Month: November 2013

New book: Christine Deftereos ‘Ashis Nandy and the Cultural Politics of Selfhood’

Ashis Nandy

Christine Deftereos’ book Ashis Nandy and the Cultural Politics of Selfhood (SAGE publications) has just been released widely in Australia. It is of interest to a wide audience including those with an interest in Nandy’s work (India’s foremost public intellectual and postcolonial scholar), South Asian politics, cultural politics and social and cultural criticism. It will also have appeal to those interested in the debates on secularism within cultural sociology and the tensions within Indian modernity. The book is available in book stores and online.

Please see the Ashis Nandy Book Poster for further details on the book and how to order your copy.

TASA 2013 annual conference

Last week, the 2013 TASA conferences organisers Nick Osbaldiston, Catherine Strong and Helen Forbes-Mewett treated Australian sociologists to our annual get-together at Monash University in Melbourne. The special 50-year anniversary of TASA inspired a conference filled with memories, reflections, reunions and new connections. Keynotes by Professor John Holmwood, Professor Celia Lury and Professor Raewyn Connell all in one way or another reflected on the challenges and opportunities of the changing higher education landscape and sociology as a discipline. The stimulating plenaries also took up the conference theme, tackling questions such as the need for interdisciplinarity and the applicability of sociology outside of academia, as well as reflecting on the impressive history of sociology in Australia.

As in past years, the Cultural Sociology stream featured strongly in the TASA conference program. In eleven sessions we tackled theories and methods, the multiplication of modernity, professional subjectivities, state-public relations, memory and Australian identity, contested sexualities, styles, space and place, class and, of course, culture! It was fascinating to see once again the diversity and vibrancy of cultural sociological work in Australia. A particular highlight for us this year was to feature the first ever sessions on Digital Sociology in Australia. The abundance of papers around digital culture prompted us to put on two sessions on the theme and the popularity resonated in the jam-packed rooms.

Deborah Lupton opened the first session with her poignant characterisation of digital sociology. Her presentation was followed by some interesting case studies around Google Glass (Timothy Graham and myself, Theresa Sauter), the Google algorithm (David Collis), and Q&A (Erin Carlisle). In the second session I offered a critical perspective on the label ‘digital sociology’, illustrated with the example of Pinterest as a technique of self. Then, Tristan Kennedy reflected on ethical methodologies in online participant observation, Tim Jordan presented his research on ethical consumption apps (also on behalf of Kim Humphery) and Ashlin Lee theorised convergent mobile technology.

For those interested in the emergence of Digital Sociology as a sub-discipline, Deborah Lupton (, Alexia Maddox ( and I ( are looking to establish an Australian Digital Sociology research network. Please contact any of us if you would like to join!

The Cultural Sociology group is now TASA’s largest thematic group. We are keen to strengthen the community further and to encourage collaborations between our members. A prime example of this was the pre-conference symposium on ‘Cultural Sociology Today’, which we held on Monday November 25, supported by La Trobe University Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Thesis Eleven Centre. (Please stay tuned for a more detailed blog-post about the day).

We hope those who attended the conference enjoyed the sessions. Many thanks to all speakers for their interesting presentations and to listeners for their collegiate, supportive engagement.

See you all at TASA 2014 in Adelaide and stay tuned for exciting new endeavours by the Cultural Sociology group in the new year!

REMINDER AND UPDATES: ‘Cultural Sociology Today’ Symposium

La Trobe

Kandinsky big(Image: Wassily Kandinsky, Composition VII)

Cultural Sociology Today’ Symposium

Organised by the TASA Cultural Sociology Thematic Group
and the Thesis Eleven Centre for Cultural Sociology

Supported by La Trobe University
Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Peter Beilharz, John Carroll, Barbara Evers, Eduardo de la Fuente, Margaret Gibson, Sara James, Brad West, Gary Wickham

Venue: La Trobe University, Collins St City Campus
360 Collins St (between Elizabeth and Queen St)
Teaching room 4 (20th floor)

Date: 25 November 2013, 9.30am – 4.30pm

This is a free event. Afternoon tea will be provided. Lunch will be self-catered.

Culture connects and inspires individuals through shared patterns of meaning, myths, rituals and representations and shapes institutions and histories. It is neither an abstract ideology nor a tangible social structure. It is intimately entwined in the shaping of social life and human action, and simultaneously emerges from them. Cultural sociology recognises and studies the autonomy of culture, the textuality of social life and the establishment of specific (semiotic) mechanisms through which culture does its work.

This one-day symposium engages with recent developments in cultural sociology. It is hosted by the La Trobe University Department of Sociology and Anthropology and will feature the work of members of the department (including Peter Beilharz, John Carroll, and Sara James), and cultural sociologists from around Australia: Barbara Evers (Murdoch University), Eduardo de la Fuente (Flinders University) Margaret Gibson (Griffith University), Brad West (Uni SA), Gary Wickham (Murdoch University). Additionally, La Trobe cultural sociology postgraduate students will present their most recent work in the field (Harry Paternoster, Lana Chung, Marcus Maloney, Scott Doidge).

There will be ample opportunity for networking and developing ideas for collaborative work with presenters and attendees. The event will be free of charge. Afternoon tea will be provided, however please note that lunch will be self-catered.

Please email to register your interest in attending.

Click here to access a PDF version of the ‘Cultural Sociology Today’ symposium flyer. (Please note the updated time and venue information)

Participate in research on the Social Psychology of Team Attachment and Football

by Nick Osbaldiston and George Van Doorn

This study examines the social, group and individual dynamics of being a ‘football fan’ (of any code) and how this is demonstrated in apparel and attendance at live games, etc. My colleague George Van Doorn and I are hoping to understand how people engage with their teams of following and how their attachment to these teams creates bonds that potentially last generations.

If you have a spare 15 minutes, can you please complete this survey found here:

We hope that the results will create a space for further research into emotional labour and football in the near future.

Nick Osbaldiston