SAANZ Waikato 2015

9-11 Dec 2015
University of Waikato
Hamilton


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Information regarding plenary sessions will be added to this site over the coming days.

Conference Organisers:
Jo Barnes
Johanna Schmidt
Maxine Campbell (Convenor)
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University of Waikato

Welcome to Hamilton for the
2015 SAA(NZ) Annual Conference
including the Gender and Sexuality mini-conference

9 - 11 December 2015

The University of Waikato and the Sociological Association of Aotearoa (NZ) invite you to join us at Waikato's Hamilton campus for this year's conference

Children of the revolutions

For more than half a century a wave of baby boomers has washed through our schools, our health system, our media, our commercial sector, our sports fields, our justice system and all else that makes Aoteaora/New Zealand what it is today. Some entered the academic world and many are either enjoying or contemplating retirement. That booming generation has witnessed huge social, economic, and technological change. Some has been positive – improvements in child mortality, life span, health, literacy, for example. Other change has been more contentious, particularly around technology and media. And some movements, such as women’s rights, Maori political agitation, or the sexual revolution, were, to some extent, paradigm shifting.

Fifty or more years ago some boomers were engaged in political revolutions – the Vietnam War, the Springbok tour, the nuclear free movement, the Bastion Point occupation. Academia was well represented in those actions. The academic’s role as critic and conscience of society was actively pursued by those concerned for social justice. Those voices have quietened somewhat as the years have passed and it is tempting to assume that critique, protest and active resistance have been consigned to the past. Many argue that activism has given way to slacktivism and clicktivism – it can seem that the biggest dissenting threat faced by politicians and corporations is simply another slew of emails, or a heated debate on social media that will last only a week or two. The Occupy movement rose, bubbled and fizzled; a plethora of causes seek attention, but their very number serves to undermine the possibilities for support. Opposition is expiring, the boomers are comfortable, and their children will acquiesce.

Since its genesis, sociology’s purpose has been more than purely academic. As Marx’s grave stone reminds us, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.” While the interpreting has become a matter of course, the exigencies of modern academia promote a cycle of ‘research, write and publish, move on’ such that Marx’s point is all too often swept aside in the race for PBRF scores. However, our ongoing conversations make it clear that Marx’s imperative to change the world for the better continues to motivate sociologists today, and this is still the impetus for our best students – the children and grandchildren of the boomers – who are both inspired and enraged by their developing sociological imaginations. Their sense of social justice prompts some to conduct dawn raids, anonymously dropping food parcels or Easter eggs on doorsteps in deprived neighbourhoods. Others struggle daily to convince their peers, friends and families that poverty and inequality are not personal issues.

This conference seeks to explore how the spirit of sociology has been, is being and might continue to be expressed in Aotearoa/New Zealand. We hope to hear stories from those who worked in the last half century to secure large shifts in the interests of social justice, a better society and/or establishing a proud history of independence on a global stage; and of small changes wrought every day in our communities to serve the same ends. We want your stories, linking our discipline to real world events, linking the motivations of the founders of sociology with what we do today, applying and employing the work of later sociologists to understand our world. We might also begin to relate the stories we haven’t told, to acknowledge our limitations, our failings, our lost opportunities.

In addition to papers that address the conference theme of ‘sociology in action’, we welcome submissions on the more ‘traditional’ conference themes. Suggestions for chaired panel discussions are also warmly invited.

Suggested topics within the conference theme could include:

  » Theorising social justice » Social movements
  » Wellbeing, welfare and poverty » Political sociology
  » Work and labour movements » Transformational projects
  » Public engagement » Advocacy
  » Social stratification/inequality  

Other suggested streams, themes and approaches for paper presentations include:

  » Families, children and youth » Migration and ethnicity
  » Health and illness » Identity and culture
  » Research methods » Globalisation
  » Clinical sociology » Population and demography
  » Crime, law and justice » Sport and leisure
  » Visual sociology » Teaching sociology
  » Media and communication » Academic imperatives
  » Environmental sociology » Projections and predictions
  » Urban and community sociology  

Gender and Sexuality stream

A special interdisciplinary Gender and Sexuality stream is included in the SAANZ programme every second year. To coincide with the main conference theme, its theme this year is 'Putting Gender and Sexuality Research to Work'. Papers or panels that discuss social outcomes of research conclusions, how research processes or practices themselves produce change in the fields of gender or sexuality, or outcomes of teaching in this area, are particularly welcome, although papers on other topics, and from across a range of disciplines, are invited too.


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