School of Social and Political Sciences - Research Publications

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    Trace residue identification, characterization, and longitudinal monitoring of the novel synthetic opioid beta-U10, from discarded drug paraphernalia
    West, H ; Fitzgerald, JL ; Hopkins, KL ; Leeming, MG ; DiRago, M ; Gerostamoulos, D ; Clark, N ; Dietze, P ; White, JM ; Ziogas, J ; Reid, GE (WILEY, 2022-05-23)
    Empirical data regarding dynamic alterations in illicit drug supply markets in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the potential for introduction of novel drug substances and/or increased poly-drug combination use at the "street" level, that is, directly proximal to the point of consumption, are currently lacking. Here, a high-throughput strategy employing ambient ionization-mass spectrometry is described for the trace residue identification, characterization, and longitudinal monitoring of illicit drug substances found within >6,600 discarded drug paraphernalia (DDP) samples collected during a pilot study of an early warning system for illicit drug use in Melbourne, Australia from August 2020 to February 2021, while significant COVID-19 lockdown conditions were imposed. The utility of this approach is demonstrated for the de novo identification and structural characterization of β-U10, a previously unreported naphthamide analog within the "U-series" of synthetic opioid drugs, including differentiation from its α-U10 isomer without need for sample preparation or chromatographic separation prior to analysis. Notably, β-U10 was observed with 23 other drug substances, most commonly in temporally distinct clusters with heroin, etizolam, and diphenhydramine, and in a total of 182 different poly-drug combinations. Longitudinal monitoring of the number and weekly "average signal intensity" (ASI) values of identified substances, developed here as a semi-quantitative proxy indicator of changes in availability, relative purity and compositions of street level drug samples, revealed that increases in the number of identifications and ASI for β-U10 and etizolam coincided with a 50% decrease in the number of positive detections and an order of magnitude decrease in the ASI for heroin.
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    Robot death care: A study of funerary practice
    Gould, H ; Arnold, M ; Kohn, T ; Nansen, B ; Gibbs, M (SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2021-07-01)
    Across the globe, human experiences of death, dying, and grief are now shaped by digital technologies and, increasingly, by robotic technologies. This article explores how practices of care for the dead are transformed by the participation of non-human, mechanised agents. We ask what makes a particular robot engagement with death a breach or an affirmation of care for the dead by examining recent entanglements between humans, death, and robotics. In particular, we consider telepresence robots for remote attendance of funerals; semi-humanoid robots officiating in a religious capacity at memorial services; and the conduct of memorial services by robots, for robots. Using the activities of robots to ground our discussion, this article speaks to broader cultural anxieties emerging in an era of high-tech life and high-tech death, which involve tensions between human affect and technological effect, machinic work and artisanal work, humans and non-humans, and subjects and objects.
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    The disposition of the destitute
    Arnold, M ; Nansen, B ; Kohn, T ; Gibbs, M ; Gould, H (Council to Homeless Persons, 2019)
    The final disposition is a term used by people in the funeral industry to refer to the burial or cremation of a dead person. The final disposition is a profoundly important event, not simply a pragmatic or material process, and its significance is expressed through ritualised performances. The disposition and its rituals are shared and communal, involving ceremonies attended by the deceased’s family, friends, and community, whilst less indirectly the disposition is shared by wider social norms and values around the proper treatment of the deceased body. Although the disposition is common to us all, then, it is also a personalised event in which the particularity of the life lived is recognised. Similarly, the place of interment, whether body or ashes, is named and marked to recognise the individual life of the deceased. Places of interment are thus not only identified, but are also accessible to family, friends and community, for the purpose of ongoing visitation and remembrance.
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    Response to COVID-19: An Australian behaviour support service perspective
    Hagiliassis, N ; Di Marco, M ; Koritsas, S (Bild, 2020-09-01)
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    ‘Death by Twitter’: Understanding false death announcements on social media and the performance of platform cultural capital
    Nansen, B ; O'Donnell, D ; Arnold, M ; Kohn, T ; Gibbs, M (University of Illinois Libraries, 2019)
    In this paper, we analyse false death announcements of public figures on social media and public responses to them. The analysis draws from a range of public sources to collect and categorise the volume of false death announcements on Twitter and undertakes a case study analysis of representative examples. We classify false death announcements according to five overarching types: accidental; misreported; misunderstood; hacked; and hoaxed. We identify patterns of user responses, which cycle through the sharing of the news, to personal grief, to a sense of uncertainty or disbelief. But we also identify more critical and cultural responses to such death announcements in relation to misinformation and the quality of digital news, or cultures of hoax and disinformation on social media. Here we see the performance of online identity through a form that we describe, following Bourdieu as ‘platform cultural capital’.
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    Exposing the Crimes of the Neoliberal State in the Governance of COVID-19
    Catello, R (Pluto Journals, 2022)
    Two of the most promising developments to emerge from the failed attempts to contain the spread of infectious disease outbreaks since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) a pandemic on 23 January 2020 are (i) an acceleration of the critique of neoliberalism and (ii) a reinvigoration of the state crime vocabulary. As Henry Giroux (2020) argued, the pandemic has exposed “the plague of neoliberalism” and revealed the need for a new language to make sense of the current crisis. In this article, I argue that the language of state crime has both the terminological and the conceptual capacity to inform such a sense-making endeavour and, relatedly, that the academic literature on state criminality can complement critiques of the global neoliberal order in the context of the failed governance of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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    A matter of time? Institutional timescapes and gendered inequalities in the transition from education to employment in Australia
    Craig, L ; Ravn, S ; Churchill, B ; Valenzuela, MR (SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2022-11-15)
    This article explores why women miss out in the transition from the educational system to the labour market. Using nationally representative longitudinal data (2001–18) from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, we compare how long after graduation it takes men and women with tertiary qualifications (n = 2030) to achieve key labour market milestones: (1) getting a full-time job; (2) getting a permanent contract; (3) earning an average wage; (4) finding a job that matches their skill level. We find significant gender differences in reaching these milestones, confirming that time is a critical dimension for understanding gendered inequalities in the returns to education. We attribute findings to incompatible ‘timescapes’ across the institutions of education, family and employment. The more flexible timescape of education allows women to succeed, but the inflexible timescape of employment (particularly when combined with family responsibilities) impedes them from turning educational achievement into labour market progress.
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    Does Third-Party Fact-Checking Increase Trust in News Stories? An Australian Case Study Using the "Sports Rorts" Affair
    Carson, A ; Gibbons, A ; Martin, A ; Phillips, JB (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2022-01-27)
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    Factors influencing the development and implementation of national greenhouse gas inventory methodologies
    Yona, L ; Cashore, B ; Bradford, MA (TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2022-01-04)