Skip to Content

ISR 2010 Seminar Series


Seminars from previous years are archived here.

Podcasts of the series are available at ItunesU

Date:
Wednesday, 31 March
Venue:
EN 201
Time:
12.45-2.00 pm
Description:

Dr Jennifer Curtin (University of Auckland)- “An Ideal Woman”? Comparing the careers of Helen Clark and Julia Gillard
In the past, discussion of women and executive leadership necessarily involved some mention of Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi or Golda Meir (all of whom were prime ministers).  More recently, the rise in the number of women presidents around the globe (and presidential candidates such as Ségolène Royal and Hilary Clinton) has sparked a renewed scholarly interest in the descriptive representation of women at the highest level of politics.  While wide-ranging comparative approaches provide us with some broad understandings of what factors matter to women’s rise to power, few studies include New Zealand and Australia in their analysis.  This paper examines the careers of two contemporary women leaders from our part of the world:  Helen Clark, (Labour) Prime Minister of New Zealand for nine years (1999-2008) and Julia Gillard, current Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.  I review the various institutional, political and cultural “hurdles” these woman political leaders have negotiated over the course of their careers and analyse the extent to which their profiles and preferences fit with existing scholarly interpretations of women’s political aspirations and achievements.

Date:
Wednesday, 7 April
Venue:
EN 201
Time:
12.45-2.00 pm
Description:

Dr. Liam Weeks (Department of Government, University College Cork Ireland) - The Celtic Tiger’s dead and gone; It’s with the banks in the grave
The Irish economy experienced the fastest rates of economic growth in the European Union for over ten consecutive years from the mid-1990s until the late 2000s. Where the Irish GDP per capita on entry to the EEC in 1973 was 62 per cent of the Community average, it had risen to 126 per cent by 2002, outstripping most other EU members, including the United Kingdom. From being Europe’s economic failure in the 1980s, in 1997 the Economist hailed Ireland as ‘Europe’s shining light’. The country had full employment and high wages, which combined with an eager-to-loan banking sector created an economy flush with cash. Anxious to showcase this new-found wealth, the Celtic Tiger cubs spent it on investment properties (at home and abroad), new cars, several exotic holidays a year and whatever else they could lay their hands on. The Irish economy was praised the world over as many other countries sought to replicate this model. However, within the space of less than two years, all the gains of the Celtic Tiger seem to have disappeared. The property bubble has well and truly burst, unemployment has soared and the government had to rescue a failing banking sector. A joke about the difference between Ireland and Iceland being one letter and six months was close to achieving cliché status.

In this presentation I shall details some of the reasons for the rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger. Coming from a political science background, I will also look at the consequences this had on the political system. For example, the rise resulted in Fianna Fáil being re-elected to office on three successive occasions. The fall led to the party’s decline, but it remains in office just yet. In a desperate bid to find a scapegoat, some have even sought to blame the electoral system (proportional representation by the single transferable vote (PR-STV)) for the country’s ills –the parliamentary committee on the constitution is currently investigating whether PR-STV is ‘fit for purpose’. However, I will conclude that the political system has – to date, admittedly – remained remarkably intact. Just as the established parties survived the corruption scandals emanating from tribunals of enquiry in the 1990s, so too they appear to be riding out the economic crash.

Date:
Wednesday, 21 April
Venue:
EN 201
Time:
12.45-2.00 pm
Description:

Dr Ian McShane (Institute for Social Research) - Memory and the City: Managing Public Commemoration in Australian Cities
Monuments, memorials and plaques contribute significantly to the historical legibility and emotion of public space. There is a large critical literature on public commemoration as a social and cultural practice, but little attention is paid to it as a problem of public management. Australian capital city governments deal with many proposals to use public space within their jurisdictions for commemorative installations. However, the development of policy frameworks to manage public commemoration is a relatively recent initiative. In this seminar I discuss the social and political dynamics of public commemoration in major Australian cities, and examine some recent policy responses. I discuss three issues that shape these responses:
- the democratization and contestation of collective memory in urban public space,
- concern over the erosion of landscape and heritage values through ad hoc decision-making, and
- greater attention to physical asset management by local governments

Date:
Wednesday, 5 May
Venue:
EN 201
Time:
12.45-2.00 pm
Description:

Prof Gerard Goggin (University of New South Wales)- ‘The Curious Case of the iPhone and Disability; or, Whatever Happened to User-Driven Innovation?’
Launched in mid-2007, Apple’s iPhone has been acclaimed as a phenomenal success — with many arguing that it has fundamentally changed the nature of mobile media, not to mention the future of the Internet. A battle has raged about the iPhone’s lock-down of intellectual property, or the extent to which it is a ‘tethered’ device (Jonathan Zittrain) ‘killing’ the Internet. Yet little attention has been paid to a vitally important issue: disability, accessibilty and the iPhone.

While receiving a rapturous reception for its configurable interface, use of ‘touch’, and ‘apps’, the iPhone proved inaccessible for many users with disabilities — notably Blind users, and those with a range of impairments (not least those with mobility impairments, who prefer voice-activated commands). It was not until roughly two years after launch, in mid-2009, that Apple then released software that restored some functionality that had previously become standard in mobile phones.
For many users, iPhone’s poor accessibility, and the corporation’s disregard for — and lack of real commitment to — its strong, even fanatical base of disabled Apple users was very puzzling indeed. After all, the potentially crippling nature of the iPhone for a substantial base of its customers was not only a failure of imagination, and potential breach of disability discrimination legislation (as well as flying in the face of evolved industry norms); Apple had a well-deserved reputation for taking disability seriously when it came to computers, with accessibility features built into its operating systems for many years.

This paper takes up this curious tale of the iPhone and disability. Why did Apple decide to ignore its own tradition of engaging with users with disabilities and enacting inclusive design? How does the inaccessible iPhone relate to the disabling design of the iPod and iTunes? Where does the iPhone stand now, after Apple eventually offered more accessible software? And, given the iPhone is squarely placed at the crossroads of mobile and Internet futures — respectively rewriting the trajectories for mobile (smartphone) design, and mobile Internet ecologies (apps) — where does disability, and user innovation, generally sit in this massive media economy? Finally, with the growing corporate and user interest in e-readers — from the iPhone and iPad through Kindle to a myriad of other mobile, wireless and handheld devices — why is disability crucial to this cultural politics of writing and reading?

Gerard Goggin is Professor of Digital Communication and deputy-director of the Journalism and Media Research Centre, University of New South Wales. His books include Global Mobile Media (2010), Internationalizing the Internet (2009), Cell Phone Culture (2006), and, with the late Christopher Newell, Disability in Australia (2005) and Digital Disability (2003).

Date:
Wednesday, 26 May
Venue:
EN 201
Time:
12.45-2.00 pm
Description:

Dr Michael Leach (Institute for Social Research) - Understanding Attitudes to National Identity among Tertiary Students in Melanesia and Timor-Leste

Nation-building remains a key challenge across south-west Pacific societies, including Solomon Islands, PNG, Vanuatu, and the more recently independent state of Timor-Leste. Following decolonisation in the 1970s, it was clear that welding the multiple languages and diverse cultures of the region into unified nations would be a challenge. Recent international 'state-building' efforts in the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste have also faced difficulties, as evidenced by resurgent inter-communal violence in both states in 2006. It is important therefore that the processes of nation-building -  of forming a cohesive political community, to support the development of a functional state - are better understood. This paper presents some preliminary findings of an AusAID-funded survey of attitudes to national identity and nation-building among tertiary students in PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Timor-Leste. The findings cast new light on the attitudes of potential future elites towards regional, ethnic, intergenerational and linguistic faultlines in the region, and the challenges of building a cohesive sense of political community and national identity.

Date:
Wednesday, 2 June
Venue:
EN 201
Time:
12.45-2.00 pm
Description:

Dr Meg Simons (Institute for Social Research) - ‘Enduring Liberal? Malcolm Fraser and Memoirs’
The book co-authored by Dr Margaret Simons and former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser was released in March this year. In this seminar, Simons will examine the question of whether Fraser has changed since his retirement from politics, of whether he has, as he would claim, held classic liberal values throughout his career.

Date:
Wednesday, 30 June
Venue:
EN 204
Time:
12.45-2.00 pm
Description:

Professor Barry Carr (Institute for Social Research) - "Los Tres Caballeros": Walt Disney, Nelson Rockefeller and U.S.-Latin American Relations During World War II
World War II marked a turning point in Mexico-United States relations. With US entry into the war in late 1941, Mexico assumed a new strategic importance as supplier of labor and of raw materials. For Mexico, joining the western allies provided a breathing space after  half a decade of political and economic conflict following  the events of the Mexican Revolution and Mexico’s nationalization of British and US petroleum interests in 1938.

‘Soft diplomacy’ was also a key to the reshaping of US-Mexican relations during WWII, and cultural and media politics was part of the US strategy pursued by Nelson Rockefeller’s Office of Inter-American Affairs (OIAA).  Growing US government interest in promoting positive images of Mexico for the US public, and closer links between US cinema interests and the Mexican movie industry, coincided with an economic crisis for Disney in Hollywood.  Washington’s sponsorship and financing of animation features (Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros) was therefore a welcome respite for Disney.  This talk reconstructs the background to the production of The Three Caballeros and examines Mexican responses to the project, concluding with a discussion of the usefulness (or otherwise) of constructs like ‘cultural imperialism’ in analyses of US-Latin American cultural relations.

Date:
Wednesday, 14 July
Venue:
EN 201
Time:
12.45-2.00 pm
Description:

Dr Ramon Lobato (Institute for Social Research) - Geographies of informal media
How are global media circuits spatially organised? How are the spatial imaginaries of audiences shaped by differential contact with distribution networks? This paper argues that effective answers to these questions require us to place informal media economies at the centre rather than the margins of our analytical frame. Taking seriously the extra-legal and pirate infrastructures which are off the map of state regulation and oversight, yet which distribute content to billions of people worldwide on a daily basis, generates a new framework for media geography and an alternative way of theorising global media.

Date:
Wednesday, 28 July
Venue:
EN 201
Time:
12.45-2.00 pm
Description:

Associate Professor Karen Farquharson ((Institute for Social Research), Professor Tim Marjoribanks (Uni. Melb) and Dr David Nolan (Uni. Melb)  - Media Discourses of Sudanese-Australians
Since 2000, Sudanese and Sudanese-Australians have been regularly represented in the Australian news media; this seminar critically examines these media representations. We conducted a content analysis of articles published in The Australian, The Age, and the Herald Sun. Two hundred and seven articles were collected from September 1, 2007 through April 30, 2008, the eight months surrounding the 2007 Australian federal election. The analysis of the articles uncovered four themes: difficulties in Sudan, violence, human interest/new beginnings, and nationhood.  We argue that these media representations situate Sudanese-Australians as problematic others who are unable to integrate into Australian society.

Date:
Wednesday, 11 August
Venue:
EN 201
Time:
12.45-2.00 pm
Description:
Time: 12.45-2.00

Dr Leonie Pearson (Swinburne University) - Farming our cities: sustainability and opportunities for urban agriculture
The seminar will present research on urban agriculture which relates to the three dimensions of sustainability: social, economic and environmental. We propose that urban agriculture has three elements: urban agriculture in isolation; its interface with the people and environment within which it is situated; and its contribution to the design of built form. The analysis draws attention to legal, social and economic constraints and opportunities. It suggests that future priorities for research should be directed towards (i) strategically identifying principles of sustainable urban agriculture that help policy makers to design resilient cities, e.g. using flood-prone areas for food and employment, and (ii) operationally trialling innovative institutional mechanisms, e.g. differential land taxes to support sustainable urban agriculture or payments for environmental services provided by urban agriculture such as carbon sequestration.

This research is published as Pearson, L., Pearson, L., Pearson, C. (2010) Sustainable urban agriculture: stocktake and opportunities, The International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 8(1&2):7-19

Date:
Wednesday, 25 August
Venue:
EN 201
Time:
12.45-2.00 pm
Description:

Dr Lyndall Thompson (Institute for Social Research) - Social Network Analysis and innovation within a CSIRO case study: Examining the strength of weak ties
Theories of knowledge diffusion have frequently been applied to technological innovation. Whether diffusion theory is appropriate in this context is questioned and it is suggested that science commercialisation is a complex area for which linear diffusion approaches are neither appropriate nor effective for examining knowledge exchange between research and industry network participants. Social network analysis (SNA) is adopted and qualitative analysis employed to show how SNA might be useful to understanding successful innovation pathways. A case study from an Australian public research organisation (PRO), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), is examined to show how a network analysis of participants can highlight the entire innovation trajectory taken by a biomedical product developed by CSIRO. The role of ‘weak ties’ as recruiters and key players in moving this product to commercialisation is highlighted.

Lyndal Thompson is a postdoctoral research fellow at both Swinburne University of Technology and the Australian National University. She is investigating the role of social network analysis for understanding knowledge exchange in technological innovation through a partnership between SUT and CSIRO under the Future Manufacturing Flagship. Her role at ANU involves applying social network analysis to understanding the impact of private food standards on Australian horticultural producers. She has previously been employed as a social scientist at the Bureau of Rural Science and the Institute for Rural Futures at the University of New England.

Date:
Wednesday, 22 September
Venue:
EN 201
Time:
12.45-2.00 pm
Description:

Dr Aneta Podkalicka (Institute for Social Research) Informal Education, Pro-Am Networks & Peripheral Markets in Youth Media Programs
This paper explores processes of informal learning and creative production in the context of media projects designed to enable youth transitions from social marginalisation to participation in education and labour markets. It draws on ethnographic research into YouthWorx Media, a youth media initiative located in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne, to describe and discuss a mix of pedagogic and entrepreneurial strategies and networks mobilised to address social problems associated with ‘youth at risk’.  The analysis of Youthworx is useful in exploring how social and industrial policy frameworks converge around the existing models of social enterprise, and how youth media projects strategically leverage available infrastructure, institutional support, creative networks and media markets. The long-term on-the-ground research methodology allows for nuanced assessment of popular notions of ‘digital literacy’ or ‘media empowerment’, and actual contribution of youth media projects to social change.

Date:
Wednesday, 6 October
Venue:
EN 201
Time:
12.45-2.00 pm
Description:

Dr Angela Spinney (Institute for Social Research) - Reframing Family Homelessness: A Citizenship Approach
This paper discusses the first wave of results from a longitudinal ARC funded study on the experiences of homeless families. Within Australia there is surprisingly little literature on family homelessness (Noble-Carr 2006: 3). The limited Australian empirical evidence suggests that, whilst changes in family relationships and domestic violence can be a trigger for homelessness, problems of housing affordability and inability to access appropriate accommodation in the private or social rental sectors are important reasons why families become homeless (Kolar 2004). In particular, the difficulties in accessing and remaining in private rental accommodation contribute to families with children experiencing considerable housing instability, often living in marginal housing such as caravan parks or various types of transitional accommodation (Hulse and Saugeres 2007).

Recent scholarship about citizenship emphasises gender, culture and place (Lister 2007). This view of citizenship is not confined to relations between citizens and the state but also other types of relationships between citizens which contribute to social solidarity (Kabeer 2005). This paper frames the experiences of the homeless families who are participating in the study in terms of ‘citizenship as practice’ (Desforges et al. 2005). This is done by focusing on their everyday lived experience and the ways in which ways they have understood and negotiated their rights and responsibilities, belonging and participation. In doing so, this paper enhances our understanding of a wider group of homelessness families, rather than just those who are recipients of services, and contributes a theoretically informed understanding, to fill a gap in existing research.

Date:
Wednesday, 13 October
Venue:
Library Conference Room
Time:
12.45-2.00 pm
Description:

Prof Matt Qvortrup (Cranfield University)- Britain's New Coalition Government

The British general election resulted in the first coalition government in the UK since the 1940. In this talk Dr Matt Qvortrup (Research Director at the UK Defence Academy) outlines what the election means for British politics, and compares the Con-Lib government with previous epochs of minority government in the UK, as well as he draws comparisons with other jurisdictions, including in devolved assemblies in the UK and countries overseas. Dr Qvortrup argues that some of the lessons from Britain may become relevant for Australia, which also finds itself with a minority government for the first time in living memory.

Date:
Friday 12 November 2010
Venue:
AGSE Lecture Theatre (AGSE207)
Time:
1.15-2.15 pm
Description:

Public Lecture: Internet Governance. Reconciling the differences

Professor Richard Collins, Open University (UK)

If internet governance is, as libertarians would have it, "governance lite", how are we to manage the increasing convergence of the internet with "legacy" media and the substitution of the internet for "legacy" platforms and applications? Through markets, hierarchies or networks? The focus of Richard Collins' talk will be the internet in the UK with reference to EU and global governance regimes.

Richard Collins is Professor of Media Studies at the Open University UK and Visiting Professor at Swinburne University of Technology Melbourne and at the LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. His most recent book is "Three Myths of Internet Governance" (2009).

Date:
Wednesday, 17 November
Venue:
EN 201
Time:
12.45-2.00 pm
Description:

Dr Maria Tumarkin (Institute for Social Research) - Justice, Reconciliation and Memory: A tale of two grandsons

At the funeral of General Augusto Pinochet in December 2006, Francisco Cuadrado Prats, the grandson of the former commander-in-chief of the Chilean army assassinated on Pinochet?s orders, walked up to the coffin and spat on the General?s slowly decomposing face. Later during that same funeral in an unscheduled appearance, Capt. Augusto Pinochet Molina, an officer in the Chilean army and Pinochet?s grandson, defied all military regulations to make an impassioned speech defending his grandfather?s honour and legacy. Reflecting on the high drama of the funeral, Chilean-American writer and human rights activist Ariel Dorfman noted that for reconciliation to occur in Chile, either the grandson of General Carlos Prats would have to forget the death of his grandfather or the grandson of General Augusto Pinochet would have to publicly acknowledge that his grandfather was a murderer. ?Neither of these grandsons will ever able to do this?, wrote Dorfman.

At the conclusion of my three-year research engagement with ?Social Memory and Historical Justice? project, I would like to draw on a variety of contexts ? from Chile and Bosnia to Rwanda and Russia ? to reflect on the heart-breakingly difficult pursuit of justice and reconciliation in a range of post-genocidal and post-dictatorial societies.

Date:
Wednesday, 8 December
Venue:
Library Conference Room
Time:
12.45-2.00 pm
Description:

Dr. Kate McGregor (Institute for Social Research) - Historical Injustice and Memory in Indonesia: Some Comparative Reflections

In Indonesia half a million people were killed and hundreds of thousands were imprisoned in the counter-revolutionary violence of 1965-68. For thirty years the Suharto regime (1966-98,) which came to power on this violence, celebrated this as a victory over the evils of communism. Suharto made anti-communism a cornerstone of state ideology and continued to demonise those formerly associated with the left, making the public expression of sympathy for those affected by the violence dangerous. With the collapse of this regime in 1998 new possibilities opened for both publicly remembering the violence and for achieving various forms of historical justice.  Over the last twelve years a variety of different groups in Indonesia have demanded historical justice and sought to challenge long standing narratives about the violence. They have engaged in projects of alternative truth telling, forms of local reconciliation in addition to the highly sensitive process of mass grave exhumation. At the same time there has been considerable resistance to these initiatives and efforts to defend the long standing view that the violence was justified.

Drawing on my research on memories of counter revolutionary violence in Indonesia, this paper will reflect on some of the broader questions raised in research in the field of historical justice and memory studies. In particular the paper will explore: How and why different groups understand, confront or defend their roles as perpetrators, survivors and/or advocates of historical justice? What factors contribute to the momentum for dealing with historical injustice? What role do memories and identities play in either obstructing or assisting in the achievement of historical justice? What constitutes historical justice?  Finally the paper will conclude with some reflections on what can be learnt by comparing the Indonesian case to other cases of historical justice and memory.


Seminar Archive