School of Social and Political Sciences - Research Publications

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    THE AFTERLIVES OF MEMORIAL MATERIALS: DATA, HOAX, BOT
    Nansen, B ; Hjorth, L ; Pitsillides, S ; Gould, H (University of Illinois Libraries, 2019)
    The study of death online has often intersected with questions of trust, though such questions have evolved over time to not only include relations of trust between individuals and within online communities, but also issues of trust emerging through entanglements and interactions with the afterlives of memorial materials. Papers in this panel attend to the growing significance of the afterlives of digital data, the circulation of fake deaths, the care attached to memorial bots, and the intersection of robots and funerals. Over the last twenty years the study of death online developed into a diverse field of enquiry. Early literature addressed the emergence of webpages created as online memorials and focused on their function to commemorate individuals by extending memorial artefacts from physical to digital spaces for the bereaved to gather (De Vries and Rutherford, 2004; Roberts, 2004; Roberts and Vidal, 2000; Veale, 2004). The emergence of platforms for social networking in the mid-2000s broadened the scope of research to include increasingly knotted questions around the ethics, politics and economics of death online. Scholars began investigating issues like the performance of public mourning, our obligations to and management of the digital remains of the deceased, the affordances of platforms for sharing or trolling the dead, the extraction of value from the data of the deceased, and the ontology of entities that digitally persist (e.g. Brubaker and Callison-Burch, 2016; Gibbs et al., 2015; Karppi, 2013; Marwick and Ellison, 2012; Phillips, 2011; Stokes, 2012). Scaffolding this scholarship are a number of research networks, including the Death Online Research Network and the DeathTech Research Network, who encourage international collaboration and conversation around the study of death and digital media, including supporting this AoIR panel. This panel contributes to the growing field of research on death and digital media, and in particular poses challenges to focus on the commemoration of humans to encompass broader issues around the data and materiality of digital death. Digital residues of the deceased persist within and circulate through online spaces, enrolling users into new configurations of posthumous dependence on platforms, whilst at the same time digital afterlives now intersect with new technologies to create emergent forms of agency such as chatbots and robots that extend beyond the human, demanding to be considered within the sphere of digital memorialisation. Questions of trust emerge in this panel through various kinds of relationality formed with and through digital remains. These extend from relations of trust in the digital legacies now archived within platform architectures and how we might curate conversations differently around our personal data; to the breaking of trust in the internet when creating or sharing a hoax death; to the trust involved in making and caring for a posthumous bot; to the trust granted to robots to perform funerary rites. It is anticipated that this panel will not only appeal to scholars interested in the area of death and digital media, but also engage with broader scholarly communities in which questions of death now arise in larger debates around data, materiality, and governance on and of the internet. References Brubaker, J. R. and Callison-Burch, V. (2016) Legacy Contact: Designing and Implementing Post-mortem Stewardship at Facebook. Paper presented at CHI Workshop on Human Factors in Computer Systems, San Jose California. de Vries, B. and Rutherford, J. (2004) Memorializing Loved Ones on the World Wide Web. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 49(1), 5-26. Gibbs, M., Meese, J., Arnold, M., Nansen, B., and Carter, M. (2015) #Funeral and Instagram: Death, Social Media and Platform Vernacular. Information Communication and Society, 18(3): 255-268. Karppi, T. (2013) Death proof: on the biopolitics and noopolitics of memorializing dead Facebook users. Culture Machine, 14, 1-20. Marwick, A. and Ellison, N. (2012) “There Isn’t Wifi in Heaven!” Negotiating Visibility on Facebook Memorial Pages. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 56(3), 378–400. Phillips, W. (2011) LOLing at Tragedy: Facebook Trolls, Memorial Pages and Resistance to Grief Online. First Monday 16(12). Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org Roberts, P. (2004) The Living and the Dead: Community in the Virtual Cemetery. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 49(1), 57-76. Stokes, P. (2012) Ghosts in the Machine: Do the Dead Live on in Facebook? Philosophy and Technology, 25(3), 363-379. Veale, K. (2004) Online Memorialisation: The Web as a Collective Memorial Landscape For Remembering The Dead. The Fibreculture Journal, 3. Retrieved from http://three.fibreculturejournal.org  
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    The IAEA’s Role in Nuclear Security Since 2016
    Findlay, T (Nuclear Threat Initiative, 2019-02-01)
    The paper considers the performance of the International Atomic Energy Agency following the last Nuclear Security Summit in 2016
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    Regional Tools to Strengthen Nuclear Security: Asia-Pacific
    Findlay, T (Nuclear Threat Initiative, 2019-11-30)
    The paper considers the practice of nuclear security in the Asia-Pacific region and how it might be strengthened.
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    The Analytic Possibilities of 'Culture' in a Post-Prison Context
    Johns, D (Elsevier BV, 2014)
    This paper is focused on the use and usefulness of ‘culture’ as an analytical tool, in the context of prisoners’ return to the community. Whereas the analytic dimensions of the culture concept have been explored in anthropological circles, its criminological applications have been limited. While the growth of ‘cultural criminology’ signifies a resurgent interest in ethnography, subjectivity, lived experience and the phenomenological, for instance, it can be argued that its concept of culture lacks explanatory or analytical power. This paper considers the analytic possibilities of ‘culture’ as a tool for uncovering aspects of the post-imprisonment experience. It draws on interviews with released prisoners and post-release support workers, conducted for PhD research on the post-release experience of men in Victoria, to illustrate how culture applied in this way can illuminate processes underpinning and constituting the cycle of reimprisonment, or what Halsey (2006) has termed the ‘reincarceration assemblage’. Seeing culture as both a ‘product and producer’ (Sampson & Bean, 2006) of this assemblage reveals elements which contribute to the continuation of the cycle, and which can counteract efforts – on the part of ex-prisoners themselves and society more broadly – towards reintegration and reduced reoffending. A cultural perspective can thus provide a way of understanding men’s experience of getting out and staying out of prison, and how penological thinking may make use of such a lens.
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    A Social Ecological Approach to ‘Child Friendly’ Youth Justice
    Johns, D ; Bateman, T ; Goodfellow, P ; Little, R ; Wigzell, A (National Association for Youth Justice (NAYJ), 2018)
    This paper draws on research on young people’s prolific offending in Wales, and youth justice responses to it, between 2009 and 2015. A case study of twelve young people, and the YOT workers who supervised and supported them through their teenage years, illustrates how seeing young people through the lens of interactions and relationships – with family, peers, community and the broader socio-cultural-political context – gives insight into the type of interventions that can most effectively disrupt their offending and enhance their wellbeing. These insights have implications for the way in which youth offending teams engage with young people, to bring about positive change in their lives. We argue that interrupting persistent and prolific offending patterns requires a long-term, relationship-focused approach that supports young people’s positive identity development, in its social context. I outline the key features of such an approach and how and why it exemplifies ‘child-friendly’ youth justice.
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    Migration without mobility
    DAWSON, A (The International Academic Forum, 2016)
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    'Well, that just complicates matters': The prevalence of long-term poverty in a rural Victorian community, and its interface with enactments of social and health policy directives through government agencies.
    HOLMES, T (Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association inc., 2015-12-21)
    This paper discusses aspects of a recent anthropological research project, broadly focused on use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in a rural Victorian community. Participative research facilitated an in-depth understanding of the lives and character of residents of the community, in terms of their experience of entrenched poverty, and the relationship of this circumstance to personal and family hardships, impacted further by formalised enactments of moral health policy directives and institutionalised duty-of-care, through government agencies, including the Department of Human Services, the mental health system, and decision-makers in the welfare sector. In a community where little employment is available within reasonable travelling distance, the most impoverished persons encountered during the research were sole-parents and their children, who are specifically affected by recent changes to welfare payment rates designed to stimulate their increased effort to find gainful employment. Building from simple structuring frameworks developed from anonymous quantitative appraisal of a poor segment of the community, and numerical tally of known community members and interviewees with mental health problems, the paper unpacks richly descriptive ethnographic data from the stories of research participants, particularly highlighting narratives about lives lived in the long-term role of sole-parents, and through the eyes of mentally ill persons. Recent ‘improvements’ in policy approaches – addressing the seeming worklessness of sole-parents, the need to accommodate children when family problems arise (often targeting Aboriginal, migrant, mentally ill, and sole-parent families), and the exercise of powerful and increasingly legalised sanctions that subjugate and control the experience of mental illness, for the benefit of sufferers, families and communities – provide an effective government-citizen interface that serves to complicate the life experiences of impoverished Australians, and seemingly overlooks attempts at realistic, supportive solutions. This problem was starkly apparent even in a relatively trouble-free yet poor community without imposed ‘income management’.
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    Traditional herbal medicine may promote wellbeing in Africa, consistent with the aims of post-2015 development goals.
    HOLMES, T ; Kelly, M (AFSAAP, 2016-02-05)
    This paper is based on the theoretical background of a recent Australian anthropological research project describing persistent use of complementary, alternative and traditional medicine (CAM) by poor people, in a first-world country where CAM is positioned as marginal relative to dominant biomedicine. Studies found CAM’s sidelined status was especially prevalent in context of consumers supporting their own wellbeing while receiving conventional HIV/AIDS treatment. Due to ongoing medicalisation processes, a construed CAM marginality is also extended to traditional medicine use in resource-poor countries in Africa, despite pharmaceuticals often being unaffordable. Anthropological studies describe traditional medicine’s diminished social location in light of cultural considerations, and relevance to issues of poverty and socio-economic development. A growing body of ethnobotanical and laboratory research demonstrates potential uses and effectiveness of traditional indigenous and naturalised African herbs, for allaying hunger and ameliorating serious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia, diarrhoea, and other infective, nutritional, and metabolic conditions. Traditional herbs may be protective where reduced dependence on expensive internationally-sourced pharmaceuticals is common, and reinforces the significance of cultural heritage in planning new developmental directions in challenging circumstances. The author acknowledges recent research about African herbal medicines, and suggests traditional herbal medicine is appropriate in African healthcare contexts, whether for treatment, maintenance of wellbeing, or to improve preventative care and health promotion. She highlights its prospective contribution to poverty alleviation and realisation of development goals.
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    Minutes of Evidence: Raising Awareness of Structural Injustice and Justice
    Balint, J ; Evans, J ; Mcmillan, NC (James Cook University, 2012)