Police Brutality of Young Aboriginal Girls

Police brutality in Glen Innes, New South Wales, against a group of young Indigenous girls. You can hear one of the girls say she’ll comply with police but she wants to call her parents as they’re under 16. The policeman says no. It seems his partner, a woman’s voice off camera, tells the girls to comply: ‘Don’t make it worse for yourselves.’ Policeman says: ‘It already is worse for yourselves.’ Continue reading Police Brutality of Young Aboriginal Girls

Reflections and Rituals

Visual sociology of the rest of November 2017 with gorgeous blooms, an urban bunny and mass displays of social identity.

Tourists caused a kerfuffle on McDougall Street in Kirribilli, by taking photos of the jacaranda trees in bloom. The trees are plentiful around Sydney and other parts of Australia and warm climates. 6 November 2017

Out in the Field

Visual sociology of my travels around the North and South Coast of New South Wales for fieldwork and some overnight training, from early October to the end of November 2017.

During the week, I was doing fieldwork research and look at all the trolleys I saw in one day! It was a Sociology Of Trolleys bonanza. 7 October 2017

Continue reading Out in the Field

Sociology of Abortion Politics

Women protesting, with a sign that reads "My body. My choice."

This week, on 11 May 2017, a bill two-years-in-the-making to decriminalise abortion in the state of New South Wales, Australia, was defeated 14 to 25, meaning abortion remains a crime under the Criminal Act. Greens MP and Spokesperson for the Status of Women, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, who led the campaign to decriminalise said: “This bill was not about promoting or not promoting abortion. It was about choice.”

Another separate bill to establish 150 metre safe zones to protect abortion clinics has been introduced by Labor MP Penny Sharpe. This bill works to eliminate harassment and intimidation by anti-choice lobbyists who film and degrade women who walk into clinics.

In NSW, women can access abortions only with their doctor’s consent that there are “reasonable grounds” for the abortion, linked to physical and mental danger. Otherwise abortion is punishable by five years in jail.

This law has been in place since the 1970s, but stems back to 1900. Counter to national myths of our egalitarianism, abortion laws unearth how gender inequality is maintained by White, conservative Christian patriarchal ideology that seeks to control women’s autonomy. Sociological studies show how medical professionals have long been at the vanguard of change, by shifting understandings of abortion from moral arguments, to a medical choice.

Christian lobby groups, who hold strong political power, push back against medical and community views, using emotional imagery to influence abortion laws. This has proven effective over time, and continues to hold back progress in New South Wales (and Queensland, another conservative stronghold). Despite this recent set-back, momentum towards progressive change continues. A better sociological understanding of religiously conservative ideology and tactics may hold the key towards the next legal breakthrough.

 

Continue reading Sociology of Abortion Politics

Representing Chinese-Australian Food in Regional New South Wales

Mandarin Palace in Lismore bizarrely advertises that it serves Australian & Chinese food… and yet it exclusively has Chinese items on their menu. The manager and servers are all Anglo-Australian.

On the one hand – what is “Australian” food? Diverse Indigenous foods are our only unique cuisine – but most non-Indigenous Australians do not eat these regularly. Aside for a few novel culinary inventions by Anglo-Australian hybrid cultures, the rest of what is considered Australian is a local mish-mash of migrant dishes. In this sense, what is considered “Chinese food” in Australia is not part of “traditional” or modern meals from China. Continue reading Representing Chinese-Australian Food in Regional New South Wales

On the Road Again

Visual sociology for December 2015 is another whirlwind around multiple cities, from regional New South Wales to Sydney. There’s beautiful glass art from artist Jenni Kemarre Martiniello and a stroll through the Friendship Garden.

Regional New South Wales

Proud of our elders. 1 December Continue reading On the Road Again

High Court Win for Transgender People

In June 2013, I wrote about Norrie, a transgender woman from New South Wales (pictured above), who had successfully petitioned The New South Wales Court of Appeal to be given the right not to list her gender as either male or female.

Predictably, this New South Wales decision had been appealed and it went to the High Court. This morning, they ruled that New South Wales law can indeed recognise non-specific genders other than male or female.

See the legal document below.

High Court ruling: NSW Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages v Norrie

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Photo and news: SBS News.