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!

Conference CfP – Conceptualizing Cyber-Urban Connections in Asia and the Middle East

23 – 24 January 2014
National University of Singapore


In the 2010s, we witness a surge of protests and mass movements across the globe. All of these insurgencies have two elements in common. One is that they are intricately connected and facilitated by the Internet. The other is that occupying politically potent spaces in the city is crucial in gaining political leverage for pursuing reform. Connecting these two elements remains inadequately studied, however. The many conferences aimed at understanding the role of new and social media as tools of protest tend to remain in networks of cyberspace, and urban studies have also lagged in linking urban space with cyberspace.

As individuals continue to live in a networked society, with one foot in the virtual and the other in the material world, the more coherent understanding of the changes and transformations in society should include an interrogation of the interdependencies between online and offline domains. How does cyber-activism translate into the production of urban spaces, and, conversely, how does access or lack of access to urban spaces reflect back to online mobilizations?

This multidisciplinary conference aims to bring together young scholars and leading experts and theorists to better understand and re-theorize the ‘cyber-urban’ connections in urban Asia and the Middle East that affect people, networks, and social and built environments. We invite submission of papers that address the reflexivity of cyber and urban spaces, both empirically and theoretically, in different national contexts, pertaining to social change in Asia and the Middle East.

Central questions include, but are not limited to:

  • How do cyber-urban connections materialize in the city?
  • How can we better understand the interplay between online mobilizations and the production or occupation of urban spaces?
  • How do emerging alternative or subaltern cyber-urban spaces inform urban theory?
  • How do spaces (online and offline) contribute to insurgent activities?
  • To what extent does insurgency need both cyberspace and physical space to be successful?
  • How do socially marginalized people engage in online-offline forms of mobilization to gain political leverage or pursue their own projects?
  • How do comparative contexts in Asia and the Middle East differ in any substantial ways in their cyber-urban insurgency experiences?

Paper proposals should include title, an abstract (max 300 words) and a brief biographical sketch (max 150 words). Please submit your proposal by 1 September 2013 to Dr Asha Rathina Pandi at Click here for proposal submission form. Successful applicants will be notified by 1 October 2013 and will be required to send in a draft paper of 5,000 – 8,000 words based on unpublished material by 15 December 2013.

Participants are encouraged to seek funding for travel from their home institutions. Based on the quality of proposals and the availability of funds, partial or full funding is available for successful applicants. Full funding would cover air travel to Singapore by the most economical means plus accommodation for the duration of the conference.


Conference Convenors
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

Dr Peter MAROLT (
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

Dr Merlyna LIM (
Arizona State University & Princeton University, USA

Ms Valerie YEO
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
#10-01 Tower Block, 469A Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259770
Tel: (65) 6516 5279
Fax: (65) 6779 1428

Contact Person: Mdm YEO Ee Lin Valerie


TASA conference 2013 – themed CS streams


The date is set and paper submissions are now open for this year’s annual TASA conference. This year is very special as we are celebrating 50 years of Australian Sociology under the theme Reflections, Intersections and Aspirations.

You have until June 22 to submit your 3000 word papers for peer review. Head to the conference website for more information.

In recent years the Cultural Sociology stream at the annual TASA conferences has been one of the most popular and well attended streams; something we are very proud of as leaders of this group. We want to do everything we can to continue to make the Cultural Sociology stream as relevant to your interests as possible. Therefore, this year, we will theme our sessions in advance. And, we want to give you the chance to have a say in deciding on the topics for the themed streams.

Please let us know what topics and themes you would like to present on, and would be interested in hearing others speak about. You could also suggest a group of presenters for your theme. Talk to your colleagues and get them involved! Please let us know in the comments below or send an email to Theresa at with your ideas and suggestions.

After we have collected some ideas we will do a mini CfP within our stream which will give you the option to submit your papers to a targeted theme that will be represented in the CS stream at the conference. Note: of course we welcome any CS related papers. We will equally consider submissions that do not explicitly state a theme and fit them into the conference schedule.

This new initiative will enable you to have more of an input and shape your conference experience. Please also share this idea with your colleagues and invite them to submit their ideas for streams and papers to attend the TASA conference.

We look forward to hearing your ideas!

CfP: Work, Employment and Society Conference 2013

Work, Employment and Society Conference 2013
States of Work: Visions and the interpretations of work, employment, society and the state

Dates: Tuesday 3 – Thursday 5 September 2013
Postgraduate Workshop: 2 September 2013
Venue: University of Warwick

Deadline for Abstract Submission: 19 April 2013

The Work, Employment and Society 2013 Conference has an international focus and comes at a critical time for the study of work. Like the journal, the conference is sociologically oriented, but welcomes contributions from related fields.

Over the past few years, unprecedented state intervention in the economy and subsequent radical reform plans for the public sector and the welfare state have raised new questions on the ways work is socially regulated: the WES 2013 conference will bring together sociologists of work from across the globe to assess the evidence and consider the theoretical implications of changing relations between work, society and the state.

The full Call for Papers can be viewed at: