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TASA Public Lectures

TASA Public Lectures are designed as significant public events that aim to foster a positive public perception of sociology as a profession and to create links between sociologists and the broader community. They aim to showcase sociological scholarship, provide a forum for communication between TASA members, and they are also an important opportunity to promote sociology in your community.


Apocalypse now? The global antibiotics

Antibiotic Resistance flyer

The Bundlr on this topic can be viewed here.


18CSociology flyer

The Bundlr on this topic can be viewed here.



  1. Indigenous child sexual abuse: who is responsible for effecting change? July 25th, Mabo Room of the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  2. Sport: Scandal, Gender and the Nation (Charles Byrnes Room at Parramatta Town Hall on September 12, 5:30pm – 7:30pm)
  3. Let’s Talk: The changing face of Australian Migration and Multiculturalism (November 28, Monash – Caulfield)


TASA Public Lecture 1

What’s Wrong with Television: Media Narratives of Economic Crisis
Associate Professor Ron Jacobs, State University of New York

The Australian Cultural Sociology Thematic Group in Association with Thesis Eleven Drawing on his new book The Space of Opinion, Ronald Jacobs discusses the differ-ences between newspaper and television narratives about the economic crisis. Jacobs shows how newspaper commentaries focused on economic corruption and the need for financial regulation, while television overwhelmingly focused on political corruption, align-ing closely with the party positions of the political field. In general, cases of economic cri-sis offer strong evidence for the important role that newspapers play for improving the quality of mediated deliberation, at least compared to television. They also show why the presence of academic voices improves the quality of mediated public debate. June 13th, 2011 Full details here


TASA Public Lecture 2

Governing Conduct in the Age of the Brain

The podcast is now available.


Hosted by: the Department of Sociology & Social Policy and the Biopolitics of Science Research Network, University of Sydney

Venue: Law School Foyer, Sydney University, 6 – 7.30 pm, 15 November.

Presenter: Professor Nikolas Rose

Presenter biography (brief):

Nikolas Rose is the James Martin White Professor of Sociology, Convenor of the Department of Sociology and Director of the BIOS Centre for the Study of Bioscience, Biomedicine, Biotechnology and Society at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has published widely across: the sociology of psychiatry; the social and political history of the human sciences; the genealogy of subjectivity; the history of empirical thought in sociology, and on the changing rationalities and techniques of political power. His extensive body of work has been translated into ten languages. He is co-editor of BioSocieties: an interdisciplinary journal for social studies of neuroscience, genomics and the life sciences.

Abstract Are developments in the neurosciences transforming our conceptions of what it is to be a human being, and if so, how, in what ways, and with what consequences? And with what implications for the social and human sciences? It is far too early to reach any definitive diagnosis: investigations into the brain and nervous system can be traced back many centuries, but neuroscience is barely fifty years old. We need to be wary of suggestions that we are in the midst of epochal transformations. Yet it is hard to ignore the pervasiveness of references to the brain and neuroscience in our own times, the growth of research and scientific publishing, the scale of public and private investment in this research, the frequency of popular accounts of new discoveries about the brain in the mass media and in books written for a mass market. In this lecture, I argue that a number of mutations – conceptual, technological, economic and biopolitical – have enabled the neurosciences to leave the enclosed space of the laboratory and gain traction in the world outside. In the course of these mutations, the human brain has come to be anatomised at a molecular level, understood as plastic, and mutable across the life-course, exquisitely adapted to human interaction and sociality, and open to investigation at both molecular and systemic scales in a range of novel experimental setups. This has generated a sense of human neurobiology as not merely setting the conditions for the lives of human beings in societies, but also as shaping those social lives in all manner of ways that are not amenable to consciousness. Yet this is not ‘neuroreductionism’, and persons are not understood as determined by their neurobiology, or reduced to mere puppets of their brains. I will give some examples of the ways in which neurobiological knowledges are becoming technological, and reshaping some of the ways in which we are governed by others, and govern ourselves in practices from child rearing to the criminal justice system. It is right to be sceptical of the excitable claims of the popularisers of neuroscience, and the naïve enthusiasm of those who see this new knowledge of the brain as providing solutions to socio-political and cultural ills from lack of social mobility to crime control. Yet a recognition of this neurobiological transformation of our sense of what it is to be human should not be feared, for it opens many pathways for the productive transformation of the human sciences themselves.


The 2010 Public Lecture was co-hosted by ANU Sociology and the TASA Environment and Society Thematic Group, and addressed “How do we manage terrestrial animals and aquatic biodiversity on private land?” Unlike previous Public Lectures, there were 3 speakers, and only one of them was a sociologist. They included Ms Deb Kerr (from the National Farmers’ Federation), Professor Stephen Dovers (Director of the Fenner School of Environment and Society, ANU) and Professor Stewart Lockie (Sociology, ANU). The speakers highlighted the critical importance of biodiversity, which has been overshadowed by climate change in recent years. There was a full lecture theatre, and a lively question and answer session afterwards. Highlights from the lecture can be found in Nexus 22:3


You can Listen to Professor Kerry Carrington’s 2009 lecture and you can View the PowerPoint slides. Emeritus Professor Riaz Hassan’s 2009 lecture is available in Word (124kb ) and Pdf (200kb).


Humanitarianism: the power of the gift – Presented by Prof. Michael Humphrey

Hosted by the University of Sydney

Date: Tuesday 30 September 2008
Time: 5.30 – 7.00 pm (Refreshments after lecture)
Venue: The University of Sydney, Refectory, The Holme Building (A09)
RSVP: by Monday, 22nd September.

Directions: – (Holme Building – Map Ref 14D – near Parramatta Rd Footbridge)

The Lecture:

In reaction to the Burmese government’s resistance to allow humanitarian aid and agencies to provide relief to the mass victims of cyclone Nargis PM Kevin Rudd declared we should ‘bash the doors down diplomatically’ to persuade the Burmese regime to let us fulfill our humanitarian obligations towards innocent Burmese victims. The PM expressed a widespread revulsion at the Burmese government’s rejection of humanitarian help, the rejection of a life preserving gift.

In this lecture Michael Humphrey explores the limits of the contemporary global politics of victims and therapeutic intervention and looks at the relationship between events of suffering, victims and political legitimacy.

The Speaker:

Michael Humphrey is Chair of the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney. He has published widely on the themes of the Islam in the West, the anthropology of globalisation, political violence and terrorism, human rights and reconciliation. A major theme is his work has been the relationship between the individual, collectivities and the state. His current research is on contemporary human rights politics and democratisation in Argentina and South Africa and globalised Islam and transnational governmentality.

Invited Guests Include:

  • Sydney members of The Australian Sociological Association
  • The Australia Burma Community Development Network
  • Sydney Anglicans
  • Sydney Burma Network
  • Australian Coalition for Democracy in Burma
  • Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies – University of Sydney
  • The Sydney Centre for International Law (SCIL) – University of Sydney
  • The Australian Human Rights Centre (AHRC) – UNSW

A formal invitation was created for the 2008 Public Lecture.



Professor Andy Bennett

Growing old disgracefully? Popular music and the ageing fan

Hosted by Griffith University (Centre for Public Culture and Ideas),
the lecture is being held in
Ship Inn Function Room, Griffith University QCA Campus, South Bank
on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 at 5.00pm-6.30pm.

TASA members are invited to join colleagues from the Griffith University and the TASA Executive for refreshments at:
6.30 – 7.30pm, Ship Inn Function Room, Griffith University QCA Campus, South Bank


The sociological study of popular music is now an established sub-discipline of the field. Significantly, however, in charting the cultural significance of popular music much sociological work continues to prioritise youth. In this public lecture, Andy Bennett draws on his recent ethnographic work with hippies, punks and dance music fans now in their forties and fifties as a means of both readdressing the dominant focus on youth and exploding popular stereotypes of ageing music fans as being driven primarily by nostalgia.

Utilising cultural sociological perspectives framed around issues of lifestyle, fragmented culture and reflexive modernity, Bennett examines how long term personal investment in a particular music style has influenced ageing fans’ lifestyles and shaped their biographies in relation to issues such as body image, employment, peer and family relations, and political and / or spiritual outlook. Bennett will then go on to consider the implications of his research findings for broader debates centring around issues of ageing and cultural participation in the context of late modernity.

Brief Biography of Presenter:

Andy Bennett is Professor of Cultural Sociology at Griffith University and Deputy Director of the University’s Centre for Public Culture and Ideas. He is author of Popular Music and Youth Culture: Music, Identity and Place (2000), Cultures of Popular Music (2001), Culture and Everyday Life (2005) and Growing Old Disgracefully? Popular Music Fandom and Ageing (forthcoming). He is a Faculty Associate of the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University, an Associate of PopuLUs, the Centre for the Study of the World’s Popular Musics at Leeds University, and a member of the Board for the European Sociological Association Network for the Sociology of the Arts. He serves on the Editorial Boards of the journals Cultural Sociology, Leisure Studies, Perfect Beat and Music and Arts in Action .

RSVP September 17 to or phone Jill Jones on 07 3735 7338.

The 2007 TASA AGM will be held in The Ship Inn Function Room , Griffith University QCA Campus, South Bank, Brisbane from 3.00pm-4.30pm Tuesday 25 September. More information is available for members click here.


There has been a change to the venue and time for The Australian Sociological Association public lecture and AGM.

The AGM will be at 3.30pm-5.00pm in the State Library of South Australia (same venue as previously).

The Public Lecture has moved to a larger venue and will now be held at:
5.30pm – 7.00pm, Radford Auditorium, Art Gallery of South Australia

Professor Anthony Elliott
Extreme Reinvention: the Rise of Makeover Culture

TASA members are invited to join colleagues from the Flinders Sociology Department and the TASA Executive for refreshments at:
7.00pm – 8.00pm, Restaurant, Art Gallery of South Australia

Please email or ring Gillian Keightley on 08 8201 2026 to confirm your attendance (or RSVP)
at the Public Lecture (and refreshments) with this revised time and venue.

TASA Public Lecture 2006
is being presented by
Professor Anthony Elliott
on the topic of
Extreme Reinvention: The Rise Of Makeover Culture

Hosted by the Flinders University Sociology Department,
the lecture is being held in
Radford Auditorium, Art Gallery of South Australia
On Tuesday September 26, 2006 at 5.30pm – 7.00pm


In this provocative public lecture on the social consequences of makeover culture, Anthony Elliott investigates what drives people to demand instant self-reinvention – from plastic surgery to online therapy, from compulsive consumerism to the self-help movement. He argues that we are witnessing the emergence of a “new individualism”, and outlines a novel sociological perspective on people’s emotional experiences of globalization.

The lecture will focus on the debate over globalization, with particular stress on the consequences of global transformations for the self and identity. Contesting mainstream explanations that view today’s craze for reinvention as a result of the cult of celebrity, Elliott argues that an “ambient fear of globalism” haunts the new individualisms surfacing in the polished, expensive cities of the West. Surviving the new individualism, he suggests, is central to the tasks of a public sociology.

Brief Biography:

Anthony Elliott is Professor of Sociology at Flinders University . He was formerly Chair of Sociology at the University of Kent at Canterbury , UK . Professor Elliott’s writings have been translated in ten languages, and his recent books include Critical Visions: New Directions in Social Theory (2003), Social Theory Since Freud (2004), Subject to Ourselves (2nd Edition, 2004) and, with Charles Lemert, The New Individualism: The Emotional Costs of Globalization (2005).

RSVP to OR Gillian Keightley on 08 8201 2026

The 2006 TASA AGM will be held in the The Institute Building , State Library of SA, Adelaide from 3.30pm-5.00pm Tuesday 26 September. More information is available for members click here.

2005 TASA Public Lecture Archive


The 2005 TASA public lecture was presented by Professor Michael Gilding, Sociology, Swinburne University. Read Professor Gilding’s lecture report in Nexus 17:3


Biotechnology, Public Policy and Public Opinion

Monday, 26th September 2005
The University of Melbourne
Public Policy Theatre
2nd Floor
234 Queensberry Street