subjectivated psyche.

Matthew Wynyard: ‘Starving in the midst of plenty’: The dispossession of Māori land and Crown ‘compensation

Article two of Te Tiriti o Waitangi guarantees to Māori the full, exclusive and undisturbed possession of any land they wish to retain. In the century or so that followed the signing of Te Tiriti, and in complete contempt of it, Māori were systematically dispossessed of all but a tiny fraction of their lands through a variety of mechanisms including raupatu, the individualization of title, forced sale to defray survey costs, excessive Crown purchasing, and the compulsory acquisition of land for defense and public works purposes. Māori land holdings diminished to just 5 per cent of Aotearoa comprising mostly inaccessible backcountry, totally unsuitable for development. This paper draws on an emergent body of indigenous critical theory, Marx’s theory of primitive accumulation and the author’s experiences working as a Crown historian to argue that the loss of land systematically excluded Māori from the developing land-based capitalist economy and that the current Treaty settlement process, which typically involves the return of little, if any, productive land, does little to address the perilous position of many Māori in an economy that is still very much based on the possession of land.

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


Chair: Louise Humpage

Charlotte Moore: It’s life Jim… but not as we know it: Community provision of social services within a social investment state

Drawing upon mixed economy of welfare perspectives, this paper examines how initiatives introduced by New Zealand’s National-led Government (2008-2017) have further eroded boundaries between the state, the private sector and the community and voluntary sector, and how this may impact on the ways in which citizens access or engage with social service providers. These initiatives include the establishment of a ‘Social Investment Approach’, a commission of inquiry into ‘More Effective Social Services’ and the piloting of a number of new commissioning tools. Key aspects of reforms include a strong focus on outcomes or ‘what works’, the precision targeting and segmentation of service users and efforts to streamline government contracting processes. Drawing upon initial findings from a series of qualitative interviews with key stakeholders in the social services sector in New Zealand it is possible to identify a number of potential policy implications. These include reduced diversity of community and voluntary sector organisations as larger, more ‘corporate’ entities are rewarded with government contracts while smaller, locally embedded organisations become less viable. Furthermore, there is a risk of reduced levels of trust in community organisations due to a perception that the personal information of service users may be shared with government funders. Finally, targeting of social services may increase stigma for some service users, while others may find reduced access to services where they do not meet higher thresholds for intervention.

Kiri West: Data from 'Given' to 'Taken'

Data are the single-most significant asset shaping our present and future realities. Data are driving national and global economies, and are presented as the evidential basis for the development of policies; they are framing political landscapes and radically transforming what it means to live in a democratic state. Underlying the datafication of our common realities is a persistent rhetoric that data are objective and free from bias. This claim will be contested in the light of the experience of Indigenous peoples’. The presentation will unpack these tacit assumptions and interrogate the political assignment of data as ‘neutral’ in modern contexts by looking at the history of the concept. Through this discussion, I will flesh out the congruences between early conceptualisations of data as a ‘gift’ with the importance of koha in te ao Māori. Raising the question how did the ‘given’, become the ‘taken ’? This will inform a broader articulation of the relevance of kawa and tikanga drawn from te ao Māori in the development of governance frameworks for data in Aotearoa New Zealand today.

Bo Li: Professionalization of grassroots NGOs and governments-NGOs partnerships in China

The past 40 years have seen a dramatic development of the grassroots NGOs in China. Although the
literature on the rise of grassroots NGOs and their relationships with the authoritarian governments is
increasing, knowledge regarding the operations of individual grassroots NGOs and the differences
among these relationships is lacking. There is more knowledge about NGOs in China on a macro level
than that on the organizational/micro level. Built on existing literature of graduated control, this paper
utilizes ethnographic case study and interviews with key participants of the NGOs. It examines the
operations of two grassroots NGOs in China involving in rural education. By tracing the development
process of each one, it describes the key characteristics of professionalization and explains how the
professionalization of NGOs contributes to their partnerships with the governments. This leads to a
better understanding of how grassroots NGOs in China grow from politically marginalized groups
with low capacity to professional actors with expertise in finding new solutions to social problems in
this authoritarian regime.

Edwin Sayers: Gifts, relationship building, and gambling policy: SkyCity and the New Zealand International Convention Centre

This paper will present preliminary findings and interpretation from a small component of a larger research project that explores the relationship between industry actors and policy in the context of several unhealthy commodities. Specifically, this paper will examine the policy process surrounding the New Zealand International Convention Centre Act 2013, in which SkyCity was granted regulatory concessions for its Auckland-based casino (New Zealand’s largest) in exchange for funding an international convention centre. My empirical focus is on a range of potential points of policy influence including donations, gifts, hospitality, formal meetings, and informal relationships. This data is drawn from a range of sources, including the Register of Pecuniary Interests, an investigation by the Office of the Auditor General, and an investigation by the New Zealand Police. My theoretical focus is on the potential for industry actors and their representatives to influence policy through the production and maintenance of relationships based on reciprocity.

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


Bo Li

PhD Candidate, The University of Auckland

Edwin Sayes

Research Fellow, University of Auckland


BREAKOUT SESSION FOUR: Science & Technology
Chair: Manuel Vallee 

Jacqueline Tinkler: “All traditions will go”: Students, technology, and the future of schooling

This presentation deals with the way in which secondary school students view the role of technology in schools of the future. Four groups of secondary students from two Australian schools produced hand-drawn concept maps of both the present and future of digital technologies for schooling, which were then followed by focus group discussions. The ways in which students considered the use of digital technologies at school in the future were analysed. The findings indicated that students often looked forward to technology that was more useful and reliable than it was currently, but they were also concerned with the loss of many of the things that they valued about their school. Technological determinism, and the myth of technological progress were evident in these findings, pointing to the lack of agency students felt in relation to the use of digital technologies in school. These results suggest there is a need to engage students in the process of planning and implementing educational technologies, particularly in relation to how they are integrated into their schooling in general.

David Mercer: Science –Anti Science, Truth, Trust and the Right to Know. The Berkeley Cell Phone Case

On July 2, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a mandate proposed by Berkeley City Council (California) requiring cell-phone retailers to provide information to consumers informing them that if a phone is carried in a pocket or a bra that it is possible that US RF safety guidelines will be exceeded. This decision is likely to have broader implications. The CTIA (The US trade group representing the cell phone industry) argues that the mandate represents ‘a war against science’ and that its members are being conscripted to “utter anti-science views” which will alarm the public. For Berkeley, assisted by eminent technology and copyright lawyer Lawrence Lessig, the mandate is about the public having a ‘right to know’ about what they are purchasing and merely reiterates information consistent with the CTIA’s ‘own science based standards’. The case provides an excellent platform to consider the different ways notions of truth, trust, science and anti-science, are deployed by actors negotiating disputed interpretations of scientific consensus and uncertainty and images of the ‘public understanding of science’ in an era where policy makers and commentators are increasingly pre-occupied with questions of ‘post-truth’ and ‘anti-science’

Ludger Benighaus: Citizens’ survey on reputation of mining and exploration in Finland, Germany and Spain

The authors will present a representative citizens’ survey on mining and mineral exploration that was carried out in each of the countries Finland, Germany and Spain, March 2018. The aim of the survey was to analyse the public attitude towards mining activities and mineral exploration. The results show that citizens in Finland, Germany and Spain have a positive attitude towards mining concerning the importance of the sector for the whole economy, the chances for employment and being independent by mining resources in the own country. People see a benefit for the local infrastructure and facilities when it comes to mining. In general terms, Indifferent among the citizens’ opinion is the trust and acceptance towards mining industry and how public authorities handle mining issues. Impact on environment caused by mining is seen as a huge issue. A stable 10 to 15% of all participants show a very critical (very negative) attitude in general towards mining and mineral exploration. The results supported designing the stakeholder engagement process in regions in Finland, Germany and Spain for 2018 and 2019.

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

avatar for Jacqueline Tinkler

Jacqueline Tinkler

Lecturer, Charles Sturt University
avatar for Ludger Benighaus

Ludger Benighaus

Researcher and project manager, Dialogik
Kia Ora,would love to talk with conference attendees about a research project I am working for: www.infactproject.eu. It is about Mineral exploration and mining with an approach of public engagement (Europe).My two presentations at the SAANZ Conference:1. Citizens’ survey on reputation... Read More →


BREAKOUT SESSION FOUR: Social Futures (Panel)
Chair: Avril Bell

Panel Presentations & Discussion

What are the responsibilities and possibilities for non-Māori to contribute to a decolonial future Aotearoa/New Zealand? In this Marsden-funded research programme we use the term ‘tāngata tiriti’ to identify all non-Māori New Zealanders and highlight our/their relationship and responsibilities to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and to Treaty partnership work. We ask how tāngata tiriti are ‘learning the trick of standing upright here’? In this project, we are interviewing tāngata tiriti working across a range of professional spheres, exploring their engagements with Maori in support of decolonial futures and the significance of Te Tiriti to them in that work. These papers report on early data from this project.

Avril Bell: The dance of proximity and distance in negotiating Treaty partnership work

Pākehā relationships with, and orientations towards, Māori have been shaped by 180 years of colonial and racist dominating logics, which over time have become sedimented into Pākehā commonsense. In this paper, I explore some of the important counters to, or ways of undoing, this commonsense, beginning with Alison Jones and Kuni Jenkins’ (2008) argument that collaborations with Māori firstly, and most importantly, require care for the relationship itself rather than a primary focus on the goals of the collaboration. They use the metaphor of the hyphen – a spatial mark that both separates and connects – to point to the delicate dance of connection and distance required in collaborative/partnership work. Here, I expand on their argument to tease out the strands of relational dynamics involved. Using interview extracts from the Tangata Tiriti project and Emmanuel Levinas’s ethical philosophy, the paper will highlight how care for the hyphen involves maintaining epistemological distance and ethical connection or proximity.

Chris Woods: Learning the Trick of Standing upright here: appreciative inquiry in action

In this paper, I explore the use of an appreciative inquiry lens as a means to identify what facilitates successful relationships. Appreciative inquiry focuses on what works well in an organization, rather than the problems, challenges and issues (Cooperrider et al. 2000; Cooperrider and Srivestva 1987). It leaves a ‘deficit-oriented approach” to instead focus on understanding organisations by asking questions that explore positive engagement. That does not mean that negative experiences are denied – rather they are used to highlight where positive experiences have occurred (Leeson et al, 2016). Through an appreciate inquiry lens this paper offers stories of relationship, partnership and identity gathered from non-Māori New Zealanders working closely and constructively with Māori in a business context to provide accounts of those learning ‘the trick of standing upright here’. Consideration of the relationships between tāngata whenua and tāngata tiriti also serves the interests of the empowered Māori communities and organisations of this post-Treaty-settlement era who have become significant political and economic actors nationwide.

Billie Lythberg: Tuia – Encounters 250: ‘Binding’ conversations?

Non-Māori living in Aotearoa New Zealand have been denoted by various terms throughout history, and their relationship with Māori has been described by multiple metaphors. The former are present in the ways we describe ourselves and formalised in official documents; the latter in academic and popular media designed to interrogate, collapse or perpetuate difference. 2019 marks the 250-year commemoration of the first onshore encounters between Māori and the British and European crew of the Endeavour, under the command of Lieutenant James Cook and the guidance of Ra‘iātean navigator Tupaia. The associated programme of events supported by Ministry of Culture and Heritage, Tuia – Encounters 250, uses the metaphor of binding (tuia) to frame “an opportunity to hold honest conversations about the past, the present, and how we navigate our shared future together.” (https://mch.govt.nz/tuia250) In this paper I present perspectives offered by self-described ‘Pākehā’, ‘tauiwi’, ‘Pasifikan’ and other non-Māori who are contributing to these conversations via the Tuia – Encounters 250 arts and culture programmes supported by MCH.

Rose Yukich: Affect, activism and Pākehā history teachers

Māori historian Aroha Harris (2019) contends that teaching our own history in secondary schools “should be an ordinary step, not a bold one” and that the skills of historical literacy “can teach us to debate without debasing either ourselves or each other”. As Pākehā history teacher Michael Harcourt (2019) argues, “History is about the future. How we think, or don’t think about the past shapes the way we imagine the future and its possibilities”. Yet our NCEA history curriculum still allows schools to sidestep our country’s colonial past as a set topic for sustained study. The emphasis instead is on teacher autonomy and choice. Those who commit to teaching senior students about New Zealand history (including the Treaty) are indeed bold, some publicly taking an activist political stance to challenge the current curriculum policy. Through the Tāngata Tiriti project, I interviewed such extra-ordinary Pākehā teachers to explore what moved them to become open to learning and teaching our nation’s past. What sorts of affective connections and attachments (Ahmed, 2015) shaped their teacher identities and desires to help students develop into critical thinkers about 19th century Māori-settler entanglement and its ongoing effects?

Thursday, December 5


Chair: Aimee B. Simpson

Ash Gillon: Body Sovereignty and the intersecting isms: Fat Indigenous Bodies

Abstract: Racism, sexism and fatism are intersecting systems of colonial oppression that restrict, re-present and re-structure access to wellness for Indigenous women. These systems can perpetuate colonial definitions of Indigenous women and determine ways that bodies are (over)/(under)surveilled, policed and assigned (un)well and (un)(re)liable. Issues that centre around power such as surveillance, deservedness, consent, and classifications of dis-eased bodies, all influence Indigenous women’s lives and can limit access to bodily opportunities and resources. Body sovereignty centres around having access to opportunities to feel safe from bodily harm and abilities to make autonomous decisions. This Kaupapa Māori research seeks to explore ways in which fat Māori women experience and enact body sovereignty (as resistance) within these colonial systems of oppression: racism; sexism; and fatism. This presentation discusses these isms and explores these re-presentations of bodies that restrict access.

Andrew Dickson: Biomasochism: On the ethics of desire in weight cycling

Of course I want to lose weight. It is Kate Moss who is credited with the infamous phrase “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, though we can be certain that Moss was not the first to contemplate such a philosophy. It is not surprising that this sentiment finds itself simultaneously a site of vitriol and a moment of purity, both associated with the eating disorder craze of late modernity. Really by craze I mean crazy, the crazy of late modernity. Because in this particularly crazy we find our society, and this is found all over the world, pursuing both an eradication of ‘obesity’ and an eradication of disordered eating, eating that in theory ‘solves’ obesity. Paradox. It is within this paradox that we can discover the accurate way to read Kate Moss’s words – it simply requires replacing the middle of the sentence ‘as good’ with ‘precisely the same’: “Nothing tastes, precisely the same, as skinny feels”. Consider this an equation: What exactly does ‘nothing’ taste like? Well, it tastes precisely the same as skinny feels. We can all imagine what skinny feels like, after all capitalism finds a million ways to sell it as a solution to our fatty-ness, it often involves consuming some kind of hyper-sugared beverage, in a bikini. But this is not what skinny (f)actually feels like, it is just a fantasy of your standard neurotic mind – skinny, in Moss’s sense, feels like consuming nothing, which just happens to be the Lacanian formula for anorexia (Lacan, 1958; di Meana, 2002; Recalcati, 2011; Mura, 2015). In this paper I shall explicate the portly link between a Lacanian understanding of primary versus secondary anorexia, desire, and the biomasochistic ‘everyday’ of your average weight loss consumer.

George Parker: Mum’s the word: Addressing the gendering of obesity panic

Recent developments in the medical science of obesity have centered on the risks and harms of fatness before, during, and after pregnancy. Fatness amongst reproductive age women has been associated with almost all pregnancy and birth complications. Further, scientific developments in epigenetics have traced the origins of fatness to “life in the womb”, and even to “life before the womb” with the fat pregnant body described as wiring offspring for future obesity and poor health (see for example Gluckman & Hansen; Heerwagen; Heslehurst; Stothard). This has placed fat pregnant people at the epicentre of contemporary anxieties about the population health problems (and costs) of the so-called “obesity epidemic” leading to unprecedented opportunities for the blame, interrogation and control of pregnant people and new mothers. This paper will explore the importance of critical health sociological perspectives for identifying and responding to the gendering of obesity panic. I will explore how sociological perspectives have helped to highlight the discursive and material effects on women’s lives and demand a much more complex and socially just view of the relationship between fatness, reproductive health, and mothering.

Cat Pause: Fattening up sociology

In the first session of the Fat Studies stream, the field of Fat Studies will be introduced. A brief history and overview of the discipline will be presented, before considering the role that social sciences, and especially sociology, have to gain and offer from this new critical framework. Ways to fatten sociology will b explored, with the aim of shifting the focus of fatness from individuals and a biomedical lens, to the role of structures in the social construction of fatness and the lived experience of fat people.

Aimee B. Simpson: Sociology for everybody? Thinking critically about the big, fat blind spot

The issue of fatness, as a disease, epidemic and public health crisis is a popular area of research and discussion for sociologists. As a social problem, ‘obesity’ is touched on in publications ranging from media analyses, social policy, social and spatial environments, food systems and poverty, as well as children and the family to name a few. As sociologists, we are trained to examine social phenomena critically, yet this cynical gaze can waver when conversations turn to the fat body. Here, we critique around the edges – challenging the causes, measurement, representation and treatment of ‘obesity’, while leaving its designation as a disease and health risk unquestioned. Drawing on existing literature, this presentation looks at the way that fatness is discussed, and obesity discourses are reproduced in social science publications. It will engage with some of the more prevalent beliefs about ‘obesity’ and in doing so consider how we as sociologists can think more critically about the way that we engage with the fat body in our work.

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

avatar for Aimee B. Simpson

Aimee B. Simpson

PhD Candidate, University of Auckland
Sociology PhD student based at the University of Auckland. Interested in sociology of medicine, the body and issues relating to health. Currently working on an analysis of obesity discourses and their effects on understandings of fatness, health and identity using a fat studies l... Read More →
avatar for Ash Gillon

Ash Gillon

PhD Candidate and Researcher, Te Wānanga o Waipapa, University of Auckland
Ko Pūtauaki te maungaKo Rangitaiki te awaKo Mataatua te wakaKo Tu Teao te maraeKo Ngā Maihi te hapūKo Ngāti Awa te iwiKo Wairaka te tipuna.Ko Ashlea Gillon tōku ingoa.I'm a Kaupapa Māori trans-disciplinary researcher and a doctoral candidate at The University of Auckland. I'm... Read More →
avatar for Cat Pause

Cat Pause

Senior Lecturer, Massey University
Cat Pausé, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer in Human Development at Massey University. She is the lead editor of Queering Fat Embodiment (2014, Ashgate), and coordinated two international conferences - Fat Studies: Reflective Intersections (2012) and Fat Studies: Identity, Agency, Embodiment... Read More →

George Parker

Doctoral Candidate, University of Auckland


Chair: Luke Oldfield

Stephanie Kelly & Tony Carton: The separation of powers… and context…..and the social: A discourse analysis of leadership, diversity and bullying in the most powerful workplace of all

In May 2019, the New Zealand Parliament released the ‘Independent External Review into Bullying and Harassment in the New Zealand Parliamentary Workplace – Final Report’. In this report, separate recommendations are made to address the roles of leadership development and diversity in the management of workplace bullying. New Zealand has one of the highest levels of workplace bullying in the OECD. Yet, this is not considered in this Review. Much of the academic literature on these issues has been dominated by the fields of psychology, human resources, law, and organisational studies. It seems the Independent External Review is no exception. This has led to a somewhat psychologised non contextualised, ahistorical focus on both the defining and understanding of the issues and trends around workplace oppression and power; with proposed solutions in keeping with this lens of analysis. Growing sociological literature recognises that workplace oppression, leadership and diversity are all processes and practices that operate beyond the limited concepts of individual leaders and followers, bullies and targets, as essentialised categories of difference; and that workplace bullying is a consequence of macro-structural issues and power, rather than simplistic interpersonal or organisational explanations. We undertake a discourse analysis to examine how leadership, diversity, and bullying are constructed in this Review and we situate this in a sociologically informed understanding of workplace oppression, leadership, and diversity. We finish with the curious question of how examination of these issues has been removed from the political and from the responsibilities of leadership in the most powerful workplace of all.

Kevin Dew: Identifying inequalities in action: Observations of the health-care system

There are powerful representations of unequal health outcomes for different people in Aotearoa New Zealand. For example, on average Māori have poorer health outcomes than non-Māori, and those living in more materially deprived areas have poorer outcomes than those in less deprived areas. Much of these inequalities in health outcomes can bes explained as a consequence of historical processes, current social policy and political decisions that exacerbate or combat social inequaltiies. However, interactions between people who provide care and cure and people who require or want care and cure also contributes to health inequalties. In this presentation I will draw on emprical data from different research projects to consider some ‘mechanisms’ of inequality that operate at the level of interaction between people in the health-care system – in hospitals and general practices. In doing so I want to consider some ways in which an ethnomethodological sensibility can connect with critical social theory.

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

avatar for Luke Oldfield

Luke Oldfield

PhD Candidate, University of Auckland


Chair: Jessica Terruhn

Lucen Liu: Chinese female immigrants’ understandings of sporting pain and injury: Through the lens of Confucianism

The sociological studies of sport-related risk, pain and injury have primarily focused on sportsmen and heavily drawn on to gender perspectives, especially, theories of masculinities. Though important, these research findings may not resonate with the wider sport participants’ experiences of risk, pain and injury. In addition, since sociological investigations into non-Western women’s experiences of these issues are relatively rare, we explore middle-aged Chinese female table tennis players’ experiences of pain and injuries in the Aotearoa/New Zealand context. Data were collected in two table tennis clubs in Auckland, via a variety of qualitative methods, including participant observation, field notes and life-story interviews. We mainly adopt a non-Western philosophy, the Confucian concept of ren, to frame our theoretical lens for interpreting these participants’ experiences of pain and injury. Our findings reveal that the interweaving influences of age and ethnic and immigrant identities shaped participants’ experiences of pain, injury and sport. This research also illustrates how broader cultural dynamics can shape risk practices within a specific sporting culture.

Abdolghayoum Nematiniya: A Sociological Study of Baloch People in Geocultural Context

Borders and boundary studies have always been one of the most important issues in geopolitics. Border control in a country has always causes internal security and also stops or greatly reduces the possible problems between the country and its neighbors. This study provides the possibility of the existence of an ethnic minority across the both sides of a border to what extent the establishment of an ethnic minority in the border region which has sequences beyond the borders has effects on controlling the borders.
Geocultural sociology has to be considered as an important conceptual approach in decoding certain aspects of some societies. Baloch society is the case here in this study. The important point about geocultural sociology is that the people were divided because of the geopolitical history of the region of Balochistan, but this is merely a political region because the Baloch just across the borders are living in the same hills, valleys and region. So there is no geocultural division as they are attempting to keep themselves culturally integrated and whatever lost they have had to suffer historically by getting divided into different nations. They may be trying to restore, repair some of loses by more vocal culturally. In the present study, the results from establishment of a single ethnic group on the both sides of a border with the special case about Baloch people from Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan will be investigated. Therefore, the current paper is an attempt to discuss the behavior of Baloch society in a geocultural context.

Richey Wyver: Secrets and Lies: Eugenics, Race and International Transracial Adoption in Sweden

International transracial adoption is central to national myths of “Swedish goodness”, and to the idea of Sweden as a post-race nation of well-meaning (white) people. For this reason, adoption remains widely celebrated and unproblematised in Sweden, despite increasing questions around adoption ethics elsewhere, and the decline of the adoption industry globally. This presentation critically explores the unique nature of Swedish transracial adoption desire, looking at how the “colour-blind” fantasies of adoption are entwined with unspoken histories of colonialism, racism and eugenics. Drawing on imagery of adoptee bodies in literature, advertising and political campaigns, I discuss how the transracial adoptee body continues to be used in nation building and constructing white Swedishness. I suggest that the adoptee body carries the hidden histories and forbidden desires of a nation, and is used in fantasies of both white supremacy and of a progressive nation of good, well-intentioned non-racists.

Trudie Cain and Nicole Ashley: Living with difference: Material constructions of communitas

Globalisation has led to ever greater human mobility and greater ethnic, religious, linguistic, social and lifestyle diversity in many cities, including Tāmaki Makaurau. There is a growing body of international and local scholarship that investigates the question of how to ‘live with difference’ in these increasingly complex layers and forms of diversity and difference. But there is surprisingly little that focuses specifically on older adults (aged 65 and older) as they negotiate new patterns of difference in their everyday worlds. This paper draws on an ethnographically-inspired research project with migrant and non-migrant older adults living in a multiply diverse neighbourhood on Auckland’s North Shore. It builds on insights from the ‘material turn’ to examine how the home mediates social interactions and the making of community, bridging relational, spatial and temporal boundaries in the process.

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


Chair: Luke Goode

Steve Matthewman and Luke Goode: City of Quakes: Excavating the Future in Christchurch

The Canterbury earthquakes created the biggest urban renewal project in this country’s history. Consequently our oldest city – Christchurch – is also now our newest. The rebuild has witnessed frequent contestations over space, classic ‘right to the city’ arguments over who gets to access it and on what terms. As Christchurch progresses from recovery to regeneration, city debates increasingly incorporate a future orientation: what forms and functions should the future city perform? Thus contestations over time are now being layered upon existing spatialized disputes. These debates are classed, gendered, regional and generational. They are also racialized. In Te Ao Māori, the past is in front of us and the future is behind us. There are profound senses in which the future has already arrived for Māori. The preeminent debates on future-making in Christchurch include guardianship of the residential red zone, how to remove the city’s ‘territorial stigma’ following the March 15 terrorist attacks, and ways to enact intergenerational justice on climate change. As Ngāi Tahu have noted, their tūpuna were red zoned when the settlers came, they are not strangers to state terror, their settlement with the Crown was the culmination of a seven-generation struggle for justice. Finally, it is worth noting the ways in which Canterbury functions as a laboratory for an urban planet facing unprecedented environmental pressures. It is ground zero for the country’s water politics and frontline for a host of environmental hazards from droughts and wildfires to sea-level rise.

Michael Godhe: From ‘Preparedness for the Future’ to ‘Futures Literacy’: Some Critical Reflections

It is timely and encouraging that many actors from a range of fields and perspectives have rediscovered and developed critical perspectives on the future, spanning from NGOs to UNESCO’s ‘Anticipation Studies” with its focus on ‘Futures Literacy’. To be futures literate is “a capability” where the “futures literate person has acquired the skills needed to decide why and how to use their imagination to introduce the non-existent future in the present” (Miller 2018).
It is, however, important to ask questions about where ‘Futures Literacy’ will take us. In this paper, I’m doing a critical reading of ‘Futures Literacy’ through the lens of Critical Future Studies but also through a comparison with an older project for future awareness: ‘Preparedness for the Future’, initiated in 1979 by the government in Sweden. The project collected viewpoints of how school could provide a better preparedness for the future, with teachers, students, experts and public intellectuals as their informants.

Neal Curtis: Relational Imaginaries and Common Futures

Given so many of the problems we face are global and can therefore only have common or collective solutions it is essential for our future security and wellbeing that we imagine anew and reactivate old conceptions that speak to the primacy of our relations with others. Aside from environmental crisis, which requires a holistic approach and speaks to the inherent connectivity and co-dependency of all planetary life, we can also point to ontological crisis and the fragility of worlds or “ways of life”; existential crisis and the threat of terror; economic crisis and material precarity; and epistemological crisis in a media age described as post-truth. In response to these crises I will propose that in the place of the individualised subject of ontology we promote a fundamental being-with; that in place of existential fear we develop a profound conviviality; that we oppose the domination of the idios (private) in economic matters with an advocacy for the demos (public); and that against the catechistic media that preach tribal liturgies we recover the joint knowledge that is the etymological root of conscience. These issues are explored through the work of Martin Heidegger, Paul Gilroy, Judith Butler and others in an attempt to reinvigorate a radical trust that reveals the network of dependencies that underwrites every one of our daily actions.

Nick Lewis and John Morgan: On living in a ‘new’ country: New Zealand’s future imaginaries

Some nations are old. Paradoxically, cultural richness has in many given way to crumbling cultural formations and the contradictory social practices and imaginaries that cut across them. As Patrick Wright observes of England, trapped by its past it lacks the creative resources and political nuance to imagine and deliver progressive social futures. Other places, like New Zealand, feel young and full of possibilities. In this paper, we return to Raymond Williams’ elusive notion of a ‘structure of feeling’ to explore why this is so. As geographers and educators who would profess to be political economists increasingly shaped by the ‘cultural turns’ in our disciplines, we try to sort through the ‘raw material’ of political economy, popular texts and imagery in New Zealand and Britain to search for some ‘better stories’ (Grossberg, 2018) about probable, possible and preferable futures.

Julie MacArthur: Resituating of the Study of Environmental Politics and Policy in Aotearoa New Zealand

Environmental challenges sit at the heart of a series of intersecting crises facing citizens of countries around the world. The causes of these changes are systemic and complex, rooted in worldviews and practices that treat nature and much of humanity as objects to be exploited. New Zealand’s environmental politics and policy setting is both unique understudied, revealing significant gaps, particularly in texts used for undergraduate students. A Treaty-centred perspective is rarely placed centrally in environmental policy-making and decision-making in practice, despite the fact that language about Māori knowledge, interests and rights appears regularly in policy statements. Even less recognized is the need to understand how gendered structures of power shape how we think about environmental challenges and the actions we might take to address them. This chapter presents an introductory overview of a forthcoming edited collection on Environmental Politics and Policy in Aotearoa. We take a systemic view of environmental politics and governance, addressing the philosophical and ideational debates about who and what matters (both human and non-human), the political institutions that embed and enact these ideas, as well as how these both manifest in particular industrial (energy, mining) or biophysical (water, biodiversity) arenas.

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


Chair: Marko Galic 

Stella Pennell: Airbnb hosts: Time /space intensification and surplus meaning under conditions of platform capitalism

Time and space are social constructs that are experienced as intensified objective facts under conditions of digital platform capitalism where boundaries of digital and ‘real’ life are blurred. Digital technologies enable circulation without circulation time – a necessary tendency of capital according to Marx. For Airbnb hosts, engagement with Airbnb results in synchronic, rather than diachronic time, in which ‘now’ events detach the host from a sense of developing history, thus ensuring continued attachment to the platform. Drawing on interviews conducted with 28 Airbnb hosts in four regional tourists in Aotearoa New Zealand, this research demonstrates that Airbnb hosts experience dual intensification of time and space as a series of pressing ‘now’ moments which has both psychical and embodied impacts. These impacts combine to produce surplus meaning. Homes consist of materialities and immaterialities that influence the lived experience of space. Airbnb hosts experience home through a material, spatial sense as a resource able to be mined for monetary gain. Home is also as a site of immateriality which is imbued with affective meaning. Both the physicality and the affective meanings of home change under conditions of platform capitalism in unanticipated ways.

Kyle Matthews: Social Movements and the (Mis)-use of Data: Extinction Rebellion and the 3.5% Rule

The climate change movement Extinction Rebellion argues, from research on civil disobedience, for the ‘3.5% rule’. As presented it is simple maths: if you can mobilise 3.5% of the population in pursuit of a goal then you will always be successful. This has led Extinction Rebellion to focus on mass mobilisation of the population and disruption of capital cities instead of alternative strategies for change. However the data from which the 3.5% rule is drawn relates to the overthrow of autocratic regimes and resisting foreign invasions. While this research is significant, it is unclear whether it applies to Western liberal democratic climate change movements. This raises the question of whether a strategy of mass mobilization and nonviolent disruption is the most successful approach to changing the approach of liberal democracies to the climate crisis. My research not only challenges how research is used by Extinction Rebellion, but also asks how social movements use, transfer, understand, and misuse, research in their work, and what the implications are for academic-activist relationships.

Anthonia Uzoigwe: Food poverty on campus: Understanding the determinants of food insecurity in Aotearoa New Zealand

Hunger is a significant problem in the world, afflicting 821 million people, which represents 8% of the world’s population. The prevalence of food insecurity predisposes millions of people to precarious health conditions, such as malnourishment, child stunting and adult obesity. Food insecurity issues in New Zealand are well documented, and mostly focus on infants and young people. However, less has been documented about tertiary students’ experiences. Current data on food insecurity indicate a significant higher rate among students than the general population in developed countries. In New Zealand, existing research is devoid of literature that focuses exclusively on food insecurity in university campuses- tertiary students are perhaps enduring years of undocumented food insecurity. Given its potential impact, the empirical understanding of this issue is still far too limited, thus a vital focus of research. Drawing on both quantitative and qualitative enquiry-using survey, focus group discussion and interview-, this research will investigate the prevalence of campus food insecurity; document campus students’ experience of food insecurity and coping strategies; while also using documentary sources to analyse the determinants of food insecurity in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Maral Salmanpour: Fashion, the Ultimate Illusion: Buying In to the Ideology of Ethical Brands

This research examines how the idea of ‘ethical’ fashion perpetuates an exploitative system. This research examines the way ethical fashion brands use the skills and time of garment workers, and relabels commodities to expand and create further investment opportunities to generate profit. This practice is based on capitalist mechanisms that are unethical in the way they exploit workers. It argues that the fashion industry finds new ways to continue its domination and control of artisans and garment workers by commodifying the culture and crafts of marginalised communities. This commodification and appropriation is framed as an honourable practice but, in reality, it alienates indigenous cultures. Propaganda is spread by advertising collaborations with celebrities to enforce a hegemonic ideology through a philanthropic mask to elevate fair trade fashion in consumer society. Fashion uses crisis to generate panic, anxiety and feelings of guilt in consumers to manipulate consumer behaviour and stimulate the fetishisation of ethically labelled garments. Consumers are sold on the promise that poverty, exploitation and social and ecological problems will be positively changed through their consumption habits. This sedates the critical questioning of the fashion industry and offers consumers a convenient solution that enables them to continue to feed their consumerist desires, while reducing their feelings of guilt associated with ecological and social harms.

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


Anthonia Uzoigwe

Doctoral candidate, University of Auckland
avatar for Kyle Matthews

Kyle Matthews

PhD candidate, University of Otago
My PhD is on 'Youth Activism in Aotearoa New Zealand: radicalism and the political constraints of neoliberalism'. Doing ethnographic work with young activists on how they conceptualise the strategies and tactics of social change and how 'radicalism' does or doesn't inform their w... Read More →

Maral Salmanpour

PhD Student, University of Auckland
avatar for Stella Pennell

Stella Pennell

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


BREAKOUT SESSION SIX: Gender & Sexuality
Chair: Ciara Cremin 

Helen Gremillion & Catherine Powell: Evaluating Efforts to Promote Diverse Sexuality and Gender Inclusivity at a Tertiary Institution

This presentation reports on findings from a mixed-method, utilisation-focused evaluation of an education workshop on diverse sexuality and gender (DSG) inclusivity offered at Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland, New Zealand. Workshop completion enables participants to make a public commitment to DSG inclusivity by joining Unitec’s ALLY Network. A questionnaire was designed to ascertain whether workshop participation achieves the following outcomes: increased awareness of systemic discrimination, and greater confidence to act in ways that promote DSG inclusion. The study also draws on findings from semi-structured interviews with current ALLY members. Data analysis included testing the statistical significance of differences between participants’ responses to pre-workshop questions and their responses to identical questions posed post workshop (these questions were answered using Likert scales). Narrative data were analysed thematically. Findings indicate that the ALLY workshop is effective in achieving its goals. Emergent themes highlight areas of significant learning and growth for workshop participants as well as particularly valuable workshop practices and conditions. This study addresses a gap in the literature on evaluations of DSG diversity education, and provides evidence supporting the continuation – and the informed, potential expansion – of a unique initiative within a New Zealand tertiary provider.

Craig Prichard: Putting ‘Dora’ in the business school; an outline of hysterical business education and research

Freud’s ‘Dora’ was, to put it colloquially, a real pain! In the famous case history of the anxious, seemingly suicidal, 18-year-old, ‘Dora’ undermines the wishes of her father, rebuffs the sexual advances of her father’s friend, and breaks off relations with her analyst, Freud, when it suits her. She refuses to play the sexualized, patriarchal game and leads all three men into intense feelings of helplessness. The hysterical subject that emerges is not ill. Rather, the hysteric is a function of the sexualized patriarchal relations, identities and knowledge of the time. In Seminar XVII (1970) Lacan systematizes the hysteric as one of two discourses of resistance that confront the discourses of the university and the master. Some would claim that much of current social science is driven by a hysterical subject whom continuously challenges contemporary sexualized patriarchal traditions, methods and assumptions. But the contrary can be easily demonstrated. Far from being the home of hysterical social science, contemporary universities, and particularly the university’s business schools, are home to the dull alienated servants of debt-based finance capitalism that backs the 1 percent and underwrites, what seems to be, inevitable environmental ruin. By way of a counterpoint, I present in this paper a form of hysterical business education, research and service work that not only, like ‘Dora’, generates intense (but productive!) feelings of helplessness among traditional managers and business school academics, but supports contending forms of engagement with contemporary economic and political relations and processes.

Alice Beban and Trudie Cain: Reflections on staff-student pedagogy

Designing and teaching courses through a partnership approach “remains countercultural in most institutions of higher education”, but it is a form of action that can affirm and empower those involved, foster a sense of belonging, support staff in generative reflection, and “contribute to the evolution of an institution into a place where members of the community feel a meaningful connection” (Cook-Sather, forthcoming; see also Jafar, 2016). This paper reflects on the presenters’ experiences co-designing an undergraduate course on gender with a group of staff, students and community members at Massey University. We consider the extent to which our practice of ‘staff-student pedagogy’ reflected feminist ideals of collaboration, partnership and reflexivity, and produced a course that better accounts for how people experience gender in their everyday worlds. But we also consider the challenges of partnering with a gender-diverse group of contributors in ways that creates space for all voices, fosters new knowledge, and produces coherence across the course.

Steve Scott: The Diary of an Hysteric: business education, the Self & other oxymorons

All writing is fiction. Organisations are also a fiction. I’m a fiction. Everything is just a collection of stories. My PhD is a fictional journal. It is also a work of narrative therapy. I am trying to work out why I want to drive a bulldozer through the business school. I am also trying to work out why I don’t fit within organisations – even though, on paper, I am their guy: the quintessential educated, white, middle-class male. I am, of course, Lacan’s hysteric. This puts me in an interesting position. I am in an overtly masculine department – Management. I am a heterosexual male. Yet, I feel compelled to write from the predominantly feminine position of the hysteric. By rejecting the dry, pseudo-scientific writing that has become the mainstay of business education and, instead, adopting hysterical, fictional prose, I believe, greater insights about business education, and the Self, can be achieved. This paper will not simply discuss this, it will demonstrate it through embodying this philosophy.

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

avatar for Craig Prichard

Craig Prichard

A/P, Massey U
Sheep milk, seaweed, oceans, performative research
avatar for Helen Gremillion

Helen Gremillion

Associate Professor, Unitec Institute of Technology
Helen Gremillion is an Associate Professor of Social Practice at Unitec Institute of Technology, in Auckland. She is also Research Professional Development Liaison in Unitec's Research and Enterprise Office. Her research and teaching interests include feminist theories and gender... Read More →
avatar for Steve Scott

Steve Scott

My PhD - in progress.My thesis is presented as a fictional exploration of the Self and business education via narrative therapy & hysterical inquiry. Within this text, I meet and converse with a number of individuals. These minor characters should be read for what they are: twisted... Read More →


Session Chair: Luke Oldfield

Piper Rodd: The end of the social contract: Public perceptions of post-school options in two disadvantaged communities

Australia’s enthusiastic embrace of neoliberalism, privileging profit-making to the exclusion of all else, has significantly eroded the social contract and radically diminished equality of opportunity and wealth distribution in society. The changed nature of work, characterised increasingly by precariousness and the imperative of business to place demands on the individual to be agile, adapting to the whims of capital, requires that young people remain circumspect and ever vigilant about their skills and education. The notion that a collective society might be responsible for young people has shifted to one that dictates narrow individual responsibility in all things. Individuals service the economy, rather than society ensuring that all of its members are provided for on the basis of their need. This paper discusses select aspects of recent research undertaken in two communities popularly characterised by their human diversity and class disadvantage, examining community members’ perceptions of post-school pathways for higher education, training and work. This research contributes to the growing body of literature that documents the especial precarity of young people in an insecure world of work, for it is young workers who ‘experience labour market insecurity most directly and forcefully’ (Carney & Stanford, 2018, p. 1), arguing that the social contract has disappeared, unknown to a generation for whom society has vanished.

Lara Greaves: How Low Can We Go? Declining Survey Response Rates over Time

Survey research relies on having a reasonable response rate, but survey response rates appear to be decreasing over time. This paper explores response rate data from several national probability sample surveys, drawn from the electoral roll, that have taken place over the past 30 years, including the New Zealand Election Study, the International Social Survey Programme, the New Zealand edition of the World Values Study, and the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study. The aim of the work is to document the scale of the response rate decline problem. We find that response rates in the early 1990s were as high as 73%, before dropping to around 60% at the turn of the century. The downward trend intensified with time, as response rates effectively halved from their early 90s rates by 2015 (the 30% range). We compare the results to internal equivalent studies, the general decline in New Zealand voter enrolment, voter turnout, and national census response rates. The paper demonstrates that there has been a consistent downward trend and leaves us with the question of how long this will be able to continue until we turn to alternative methods.

Ludger Benighaus: Public participation at an early stage in Finland, Germany and Spain

The authors will present the project INFACT on innovative exploration technologies that started in 2017, and will focus on the integrated part of stakeholder process which has taken place Europe-wide and at three reference sites in South of Spain, East of Germany and in North of Finland. The process of stakeholder involvement aimed at informing and engaging with public about the research on mineral exploration and the data acquisition campaign with helicopter and ground geophysics. Results show that this intense information and feedback process led to high acceptance and positive attitude in the reference regions, and a huge interest among the population for upcoming research activities. In 2019, as part of another data acquisition campaign with drones and ground geophysics, the researchers will conduct a new dialogue with the stakeholders and interact with locals. The authors will show “lessons learned” when engaging with society and discuss how important information, active involvement and an intensive feedback is at an early stage of mineral exploration and mining. This presentation will contribute to the academic debate in sociology concerning the topics of public perception, public acceptance and their factors, as well as public participation in the area of resources.

Duncan Law & Nicole Pepperell: Lesser Leviathans: Elinor Ostrom and the limits of communitarianism

Elinor Ostrom’s work has established an influential research programme in the study of local, polycentric, self-organising commons governance communities. This research programme has both an analytic and a normative dimension - for some scholars, the appeal of Ostrom’s approach lies in the emancipatory political possibilities suggested by communitarian ‘Ostromian’ institutions. In this paper we argue that Ostrom’s work offers crucial insights and resources in this area - but that Ostrom’s analytic framework also has two significant shortcomings. First, Ostrom’s game-theoretic toolkit is unable easily to accommodate institutions that do not exhibit consensus about their structuring rules. Second, Ostrom’s framework is for this reason poorly suited to the normative study of discord and oppression within commons governance institutions. We argue that the Ostromian research programme would benefit from more systematic study of conflict and coercion within the commons, and we offer a note of caution about concluding too quickly that emancipatory outcomes are the most likely result of enacting Ostromian institutions.

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

avatar for Ludger Benighaus

Ludger Benighaus

Researcher and project manager, Dialogik
Kia Ora,would love to talk with conference attendees about a research project I am working for: www.infactproject.eu. It is about Mineral exploration and mining with an approach of public engagement (Europe).My two presentations at the SAANZ Conference:1. Citizens’ survey on reputation... Read More →
avatar for Luke Oldfield

Luke Oldfield

PhD Candidate, University of Auckland

Piper Rodd

Lecturer, Deakin University


Chair: Steve Matthewman

Tan Bee tin: Acting for the future: Promoting creativity through pedagogic tasks

Future studies ‘must become acting for the future’ (Masini, 2006, p. 1166). As Alan Kay (1971) notes, ‘the best way to predict the future is to invent it.’ The goal of education programmes is to develop in our learners key attributes of future-oriented individuals. Creativity is a vital capacity which will help us ‘go beyond the crisis of the future’, ‘cope with postnormal times’ and uncertain futures (Montuori, 2011). ‘The complex questions of the future will not be solved ‘by the book’, but by creative, forward-looking individuals and groups’ (Dawson, 2011, p.6). Creativity (the ability to produce new, valuable ideas) is important for solving ill-defined problems with unknown solutions. Despite the burgeoning interest in the value of creativity, we have a poor understanding concerning the implementation of creativity in pedagogical practice. Creativity is often misunderstood to be associated with the arts, freedom and choices. This talk explores how creativity can be developed through pedagogic tasks with particular reference to language learning contexts. In addition to developing language proficiency, language learning tasks develop additional learning outcomes such as social values, attitudes and cognitive abilities. The issues discussed are of relevance for other pedagogic programmes, helping learners to act for the future.

Carisa Showden: Activism, Social Media, and Neoliberalism: What’s shifted, and what hasn’t?

This presentation offers a preliminary analysis of interview and participant observation data from an on-going study Putting Hope into Action: What Inspires and Sustains Young People’s Engagement in Social Movements. Our team of researchers is working with six activist groups led by or comprised entirely of New Zealand activists aged (roughly) 18-29. I will explore how the social and political opportunities of our current moment facilitate collective action by young activists engaged in climate change, anti-sexual assault, and indigenous rights activism. More specifically, I look at how the internet—particularly social media—assists or hinders offline activism. This discussion is situated in the social movement studies literature concerning slacktivism (or clicktivism) and worries it dilutes or inhibits embodied, offline protests. Our initial observations reveal that these concerns are overblown. What we see instead is a shift in what it means to call oneself an activist, leading me to question if this change arises because of the combined effects of social media and neoliberal rhetoric. In this presentation, I will explore this intersection and its implications for activism aimed at a more just and hope-filled future, asking whether and how online organising and community-building opportunities have fundamentally shifted how activism happens.

Jay Marlowe: Transnational settlement futures: Forced migration and social media

The rapid proliferation and availability of information communication technologies – particularly the smart phone and social media – herald new ways that refugees can remain connected across distance. With more than 70 million people forcibly displaced globally, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees acknowledges the potential of these tools to ‘digitally reunite’ proximate and distant networks. Whilst there is dislocation, there is also the possibility of connection. Numerous sites of displacement now have access to 2G and 3G digital coverage. These opportunities for communication effectively create a bridge, at times a lifeline, between ‘here’ and ‘there’. Applications such as Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp and SnapChat can reunite families and friends and support various flows that are social, cultural, political and financial. Such connections have the potential to transform settlement futures as people maintain significant and ongoing relationships with their transnational networks. I present a sequential mixed method design comprising a one year digital ethnography with 15 people from refugee backgrounds and a subsequent national survey about how refugees use social media in New Zealand. Drawing on Vertovec’s work on the social organisation of difference, I articulate what transnational interaction represents for refugee settlement futures within an increasingly, but unevenly, mobile world.

Suzanne Woodward: Digisexuality, Erotobotics and the Future of Intimacy

Cybersexual developments are challenging many of our social concepts – intimacy, fidelity, monogamy, sexuality, consent, virginity – and none more so than sex robots. While we might be tempted to see robots as ‘relational artifacts’ (Turkle, 2006) rather than true partners, the tendency to project human emotions and needs onto them, and the growing number of people in digisexual relationships, is raising significant and complex questions about robots’ roles, rights and responsibilities in society. If tabloid coverage of sexbot developments is to be believed, traditional social institutions such as marriage, family, and parenthood are already at risk. Is it possible to have a genuine dyadic relationship between a human and a robot, or is a relationship with a sex robot a form of auto-eroticism? The concept of intimacy is complicated, and encompasses a range of relationships, from romantic partnership to community, but generally depends on mutual responsiveness, subjectivity, and emotional reciprocity. What conditions would need to be met for a robot to consent and engage in an intimate relationship? In what ways are sex robots challenging social institutions, or are they being designed to conform?

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


Carisa Showden

Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland
avatar for Jay Marlowe

Jay Marlowe

Associate Professor, University of Auckland
avatar for Suzanne Woodward

Suzanne Woodward

PTF, University of Auckland


Chair: Bruce Cohen

Bruce Curtis: Initial results from an attitudinal study of academic staff in the humanities and social sciences

The presentation will provide some initial findings from an online study of academic staff in the humanities and social sciences of New Zealand universities. The humanities and social sciences are defined primarily as covered by the PBRF panels: Social Sciences, Humanities and Law, Education, and Maori and Pacific. The study is an attempt at a census and all 1771 staff identified as belonging to the humanities and social sciences were invited to take part. Email addresses were drawn from the calendars of New Zealand Universities. Decisions around the inclusion / exclusion of staff relating to some university units (e.g Commercial Law, and Environment were decided after looking at individual staff pages. The study seeks to reproduce a mail-based approach in 2004 (Curtis and Matthewman, 2005).

Edgar A Burns and Adam Rajčan: Redefining Sociology Doctoral Writing: Producing Articles and Chapters During PhD

We suggest re-conceptualising of sociology doctoral research culture and knowledge production practices. We use as our starting point work done on writing for publication during sociology PhD study in New Zealand and now Australia. We go from this empirical material to think about different experiences and levels of research output activity by PhD students. Writing outputs from published research outputs achieved during the period of students’ doctoral enrolment is interrogated here beyond simply publications counted. What innovative possibilities in social science disciplines, such as thesis by publication and industry PhDs could add to existing practices. A simple typology recognises students variation in writing productivity. What does this means for the writing experiences and expectations of individual students; of students in different departmental cultures; and what different roles colleagues and supervisors play in this process?

Kellie Bousfield and Jacquie Tinkler: “Can you not afford a proper math’s teacher?”: Institutionalised Individualisation, Standardised Testing, and the Decline of Teacher Status

Teacher status is measured by social standing, career desirability, remuneration, trust, and autonomy. The status of teaching impacts teacher recruitment, retention, job satisfaction, performance, and importantly, student outcomes. Internationally, there has been ongoing concern about low teacher status. Extant research in Australia, however, has focused on remuneration, a lack of professional autonomy, and an increasingly standardised curricula as key contributing factors. This research, however, considers the negative impact of standardised testing on teacher status. Nation-wide standardised testing was introduced in Australia as a direct effort to improve educational outcomes. Improvements would come, government argued, by making teachers accountable, to parents, through publicised results. Ten years since its introduction, however, results have not improved, and teachers have been left feeling both undermined and undervalued by these examinations. Utilising Beck’s theory of institutionalised individualisation, and findings from qualitative interviews with parents of students undertaking standardised testing, this research demonstrates how a government policy of standardised testing, and subsequent student performance data generated for parental consumption, undermines teacher status. Specifically, standardised testing, as a policy designed to promote individual choices and private solutions for children’s schooling through parental initiative, sees teachers framed not as competent professionals but as an educational risk parents must guard against.

Bonnie-Estelle Trotter-Simons: Music as critical theory: Exploring intersectional ontoepistemologies

I am interested in exploring what it means to study music in order to conceptualize radical vulnerability and performative ontologies (Nagar, 2018; Jones & McRae, 2011). Further, I illustrate considerations for how this might be done methodologically from an intersectional feminist standpoint. Speaking about sociology of music and feminist literature on embodied theory and reciprocal praxis, I will present on the ways I am conceptualizing musical performance and understanding the role of knowing in being as it relates to performance. I briefly discuss some examples to illustrate my discussion, Angela Davis' analysis of the performances of Billie Holliday and Aghoro's conceptualisation of agentic Afrofuturist ontologies in the music of Erykah Badu and Janelle Monae. I will comment on broad enquiries about what a critical intersectional feminist study of music may offer to theorising radical ways of being with and within the world.

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.
avatar for Kellie Bousfield

Kellie Bousfield

Associate Head of School/Lecturer, Charles Sturt University
I work primarily in the sociology of education. My research interests include education policy, equity, education for democracy, and standardised testing.

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: 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.

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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 →
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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 →