School of Social and Political Sciences - Research Publications

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    Managing pandemics as super wicked problems: lessons from, and for, COVID-19 and the climate crisis
    Auld, G ; Bernstein, S ; Cashore, B ; Levin, K (SPRINGER, 2021-11-17)
    COVID-19 has caused 100s of millions of infections and millions of deaths worldwide, overwhelming health and economic capacities in many countries and at multiple scales. The immediacy and magnitude of this crisis has resulted in government officials, practitioners and applied scholars turning to reflexive learning exercises to generate insights for managing the reverberating effects of this disease as well as the next inevitable pandemic. We contribute to both tasks by assessing COVID-19 as a "super wicked" problem denoted by four features we originally formulated to describe the climate crisis: time is running out, no central authority, those causing the problem also want to solve it, and policies irrationally discount the future (Levin et al. in Playing it forward: path dependency, progressive incrementalism, and the "super wicked" problem of global climate change, 2007; Levin et al. in Playing it forward: Path dependency, progressive incrementalism, and the "super wicked" problem of global climate change, 2009; Levin et al. in Policy Sci 45(2):123-152, 2012). Doing so leads us to identify three overarching imperatives critical for pandemic management. First, similar to requirements to address the climate crisis, policy makers must establish and maintain durable policy objectives. Second, in contrast to climate, management responses must always allow for swift changes in policy settings and calibrations given rapid and evolving knowledge about a particular disease's epidemiology. Third, analogous to, but with swifter effects than climate, wide-ranging global efforts, if well designed, will dramatically reduce domestic costs and resource requirements by curbing the spread of the disease and/or fostering relevant knowledge for managing containment and eradication. Accomplishing these tasks requires building the analytic capacity for engaging in reflexive anticipatory policy design exercises aimed at maintaining, or building, life-saving thermostatic institutions at the global and domestic levels.
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    Refining national greenhouse gas inventories
    Yona, L ; Cashore, B ; Jackson, RB ; Ometto, J ; Bradford, MA (SPRINGER, 2020-01-24)
    The importance of greenhouse gas inventories cannot be overstated: the process of producing inventories informs strategies that governments will use to meet emissions reduction targets. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) leads an effort to develop and refine internationally agreed upon methodologies for calculating and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and removals. We argue that these guidelines are not equipped to handle the task of developing national greenhouse gas inventories for most countries. Inventory guidelines are vital to implementing climate action, and we highlight opportunities to improve their timeliness and accuracy. Such reforms should provide the means to better understand and advance the progress countries are making toward their Paris commitments. Now is the time to consider challenges posed by the current process to develop the guidelines, and to avail the policy community of recent major advances in quantitative and expert synthesis to overhaul the process and thereby better equip multi-national efforts to limit climate change.
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    Unpaid Work and Care During COVID-19: Subjective Experiences of Same-Sex Couples and Single Mothers in Australia
    Craig, L ; Churchill, B (SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2021-03-19)
    This paper draws on data from Work and Care During COVID-19, an online survey of Australians during pandemic lockdown in May 2020 (n = 2,722). It focuses on how subsamples of lesbian, gay, and bisexual mothers and fathers in couples (n = 280) and single mothers (n = 480) subjectively experienced unpaid work and care during lockdown compared with heterosexual mothers and fathers in couples, and with partnered mothers, respectively. During the pandemic, nonheterosexual fathers’ subjective reports were less negative than those of their heterosexual counterparts, but differences between heterosexual and lesbian/bisexual mothers were more mixed. Unlike their partnered counterparts, more single mothers reported feeling satisfied than before with their balance of paid and unpaid work and how they spent their time overall during the pandemic, perhaps because they avoided partnership conflicts and particularly benefited from relaxed commuting and child care deadlines.
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    Media, mortality and necro-technologies: Eulogies for dead media
    Nansen, B ; Gould, H ; Arnold, M ; Gibbs, M (SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2021-07-09)
    Working at the intersection of death studies and media studies, this article examines what we can learn from the death of media technologies designed for the deceased, what we refer to as necro-technologies. Media deaths illuminate a tension between the promise of persistence and realities of precariousness embodied in all media. This tension is, however, more visibly strained by the mortality of technologies designed to mediate and memorialise the human dead by making explicit the limitations of digital eternity implied by products in the funeral industry. In this article, we historicise and define necro-technologies within broader discussions of media obsolescence and death. Drawing from our funeral industry fieldwork, we then provide four examples of recently deceased necro-technologies that are presented in the form of eulogies. These eulogies offer a stylised but culturally significant format of remembrance to create an historical record of the deceased and their life. These necro-technologies are the funeral attendance robot CARL, the in-coffin sound system CataCombo, the posthumous messaging service DeadSocial and the digital avatar service Virtual Eternity. We consider what is at stake when technologies designed to enliven the human deceased – often in perpetuity – are themselves subject to mortality. We suggest a number of entangled economic, cultural and technical reasons for the failure of necro-technologies within the specific contexts of the death care industry, which may also help to highlight broader forces of mortality affecting all media technologies. These are described as misplaced commercial imaginaries, cultural reticence and material impermanence. In thinking about the deaths of necro-technologies, and their causes, we propose a new form of death, a ‘material death’ that extends beyond biological, social and memorial forms of human death already established to account for the finitude of media materiality and memory.
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    Self-managed aged home care in Australia - Insights from older people, family carers and service providers
    Laragy, C ; Vasiliadis, SD (WILEY, 2021-12-30)
    This paper presents findings from the evaluation of an Australian trial of self-managed home aged care. The self-management model was codesigned by advocacy organisation COTA Australia, consumers and service providers. The primary aim of the evaluation was to examine whether self-management improved consumers' perceptions of their choice, control, and wellbeing. The secondary aim was to examine whether provider prior experience with self-managed packages significantly influenced consumers' perceptions of choice, control and wellbeing, thereby confounded trial effects. A pre-test post-test quasi-experimental design and mixed-methods design were used to collect data over nine months in 2018-2019. The pre-trial methods and findings have been published. The post-trial evaluation replicated the pre-trial data collection method of an online survey (n = 60) and semi-structured telephone interviews with consumers (n = 9), family carers (n = 13), and consumers and carers jointly (n = 2), totalling 24 interviews. Semi-structured telephone interviews were also conducted with CEOs and senior managers from each of the seven providers (n = 14). Three providers had prior experience supporting self-management. Parametric and non-parametric tests examined the statistical data. Qualitative data were analysed thematically and framed according to self-determination principles and ecological systems theory. Both datasets demonstrated that consumers reported greater choice and control at post-trial than pre-trial. This finding was not affected by providers' prior experience with self-management; therefore, it was not a confounding factor. Participants reported improved wellbeing in interviews, however this was not reinforced statistically. Key desirable features of self-management included greater autonomy and control over spending, recruiting support staff and paying lower administration fees. There was no evidence of increased risks or fraud. The research limitations included a small sample size, convenience sampling with providers recruiting interview participants, no control group and differences in trial implementation. The findings support the expansion of self-management opportunities and more comprehensive evaluations that use mixed methods.
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    Children's sleep and fathers' health and wellbeing: A systematic review
    Coles, L ; Thorpe, K ; Smith, S ; Hewitt, B ; Ruppanner, L ; Bayliss, O ; O'Flaherty, M ; Staton, S (W B SAUNDERS CO LTD, 2021-12-09)
    Night-waking is typical across infancy and early childhood, inevitably disrupting family sleep. For some children, sleep problems develop and endure throughout childhood. This systematic review focused on fathers, and synthesised the evidence pertaining to the effects of children's sleep (from birth to 12 years) on fathers' health and wellbeing. A total of 29 studies were included. Key outcomes reported for fathers were: sleep and fatigue; mental and general health; and family functioning. An association between child sleep and father's sleep was observed when child's sleep was measured via actigraphy or paternal report, but not when measured via maternal report, suggesting that mothers may not always be aware of disruptions that awaken fathers. Findings showed poorer child sleep was associated with poorer general health and wellbeing among fathers, however, associations of poor child sleep with depression were fewer, and less frequent than those reported for mothers in the same households. Poor child sleep was negatively associated with the quality of family relationships, both within the couple and between parent and child. Future studies seeking to understand the interplay of child sleep and family wellbeing should apply objective measurement of sleep and integrate formal measures of family dynamics into the study design.
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    Social Sustainability and Ulaanbaatar's 'Ger Districts': Access and Mobility Issues and Opportunities
    Hamiduddin, I ; Fitzpatrick, D ; Plueckhahn, R ; Sangi, U ; Batjargal, E ; Sumiyasuren, E (MDPI, 2021-10-01)
    This paper explores the concept of social sustainability in Ulaanbaatar’s ger districts in relation to access and mobility. Although ger districts are well-established in Mongolian culture as ephemeral encampments with transient residents, contemporary ger districts have become large and permanent residential districts that are now home to an estimated one-third of the country’s population. The more recent growth of the ger districts has taken place in three decades since Mongolia embraced market-based liberal economics, coinciding with waves of socially and economically-motivated urbanisation. More recently, difficult environmental conditions in rural Mongolia have created new waves of migration. The unfolding situation means that the ger districts have grown with little of the forward planning present in other built areas of the city. In turn, this has led to significant imbalances in the provision of transport services into the ger districts and the problems of access and mobility that this paper has highlighted. This paper has identified community-based local transport and delivery services as one potential means for addressing existing access and mobility shortcomings. Such approaches could provide temporary or complementary services alongside other public policy approaches.
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    Generation Solidarity? The young (and old) Australians who are rejecting age-related stereotypes
    Hookway, N ; Woodman, D (Sociological Review Foundation, 2021-10-05)
    Generation has become one of the major lenses we use to understand the big issues and challenges of our time, from housing and employment to climate change and the impact of the pandemic. It’s common to read about narcissistic millennials, and more recently about selfish baby boomers, and increasingly anxious, tech-distracted Generation Zs. Often these labels register societal anxieties about social change and are levelled at younger people.
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    Medicinal cannabis and driving: the intersection of health and road safety policy
    Perkins, D ; Brophy, H ; McGregor, I ; O'Brien, P ; Quilter, J ; McNamara, L ; Sarris, J ; Stevenson, M ; Glesson, P ; Sinclair, J ; Dietze, P (Elsevier, 2021-11-01)
    Background Recent shifting attitudes towards the medical use of cannabis has seen legal access pathways established in many jurisdictions in North America, Europe and Australasia. However, the positioning of cannabis as a legitimate medical product produces some tensions with other regulatory frameworks. A notable example of this is the so-called ‘zero tolerance’ drug driving legal frameworks, which criminalise the presence of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in a driver's bodily fluids irrespective of impairment. Here we undertake an analysis of this policy issue based on a case study of the introduction of medicinal cannabis in Australia. Methods We examine the regulatory approaches used for managing road safety risks associated with potentially impairing prescription medicines and illicit drugs in Australian jurisdictions, as well as providing an overview of evidence relating to cannabis and road safety risk, unintended impacts of the ‘zero-tolerance’ approach on patients, and the regulation of medicinal cannabis and driving in comparable jurisdictions. Results Road safety risks associated with medicinal cannabis appear similar or lower than numerous other potentially impairing prescription medications. The application of presence-based offences to medicinal cannabis patients appears to derive from the historical status of cannabis as a prohibited drug with no legitimate medical application. This approach is resulting in patient harms including criminal sanctions when not impaired and using the drug as directed by their doctor, or the forfeiting of car use and related mobility. Others who need to drive are excluded from accessing a needed medication and associated therapeutic benefit. ‘Medical exemptions’ for medicinal cannabis in comparable jurisdictions and other drugs included in presence offences in Australia (e.g. methadone) demonstrate a feasible alternative approach. Conclusion We conclude that in medical-only access models there is little evidence to justify the differential treatment of medicinal cannabis patients, compared with those taking other prescription medications with potentially impairing effects.