Dr. Menéndez is the current TASA Thematic Groups Portfolio Leader. Since he finished his PhD in Sociology at La Trobe University (2017), he has worked as a casual academic, in postgraduate teaching roles, for the department of Management and Marketing (La Trobe Business School). His research interests centre around social psychology. He has conducted research on authenticity from a socio-historical and -cultural perspective, arguing in his last publication that ‘being authentic’ can not only be a form of social control but agency instead. He has also published collaborative and interdisciplinary research on the impact of stigma on knowledge-production among sheep producers in Australia. As a casual academic working for the last five years in a Business department, he would like to reflect, together with the other panellists and the audience, on the changing nature of the academic job market today and the psycho-social consequences that this can have for PhD graduates.
Having conducted public and private research ranging from the sociology of employment, disability studies, social systems theory, and organisational human factors, Dr. Mauri left academia shortly after completing a doctorate on the prospects of aspiring academics in the university sector. He has since found ways to contribute value to defence, business, community organising, and most recently as the founder of Family Tales: an initiative that draws on the concepts and techniques gathered through his academic, professional, and community work to strengthen the relationships and memories of clients. This conversation is for anyone interested in sociology and psychology, the often-overlooked realities of higher education, and positive stories of using good ideas to help others and forge your own path.
Dr. Lara McKenzie is a Research Fellow in the School of Social Sciences at The University of Western Australia, and an Honorary Research Fellow in Anthropology at Macquarie University. Her research focuses on Australia, particularly on gender, age, love, kinship, family, and reproduction, as well as inequality and precarity in higher education. Lara recently finished a study on recent PhD graduates’ experiences of looking for stable academic work, and her writing here addresses the themes of gender, family, precarity, and audit practices. She has been employed in fixed-term and casual roles in academia since beginning her PhD in 2007, as well as working in (non-academic) higher education policy roles.