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TASA 2017 Belonging in a Mobile World

The University of Western Australia is pleased to host the 2017 Australian Sociological Association Conference, which returns to Perth after ten years.  This year’s conference will be held at the beautiful UWA campus on the shores of the Swan River, from 28 -30 November.  As one of the most isolated cities in the world, with a very high migrant population, and highly mobile workforce including temporary visa holders and fly-in-fly-out workers, but also a range of issues around immobility, Perth is well placed to host a conference on the theme ‘Belonging in a Mobile World’. UWA promotes itself as being ‘in the zone’ – the same general time zone as 60 percent of the world’s population – a gateway to the Indo-Pacific region, ‘Looking north, thinking east, facing west’. Thus its relationship to this part of the world, its economies, cultures and peoples, and engagement with it through movement, commerce and technology, are key areas of interest.

The mobilities turn in sociology has generated questions about different modes of belonging in a world characterised by global flows and precarities. What are the implications of growing levels of permanent and temporary migration, undocumented migration, and movements of people seeking asylum? Are we really becoming superdiverse and hypermobile? How are internal movements, and movements across national borders, to be understand through a sociological lens? Have multiculturalism and social cohesion been co-opted, and to what ends?  How do culture and belief systems reflect or challenge mobility? What role has technology played in these changes, and in the maintenance and creation of relationships locally and globally? What is the relationship between social and physical mobility? How has mobility affected the range of social inequalities? What new identity formations are available, and on what grounds do solidarities inhere? What place has nationalism and cosmopolitanism in the current climate? What are the implications of contemporary mobilities for indigenous populations globally? What about the dark side of mobilities? In the Australian context for example, the Indigenous experience of mobilities as a form of colonial oppression, removal, over-representation and deaths in custody. How can Indigenous knowledges and to Indigenous voices contribute to debates about mobility and immobility.  What are the implications of mobility for the environment? These questions, and more, will form the basis for conference discussions around belonging in a mobile world.

We have a number of features of this year’s conference, including sessions on the anthropology/sociology nexus, criminal justice and Indigenous peoples, and the latest on the ethics of research. In addition, a social research methods half day will be held on the Friday after the conference.