The Australian Sociological Association and Western Sydney University Institute for Culture and Society, School of Social Sciences and Psychology, and Graduate Research Schoolare proud to co-host a two-day workshop for Postgraduates and ECRs
“Modern Methodologies: Developments in Doing Sociological Research”at
Western Sydney University, Parramatta Campus, February 15th-16th, 2018We invite abstracts from Postgraduates and ECRs to participate in a workshop exploring methodological issues and developments in sociological research. This workshop, bringing together select Postgraduates and ECRs, provides participants with an opportunity to present and workshop their own methodological approaches. The event will involve paper sessions and panel sessions, where participants raise questions and issues for discussion, as well as workshop presentations from academics working in social research. We welcome papers addressing social research methodologies including using qualitative, quantitative, digital, participatory, mixed and arts-based research methods. We also encourage practical or interactive presentations. Places have been limited to give participants the opportunity to discuss and develop their research in substantive depth.To apply please send a 200 word abstract to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 25, 2018. The workshop is free of charge for TASA members, and $40 for non-TASA members (Annual Postgraduate TASA membership is $53.10).
Hello TASA Postgrads!
We had a fabulous time at the 2017 TASA Conference in Perth, and I hope you did too! It was wonderful to see so many of you at postgrad day, which featured engaging and informative sessions around many aspects of phd life and beyond (and some craft to top it all off!). Huge thanks to everyone involved, and especially our Postgrad portfolio leader Ashleigh for pulling it all together, hats off to a job well done!
The quality of postgrad presentations was really high and it’s fantastic to get to see the truly great work you’re all doing! Like all good music festivals (TASA is basically falls for sociologists, right?) I missed out on a lot of presentations I wanted to see and I’m sure many of you are in the same boat. SO we would love to use this platform to highlight some of the great work you have been doing and fill that void in my heart left by all those missed presentations. How? By asking you, our postgrad members, to consider writing a short (500-1000 word) blog around your presentation topic to be featured on our TASA Postgrad site. If you think this might be for you then drop me an email for more info!
If you are looking for other ways to engage with the TASA Postgrad Community online there are a few things you can do:
1. Tweet us (@tasapostgrads)
2. Complete or update your thesis snapshot (https://postgraduates.tasa.org.au/postgraduate-research/submit/)
3. Answer some questions for our featured member profiles (Email me if you are interested!)
Today’s featured member profile comes from the fantastic Michelle Peterie, take it away Michelle!
Member: Michelle Peterie
What are you researching?
My thesis compares the experiences of volunteers who support asylum seekers in Australian immigration detention facilities with those of volunteers who support asylum seekers in the community. In doing so, it foregrounds the impact of carceral technologies not only on detained asylum seekers, but also on the volunteers who support them.
Australia’s detention regime has received considerable academic attention in recent years, but few scholars have examined the experiences of volunteers. We know that immigration detention causes profound harm to those who are detained. My study builds on this research, highlighting the Kafkaesque mechanisms through which detention centres harm asylum seekers, and showing how these technologies extend to negatively impact volunteers.
What drew you to this topic?
I work in the sociology of emotion, and I came to my thesis topic via the idea of ‘compassion’. I’d previously done research concerning the Australian government’s asylum seeker discourses, and had become interested in the model of compassion that these discourses employed. It seemed to me that while conservative appeals to compassion (“saving lives at sea” etc) had been critiqued by scholars, progressive appeals were also problematic because they constructed asylum seekers as helpless victims while Australia was cast as saviour. I decided to study asylum seeker support programs because I wanted to see if and how this dynamic played out in (or was contested by) the personal relationships that these programs involved. When I began the fieldwork for my project, it soon became clear that the detention centre environment distorted and to some extent collapsed the whole notion of empowered care ‘givers’ and disempowered care ‘receivers’, as both asylum seekers and volunteers were subject to psychological violence. My fieldwork thus led me to consider larger questions regarding state power, institutional affect and institutional design. It’s these questions that are now the focus of my study.
What have been the highlights of your PhD journey?
Early in my candidature, someone told me that a PhD was an apprenticeship to become a researcher. It was great advice. Since then, I’ve worked a few days each week as a research assistant and have project managed an ARC Linkage Project; I’ve been involved in organising and running an international emotions conference, plus a couple of smaller events and workshops; I’ve done some research consultancy work for a third-sector organisation; I’m in the process of co-editing a Routledge book with some colleagues; and I currently co-convene TASA’s Emotions and Affect thematic group. It’s been busy to say the least, but my candidature has been so much richer because of these extra activities and because of the generous people who have mentored me through them.
What do you wish you had known before you started?
One of the most importance lessons that I’ve learnt during my candidature concerns the value of academic community. Prior to commencing my PhD, I didn’t appreciate what an important role my friends and colleagues would play in helping me to develop as a scholar, and in making the whole research process sustainable.
What advice would you give to others who are either just beginning, or contemplating starting post graduate study?
To pass on the advice that was given to me, doctoral study isn’t just about writing a thesis, it’s also about becoming a well-rounded researcher. I would encourage new candidates to find mentors, and to seek out opportunities to do all of those things that academics do: write articles, present at conferences, organise events, give public lectures, liaise with industry, apply for grants, do admin, teach. The wonderful thing about this approach is that it embeds you in and allows you to learn from a community of researchers. It also provides valuable perspective regarding your own work, and regarding what it means to be a professional researcher.
In addition, I would encourage new candidates to choose a thesis topic that they find compelling and meaningful. Regardless of how much you do and how skilled you become, there are no guarantees in the academic job market. As such, I think it’s important to research something that – irrespective of the career outcomes – will have been worth three-and-a-half years of your life.
What do you do when you aren’t working on your research?
My idea of a riotous good time is a yoga/dance class, a SUP lesson, a picnic at the beach, or an evening in discussing life and politics. My procrasti-baking game is also strong.