CIDRN:Professor Bowen Paulle, University of Amsterdam

Our colleagues and friends over at Victoria University’s Community, Identity and Displacement Research Network have two great seminars coming up in December by Professor Bowen Paulle, University of Amsterdam.

Wednesday 2December at 6.00pm-7.00pm

Theatre 1101, 11th Floor, City FlindersCampus, 300 Flinders Street
(followed by light refreshments)
Dealing with disadvantage: From confusion about disciplining and ethnicization to clarity on what is to be done

Abstract: Gaps in life chances between the privileged and the disadvantaged are widening in many post-industrialized settings. Educational systems around the world are reinforcing broader socio-economic inequalities rather than mitigating them. As developments in the U.S. over the past 40 years demonstrate, allowing inequalities to spiral out of control leads to massive suffering—especially among the putatively undisciplined communities left behind—and polarization. As the rise of social nationalist (and openly xenophobic) parties across Europe indicates, ethno-political entrepreneurs can easily channel class-based resentment into dangerous voting blocks. Against this backdrop, Paulle argues that a great deal of conceptual confusion hinders discussions related to disciplining and ethnicisation. Informed by continuing research on high poverty, emotionally toxic (educational) environments and genuinely innovative efforts to protect those most immediately at risk of chronic exposure to them, Paulle argues that building on two major sociologists’ work can help us achieve greater clarity and outcomes from which all of us stand to gain.


Sport in Society
Ethnography and Social Theory
Meet the Ethnographer #3:
Thursday December 3 2015
10.00am – 1pm
In this instalment of the ‘Meet the Ethnographer’ series, Dr Bo Paulle demonstrates the application of social theory to his considerable ethnographic experience. Of special interest for HDR students is Bo’s ability, not only to theorize his data, but to use theory to inform on how to make changes to the field. Bo will be presenting work from his outstanding book, Toxic Schools (University of Chigaco Press, 2013), which is based on six years of teaching and research in two schools in the South Bronx and in Southeast Amsterdam. Dr Paulle takes us into the intimate embodied experiences of students and teachers and how they cope with chronic stress, peer group dynamics, and subtle power politics of urban educational spaces in the perpetual shadow of aggression.
Participants in the workshop will be provided with a selected reading list from Dr Paulle. The workshop will enhance HDR student’s knowledge and practical understanding of ethnographic method and provide the opportunity to discuss and debate the application of social theory to the fieldwork experience.
To register your attendance at the workshop or for any queries, please contact


IRN Seminar: Race, Identity and Postcolonialism. October 30th, 2-4pm.


Nilmini Fernando
University College Cork, Ireland
Postcolonial Asylum: A Critical Black Feminist Approach in the (Postcolonial) Irish Context

Viktoria Adler
Swinburne University
“Being white” in Australia. Life stories of upper/middle class Colombian migrant women living in Melbourne

Hamza Jehangir
University of Melbourne
Reimagining the Political: Questioning the Comparative Scope of Deliberative Democracy in the non-Western context

June Seminar: Performativity and Mediated Identity.

Our June seminar promises to be stimulating as our 3 guest researchers
unpack our theme Performativity and Mediated Identity.

Dr. Lee Humphreys (Cornell University, USA):
‘Performativity of self’.

Dr. Patrick Kelly (RMIT University):
‘Evocative Autoethnography in Documentary Film’.

Dr. Liam Burke (Swinburne University):
‘New Media, Aging, and Migration: Documenting how Melbourne’s Irish community use social media’.

Date: Friday 26 June 2015 Time: 2-4pm

Location: Penang Room, Level 3, Swinburne Library, Hawthorn Campus.

Everyone is welcome. So come along for what promises to be a dynamic research event.

May Seminar: Virtual Identities and Gaming

Our May seminar is only a week away! We have three fabulous presenters lined up for our theme ‘Virtual identities and gaming’:

Crystal Abidin (The University of Western Australia):

‘The virtual, the digital, the media: Contemporary ethnographic investigations’

Mark Finn (Swinburne University):

‘Gamer identity and the politics of play’

Steven Conway (Swinburne University):

‘Identity and the game event’

Date: Friday 29 May 2015

Time: 2-4pm

Location: Penang Room, Level 3, Swinburne Library, Hawthorn Campus.

Come and join us for what is sure to be an engaging event. See you there!

April Seminar: Gender

The Identity Research Network is excited to announce the first seminar for what is sure to be an exciting and engaging 2015 series for the Identity Research Network, and which is now only 2 weeks away! The theme for the first seminar is ‘Gender’, and we have three fabulous presenters:

Dr Cai Wilkinson (Deakin University, Melbourne):

‘Mother Russia in queer peril’.

Julia Richardson (Deakin University, Melbourne):

‘Gender norms, motherhood as “sacred duty” and national identity in Turkey’.

Dr Lauren Gurrieri (Swinburne University, Melbourne):

‘Gender violence, advertising and taboo’.

 Date: Friday 24 April

Time: 2-4pm

Location: Penang Room, Level 3, Swinburne Library, Hawthorn Campus.

As with last year, the Penang Room will be the IRN stomping ground for the year, and the last Friday of every month will be when we are holding our seminars, so you can mark them in your diaries now.

First Seminar for 2015: Line-up announced!

Hello IRN-ers. We are very excited to announce the first seminar for what is sure to be an exciting and engaging 2015 series for the Identity Research Network. The theme for the first seminar is ‘Gender’, and we have three fabulous presenters:

Dr Cai Wilkinson (Deakin University, Melbourne):

‘Mother Russia in queer peril’.

Julia Richardson (Deakin University, Melbourne):

‘Gender norms, motherhood as “sacred duty” and national identity in Turkey’.

Dr Lauren Gurrieri (Swinburne University, Melbourne):

‘Gender violence, advertising and taboo’.

Date: Friday 24 April

Time: 2-4pm

Location: Penang Room, Level 3, Swinburne Library, Hawthorn Campus.

As with last year, the Penang Room will be the IRN stomping ground for the year, and the last Friday of every month will be when we are holding our seminars, so you can mark them in your diaries now. We will be making rolling announcements with details about the themes and presenters of future seminars, watch this space!

2014 Research Workshop: Summary and Highlights

The Identity Research Network ended an exciting first year with a day-long multidisciplinary workshop on December 3rd at Swinburne University on engagements with ‘identity’. Bringing together established and early-career academics across disciplines, from Melbourne and interstate, and representing all our research nodes, we had an exciting and engaging day of presentations, discussions, questions and informal conversations.

For those who couldn’t be there (or those who want to remind themselves of this excellent event), we’ve summarised the workshop in this blog post. We hope it will help link ongoing conversations and prompt broader discussions within and beyond the Network!

Morning Sessions: From the National to the Intimate and Back Again

We started our day with interesting papers from Katie Linnane and Sarah Smith in our first session. Sarah argued that UN’s approach to East Timor had a gendering role and actually ‘flattened’ women’s complex involvement in conflict and peace. Katie took us to the Keating and Howard eras of Australian politics to explore these PMs’ contrasting formations of Australian identity within their foreign policy demonstrating how both reflect a ‘vernacular of national identity’.

We shifted gears for our second session in which Monique Scott, Bronte McLeod, and Andrea Wallace approached identity from a psychological perspective asking us to consider in various ways the formation or maintenance of self in the context of mental illness. Monique prompted the workshop to consider a more complex understand of hearing voices as reflections of self, while Bronte explored personal recovery from mental illness and then effect of self-stigma in that process. Andrea rounded off the session by reconceptualising OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) as shame-regulation strategies.


From the personal to the national—our third session featured Chris Mudaliar and Alex Stewart who both extended our understanding of national identity formation in official discourse in Fiji. While Chris was interested in how historical context, ethnic identity and the construction of an overarching national identity through formal institutions creates contemporary Fijian identity, Alex explored how Fiji projects its identity in the international community seeing Fiji’s self identity as deeply connected to how it engages in regional politics.

At this half-way point of the workshop, although our stomachs were ready for lunch, question time provoked a range of interesting discussions linking these diverse presentations. Can psychological approaches to ideas of guilt and shame link to analyses of national identity? Do approaches like Sarah’s which complicate institutional processes provide a way to engage the personal within the national/international and vice-versa (structures within the personal) that the other presenters were exploring?

Afternoon Sessions: Mediated, Mobile, and Marginal Identities

crystaltwitterpicofworkshopWith our hunger sated, we  we exploited the magic of technology to have Crystal Abidin present her paper from Perth via Skype to kick off our fourth session. Crystal talked about microblogging and identity formation, prompting a flurry of questions from audience about the commercialisation of the self, ‘authenticity’ and importance of reflective practice in ethnographic research such as Crystal’s. Next in this session was Helena Liu with the provocative idea that sexuality/eroticism in relation to identity formation may have a place in the workplace. Helena explored the way Asian men in Australian business contexts are constructed as subservient and asexual by patriarchal norms and how they reclaim eroticism to challenge this. Rounding out our session on mediated identities, Diana Bossio asked how journalists negotiate their professional and personal identities in online spaces, proposing three approaches: conflicted about what to show, see social media as a professional ‘brand, and see the personal and professional as fused.

True to our commitment to multidisciplinary approaches our fifth session featured Michaela Callaghan and Omid Tofighian talking about dance and music in diverse contexts of identity formation. Michaela discussed her fieldwork that explored how dance practices in Ayacucho, Peru hold identity and embodied memory and are used/claim post conflict. In a fascinating discussion of complexity of identity, culture and conflict Michaela explored the choreography of place. Omid brought us closer to home with his discussion of how the Australian rap and hip-hop scene reflects issues with multiculturalism and marginalisation. Migrants, refugees, indigenous performers and others connect to make a new form of music in Australia.

In our final session of the day Riccardo Armellei, Samid Suliman, and Helen Berents brought questions of mobility, migration and marginalisation into the mix of ideas already presented in the workshop. Riccardo’s complex paper explored the politics of Romanies in Italy arguing for the space of the camp as one of oppression but also resistance. The ‘camp system’ is a deeply rooted exogenous tool of control, but also as a endogenous tool of the occupants to fight back. Samid moved smoothly from Riccardo’s paper to explore how the transnational movement of people challenge borders and concepts of identity; borderlands challenge ideas of sovereign self and evidence that everyday life happens despite borders. Helen rounded out the day by exploring the complications of belonging for internally displaced populations in Colombia and their use of space to claim back identities and notions of citizenship and rights.


Complexity and Diversity: Conclusions of the IRN 2014 Research Workshop

workshopdrinksAt the conclusion of the day the final discussion and questions drew attention to the multiple and complex ways that identity can be discussed across disciplines and in all times and spaces. There was recognition that marginalisation and marginal spaces present challenges to dominant ideas of identity whether that is the ethnicity of a businessman, the traditional dance practices of Ayacucho people, or those who live on and across formal borders. Identity is linked to place and space, to collective belonging, and individual self-formation.

Presenters and attendees continued to explore these threads and ideas at the pub that evening. However, before the workshop concluded Chris Agius noted that the IRN would pursue publication opportunities for the papers presented in the workshop, so those who couldn’t make the workshop can look forward to reading these ideas in greater detail. Chris, Dean and Helen wanted to thank all the presenters for making the workshop the stimulating event that it was, and for all our attendees for prompting interesting and engaged discussions throughout the day.

Onwards to 2015!

We were so excited to end our first year on such a high note. We are thoroughly looking forward to extending these conversations and starting many new ones via our monthly seminars and other events with you all in 2015!

Thanks for a great start in 2014! Back in 2015 with more seminars and work!

Thanks to all our members and supporters for a fantastic start to our IRN in 2014. We’re taking a break for now over the summer as we prepare our publishing plans and start formulating the monthly seminar series for 2015, which will start around March or April.

In particular, we’d like to thank Swinburne’s Faculty Research Development Grant Scheme, which has helped us launch our work and bring together so many great people. The Department of Education and Social Sciences and the Swinburne Institute for Social Research have also provided much valued support to our activities. Without their support and encouragement, the IRN would not be as successful as it has been (and we’d be a hungier bunch of researchers!).

Special thanks are also in order for Helen Berents, who has done a spectacular job of managing and contributing to the IRN’s success. Thank you Helen!

Have a great break and see you next year!
Chris and Dean.

Research Workshop Program and Abstracts

Our Research Workshop this Wednesday (3 December) at Swinburne University in Melbourne, brings together established and early career academics across disciplines (and from all our research nodes) whose research explores the concept of ‘identity’ in many different ways.

The workshop includes presentations discussing current research understanding hearing voices as a dimension of ‘self’; explorations of national identity in Fiji; research that focuses on microbloggers’ construction and circulation of ‘social currency’ as business strategy; and detailed examination of interactions between Romanies, local institutions and others in Italy; amongst many other presentations. You can read all the fabulous abstracts here [pdf]: IRN Workshop Abstracts

The Workshop program is available here [pdf]: IRN Workshop Schedule
There is still space available if you’d like to come along on Wednesday. Please email to RSVP. We’d love to see you there!

If you can’t make it, we’ll be tweeting on the #IRN14 hashtag on twitter–feel free to follow along and contribute to the discussion online.

December Workshop Preliminary Programme Available

We are excited today to make available the preliminary programme for our one-day Research Workshop, being held on the 3rd of December at Swinburne University in Melbourne.

We’ve got a fabulous range of presenters from across our Research Nodes, and representing a wide range of disciplines. We are looking forward to engaging discussions and provocative connections through the research projects being presented.

The preliminary programme is available to download here [pdf]: IRN_WorkshopSchedulePRELIM

We look forward to welcoming members of the IRN, and other researchers who are interested to attend and participate in discussions. If you wish to attend, please RSVP to as soon as possible.