Jane Verbitzky's current research focuses on Antarctic governance. Because of the lack of a sovereign government in Antarctica, the continent is governed through a unique, multilateral condominium governance system known as the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS).
"I have a particular interest in the key ATS decision-making group, the twenty eight Consultative Parties, and the tourism policy framework they have created in the white continent."
"Tourism in Antarctica has increased significantly since the 1980s, but I have argued that ATS tourism initiatives have not kept pace with real-time changes."
She says that the Consultative Parties need to urgently address and rectify this situation (preferably through a dedicated Tourism Convention) in order to maintain their legitimacy as the self-designated stewards of Antarctica.
Another set of Antarctic research interests lies in cosmopolitan democracy and environmental justice, and how these ideas relate to the composition of the ATS decision-making group and to Antarctica's role and status in the international system.
"There are some compelling, unanswered questions around these cryopolitical issues — for instance, is Antarctica an international commons, a global commons, or is it a Common Heritage of Mankind? Is the ATS the most appropriate governance system for the continent, or should Antarctic governance be overseen by the United Nations as the most globally representative inter-governmental organization?"
Associate Professor Sharyn Graham Davies says sexualities of Indonesian societies are multifarious, complex and constantly changing. Dominant ideals of female and male sexuality, and heteronormativity, are propagated by state, cultural and religious institutions whilst they are also continuously contested by popular culture and the everyday sexualities of Indonesians.
Indonesian sexualities are negotiated in a dynamic era paradoxically characterised by conservatism, liberalism and the accommodation of diversity. Public and private sexualities frequently diverge and the performance of multiple sexualities is increasingly evident.
Men have sex with men while maintaining relationships with their wives and other female lovers. Lesbian sex workers service predominantly male clients. Gay Christian groups meet to discuss their spirituality and their sexuality. School girls perform chastity while pursuing backstreet sexual liaisons.
The vast majority of Indonesians still marry in heterosexual unions, but little is known or enquired about their sexualities and how they conform with or contest state defined sexual roles and identities.
Calls for sexual modesty abound in public dialogue, and yet the consumption of sexual stories and scandal is a popular entertainment choice purveyed through mass media and a social fascination with celebrity sexualities and lifestyles. Indonesia’s reformation era (era reformasi) has expanded spaces for explicit debates of sexuality.
With generous funding from AUT, Associate Professor Sharyn Davies (AUT) and Dr Linda Bennett (University of Melbourne) are hosting a workshop entitled Sexing Indonesia: Sexual Subjectivities, Politics and Subcultures of the Reformasi era. The key outcome of this collaboration is a peer reviewed, edited book by the same name to be published by Routledge. The workshop will run from 5-7 November.
Dr John Buttle and Associate Professor Sharyn Graham Davies are currently conducting research on policing in Indonesia, along with Professor Adrianus Meliala from the University of Indonesia. Sharyn is currently in Indonesia for her sabbatical. Read about Sharyn’s experience of getting an Indonesian research visa.
Much of the current research Dr Jay Wood is conducting involves the attitudes that people hold. We have attitudes and opinions about a great many things in our environment; in fact, when it comes right down to it, we probably have some sort of evaluation about almost any product, person, or idea that we can think of.
Whereas some of these opinions are very strong and difficult to change, others are weaker and more susceptible to influence. What are the qualities and properties that make some attitudes more persistent over time, more resistant to change, and more impactful on our thoughts and behaviours?
One topic in social psychology that has been hotly debated over the years is whether people's attitudes and opinions can be used to predict their behaviour with any reasonable accuracy, or whether we are better off simply looking (for example) at what their friends are up to.
Thanks to science, we now have a firm answer to that question: "It depends." Nevertheless, I am interested in expanding that answer. When are people's attitudes good predictors of behaviour, and why? How can we better measure attitudes to make more accurate predictions?
I am also currently researching how the content of persuasive messages affects attitudinal processes.
Over the past several decades, researchers have made great strides in understanding when people are likely to be persuaded by the arguments contained in a persuasive message, and alternatively, when they are likely to be swayed by things that are less relevant to the topic at hand (e.g., the attractiveness of the source).
However, we know less about the features of the message itself that might make it more or less impactful in specific circumstances. When are fictional stories more persuasive than rational arguments? When does the logical structure of an argument matter?
This research, undertaken by Antje Deckert, seeks to determine quantitatively how prevalent the employment of 'silencing research methods' and the use of 'othering discourse' is in contemporary criminology. It is underpinned by a theoretical framework that connects discourse and power and views scholarly research as a distinctive means of exercising social control.
Antje Deckert looks at how women who engage in violent aggressive behaviour, like combat sports, are one of the most stigmatised groups in society because they contradict societal gender norms and expectations of feminine passivity and fragility. Therefore, women who train and compete in violent sports encounter negative attitudes and behaviours. This study seeks to explore why women engage in combat sports such as Muay Thai and seeks to relate the commitment to the sport to past violence experiences in childhood and intimate partner relationships. It is grounded in a narrative understanding of self-making, meaning that individuals form their identities through narrative.
In this project Professor Charles Crothers is attempting to contribute to the public’s ‘knowledge-base’ by pulling together recent polling data on issues which seem likely to be important in this election, together with what is shown by longer times series of the public’s attitudes from more academic surveys. In particular, the New Zealand Election Survey (NZES) which has taken post-election surveys since 1987 is drawn on. Where possible some of the academic literature on attitudes in relation to these issues is also drawn upon.
Topics covered include:
Professor Charles Crothers has worked with Deb Schwartz and MacroAuckland to put together a summary document of the social characteristics of Auckland and its suburbs and the issues arising in these areas.
"In a large set of reports we developed various data-sets from a range of sources to support the account we developed of Auckland," says Professor Crothers. The areas researched include:
"It is intended that much of the data identified during this study will be more closely analysed in the future."
Dr John Buttle is focusing his research on a number of distinct areas in criminology via collaborations with colleagues that will result in future publications.
"I’m investigating the effect that controversial incidents have on public trust in the police," Says Dr Buttle.
"I’m involved with a comparative project that examines how independent New Zealand’s police complaints process is after recent reforms, and future research will investigate recent reforms that resulted from the Policing Act 2008.
"With colleagues, I’m seeking funding for future research on policing in Indonesia. I’m writing groundbreaking articles about policing in rural New Zealand."
Dr Kate Nicholls is currently working on a book project titled "Between State and Society: Mediating Policy in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal". "This project looks at the extent to which these three countries adjusted their social and economic development strategies in order to meet the labour market policy challenges associated with the requirements of 'knowledge based' economic growth, during the 1990s and early 2000s.
"I argue that the ability of each country to meet these challenges relied, in part, on the construction of mediating institutions capable of balancing functions of genuine consultation with the effective incorporation of interest groups.""It also looks at the implications of the existence of these institutions and processes for how Greece, Ireland, and Portugal have coped with the post-2008 global financial crisis, which led to an explosion of government debt and an associated political crisis in each of these three countries.
Keryn McDermott has a number of research projects under way, including:
Dr Erik Landhuis: Each of us has a subjective experience of the objective world ‘out there’. The subjectivity of that experience leads to inter-individual variations of how that world is perceived. Those perceptions result in representations and interpretations, which in turn lead to decisions, intentions, and behaviours.
The more the subjective experience deviates from the objective reality, the more it can be said to be illusory. It is likely that the magnitude of those illusory experiences is somewhat adaptive and serves us well. However, too little or too much of the illusory experience is likely to result in poor decision-making and maladaptive behaviours.
I am currently designing a series of studies investigating the magnitude of illusory experiences (including auditory and visual illusions, apophenic phenomena, and illusory or perceived control) and how variability of illusory experiences between individuals predicts coping, self-regulation, and health behaviours. I think creativity may also be implicated.
Charles Crothers says this program of research is being done to describe and evaluate the methodological practice of social science research in New Zealand. Particular reference is made to New Zealand specificities (since methodological practice is broadly comparable across the world).
Work on this programme has included:
Journal of the Sociological Association of Aotearoa/New Zealand
This refereed journal was designed to disseminate and promote research and thought that has, as its objective, the clarification and development of theoretically informed research in sociology and related disciplines.
The predominant, though not exclusive, concern is with New Zealand subject matter.
Recent issues are available for download through the National Library Website.
Text is also available through several Bibliographical Databases: Sociological Abstracts; Socindex; Australia NZ Reference Center; Index NZ and Proquest.
It is hoped that the full run will be digitised, but in the meantime is available through libraries.
All journal enquiries to:
New Zealand Sociology
School of Social Sciences and Public Policy
Auckland University of Technology
Private Bag 92006