Top Menu

Plenaries & Panels

1.       Sociology of Youth

Rethinking Youth Sociology: A Spotlight on the Work of Johanna Wyn

This special panel session of the Thematic Group on Youth reflects on the work of Johanna Wyn on the occasion of her retirement and invites discussion of the past, present and future of youth sociology. Director of the Youth Research Centre at the University of Melbourne from 1991-2017, author of countless influential publications including 11 monographs such as Rethinking Youth (with Rob White), Youth and Generation (with Dan Woodman) and Youth and Society (with Rob White and Brady Robards), and leader of the ARC funded longitudinal Life Patterns research program for over 20 years, Johanna has pioneered a critical, interconnected youth studies across the domains of transition, gender, wellbeing and inequality that bridges gaps between theory and policy, crosses disciplinary borders and links methodological approaches. Many of the issues and frameworks that Johanna has developed throughout her career have become central to youth sociology. The international impact of her work is recognised by her Fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences of Britain, the Academy describing her as ‘a leading sociologist who has pioneered new approaches to the study of youth and young adulthood which have had a major influence on researchers in Australia, Europe and North America’. This panel considers how her work has shaped the field and what questions her research agenda poses about dilemmas, opportunities and impetuses for youth studies research now and into the future.

Johanna will open the panel with reflections on the field and provocations for youth sociology today. Panellists will critically discuss some core aspects of her work, including the structure/agency tension in youth studies; the concept of a new adulthood in relation to youth transitions; questions of gender and generation, and the connections she has forged between sociologies of youth, childhood and the life course in international context. They will also respond to Johanna’s call to map out a future research agenda for youth sociology: what questions need answering, what are the conceptual breakthroughs required and what evidence will make the case?​​

Spotlight Speaker:

Johanna Wyn is a Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor in the Youth Research Centre and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia and the Academy of Social Sciences, UK. She is engaged in multidisciplinary and multi-method research on the ways in which young people navigate their lives in a changing world, with a focus on the areas of transition, gender, wellbeing and inequality. Her work recognises that young people are active citizens, cultural creators and active agents in learning and wellbeing. She leads the ARC funded Life Patterns longitudinal research program and has a strong research track record of competitive research grants and consultancies and tenders from a range of stakeholders, including government departments, foundations and the private sector.


Madeleine Leonard is a Professor of Sociology at Queen’s University, Belfast. Her main research interest is in teenagers’ everyday experiences of growing up in politically sensitive societies, and she has carried out research into the experiences and perceptions of Catholic and Protestant teenagers growing up in Belfast as part of an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) project ‘Conflict in Cities and the Contested State’ ( She is a founder member of the European Sociological Association’s Research Network for the Sociology of Children and Childhood. Her recent books include The Sociology of Children, Childhood and Generation, and Teens and Territory in Post-Conflict Belfast: If Walls Could Talk.

Julia Coffey is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Her research is focuses on gender, youth, health and the body. She is the author of two books, Body Work: Gender, Health and Embodiment and Learning Bodies: The Body in Youth and Childhood Studies (edited with Helen Cahill and Shelley Budgeon).

Rob White is Professor of Criminology at the University of Tasmania. He is co-author with Johanna Wyn of Rethinking Youth; and Youth and Society. His other youth studies books include Youth Gangs, Violence and Social Respect; No Space of Their Own; and Juvenile Justice: Youth and Crime in Australia (with Chris Cunneen and Kelly Richards). He is academic editor of the Journal of Applied Youth Studies.

Dan Woodman is TR Ashworth Associate Professor of Sociology and Assistant Dean for Engagement in the Faculty of Arts at University of Melbourne. He is President of The Australian Sociological Association and Vice President for Oceania in the Research Committee on the Sociology of Youth within the International Sociological Association. Dan’s primary research area is the sociology of young adulthood and generations, and he uses this focus to also contribute to the sociology of work and to sociological theory. He is co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Youth Studies.

Panel Chair:

Anita Harris is a research professor in the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University. She researches in the area of youth identities, cultures, mobilities and citizenship in changing times. She is the author/editor of several books in youth studies and girls’ studies, and has undertaken a series of ARC projects on young people’s civic engagement, intercultural relations and social inclusion in the context of migration and diversity. She is currently exploring the effects of transnational mobility on youth transitions with colleagues Loretta Baldassar and Shanthi Robertson through their longitudinal ARC project ‘YMAP’ (youth mobility, aspirations and pathways:

1.      Religion

Religion, Sexuality and Young People in Australia and the UK

This panel, featuring international experts from the United Kingdom and Australia, reports on recent studies in the field of young people, religion, and sexuality.

Mary-Lou Rasmussen

Professor Mary Lou Rasmussen is located in the School of Sociology at The Australian National University. She is part of the ARC Discovery Project Queer Generations, investigating the experiences of two generations of LGBT young people in Australia. She leads an ARC Discovery investigating Worldviews of Australia’s Generation Z. She is co-editor, with Louisa Allen, of the Handbook of Sexuality Education (2017, Palgrave). Her monograph, Progressive Sexuality Education: The Conceits of Secularism (2015, Routledge) is available in paperback.

Yvette Taylor

Yvette Taylor is Professor of Education, University of Strathclyde. She has obtained a wide variety of funding, including ESRC funded ‘From the Coal Face to the Car Park? Gender and Class in the North East of England’ (2007-2009), ‘Making Space for Queer Identifying Religious Youth’ (2011-2013) and British Academy mid-career fellowship ‘Critical Terrain: Dividing Lines and Lives’ (2013-2014). Yvette has published four sole-authored books based on funded research: Working-class Lesbian Life (2007); Lesbian and Gay Parenting (2009); Fitting Into Place? Class and Gender Geographies and Temporalities (2012) and Making Space for Queer Identifying Religious Youth (2015). Yvette also edits the Palgrave Gender and Education Series and co-edits the Routledge Advances in Critical Diversities Series.

Sarah-Jane Page

Dr Sarah-Jane Page is senior lecturer in Sociology at Aston University, Birmingham, UK. She is a sociologist of religion with research interests in gender, sexuality and youth. She has undertaken projects on religious attitudes to sexuality, clergy mothers, clergy husbands, religious young adults’ navigation of sexuality and is currently completing an ethnography of prayer vigils at abortion clinics. She has published two monographs, both with Prof. Andrew Yip: Religious and Sexual Identities: A Multi-Faith Exploration of Young Adults (2013; Ashgate) and Understanding Young Buddhists: Living out Ethical Journeys (2017; Brill).

Panel Chair: 

Anna Halafoff

Dr. Anna Halafoff is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology and a member of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University. She is also a Research Associate of the UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations – Asia Pacific at Monash University. Anna’s current research interests include: religious diversity; interreligious relations; countering violent extremism; and education about religions and worldviews. She is the author of The Multifaith Movement: Global Risks and Cosmopolitan Solutions (2013).

3.       Refugee Rights

Asylum Seeker and Refugee Rights Advocacy in Australia

This esteemed panel, featuring Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs, David Manne and Fadak Alfayadh, will examine the TASA Conference theme of precarity, rights and resistance focused on asylum seeker and refugee rights advocacy in Australia.

Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs is the former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, and the new Chair of Justice Connect, a non-profit dedicated to connecting people locked out of the justice system with free legal help. She is also Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne and Vice President of the Asian Development Bank Tribunal. Gillian was Dean of the Faculty of Law and Challis Professor of International Law at the University of Sydney from 2007-12 and Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law from 2005-07. She is a former barrister and a Governor of the College of Law. She is also the author of many books and papers on international law, including International Law, Contemporary Principles and Practices.

David Manne is a human rights lawyer and Executive Director of Refugee Legal (previously the Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre (RILC)). David sat on the Board of the Refugee Council of Australia for seven years, and currently the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Ethics Committee. He has also been appointed to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Advisory Board of Eminent Persons. David has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Law Institute of Victoria Paul Baker Prize for Administrative and Human Rights Law, the Law Institute President’s Awards (2006 and 2011), and was shortlisted for the Australian Human Rights Commission Human Rights Medal in 2011.

Fadak Alfayadh is a lawyer and writer from a refugee background. Her work upholds human rights and ensures access to legal services for those marginalised. Before her current work in community development, Fadak worked in the refugee rights sector. Her work in settlement services was vital to newly arrived refugees. Fadak was the Director of Advocacy at RISE and she is passionate about building and mobilising communities. Fadak is an international and local speaker and commentator, and has had her work featured in Al Jazeera, The Age, New Matilda & Catalogue Magazine.

Panel Chair:

Dr Amy Nethery is a senior lecturer in Politics and Policy at Deakin University. She researches migration and asylum policies in Australia and Asia, with a special interest in policy development and immigration detention. Her article ‘Australia-Indonesia Cooperation on Asylum Policy: a case of incentivised policy transfer’ (Australian Journal of International Affairs) was awarded the 2015 Boyer Prize for the best article published by the journal that year. More recently she has written on secrecy and offshore processing, and how asylum seekers use social media to bear witness to their experience of detention.

4.       Precarity

Working in the Global Academy: Precarity, Rights, Opportunities and Resistance

As our universities became part of the global system, Australian academics, perhaps more so than in many other parts of the world, came face to face with neoliberalism, managerialism and marketisation. Our work loads have intensified and expanded, surveillance has increased, our environments have become less collaborative and much more competitive, and for many, our future is less secure and predictable. This plenary offers the opportunity to hear about some of the latest research on the academy. We begin with a focus on Australians as ‘Southern’ workers, on the peculiar challenges they confront, and the work practices and strategies developed in the face of the dominant ‘North’. This is followed with a report on the new Scholarly Teaching Fellows introduced as a more secure alternative to teaching casuals, with reflections on the implementation and experience of this new workplace model. Early career academics are the focus of the next presentation, reflecting on a new generation of workers who display both pessimism and a sense of hope for their futures in the academy. The final session will turn attention to the possibilities and potentialities of workplace activism and rights, as collective action becomes ever more important to address the issues of precarity and workplace rights for workers in the Australian academy.

Christian Mauri

Christian Mauri is a Perth based sessional teacher and sociologist specialising in Higher Education and social systems theory. His soon to be reviewed Doctoral thesis, “The Precariat, PhD”, takes a hard look at contemporary higher education by focusing on the employment and work situations of sessional academics working in Australian universities. His work has been published by The Australian Sociological Association, the Journal and Time and Society, and in the soon to be released paperback, “The Postdoc Landscape”, and the edited Routledge collection, “The Social Structures of Global Academia”.

Ann Lawless

Dr Ann Lawless is a sociologist with special interests in the sociology of higher education and the sociology of health, and the teaching of cultural competencies in the professions. She is an experienced educator and researcher of higher education, having completed a doctoral study of activism in the Australian academy. Ann is an active unionist and union leader, and in 2015, she – and the NTEU – won a significant and rare victory in the arbitration court of the Fair Work Commission which set cultural precedents in the use of the Welcome to Country in an industrial court and set legal precedents for the rights of workers on probation. In 2008, Ann was admitted to the South Australian Women’s Honor Roll, and in 2018, gave a keynote speech to HR professionals at a HR Analytics conference on the role of management, unions and a sociology of hope. She is an associate editor of the Australian Journal of Adult Learning, co-convenor of TASA’s activism SIG, and an active member of the community.

Fabian Cannizzo

Fabian Cannizzo is a sociologist interested in the experiences of cultural and creative workers and the political economy of knowledge. He is currently developing an edited collection entitled The Social Structures of Global Academia (Routledge) with Nick Osbaldiston and a special section of the Journal of Sociology on ‘Meaningful Living in Late Modernity’ with Sara James.

Grant Banfield

Grant Banfield researches and writes in the fields of educational sociology, critical pedagogy and academic activism. His meta-theoretical interests lie in the application of Bhaskarian Critical Realist philosophy in the tackling of persistent theoretical and methodological problems confronting the social sciences. He is currently working on an edited book that will showcase the work of early and mid-career researchers employing critical realism to address methodological problems as they apply to specific empirical projects.

James Goodman

Associate Professor James Goodman is in Social and Political Sciences at UTS where he is Director of the Climate Justice Research Centre. He has been teaching at UTS since 1997 and in 2008 began co-researching the impacts of academic casualization. One result of this was a co-authored article in the Journal of Industrial Relations, ‘Academic casualisation in Australia: a new class divide?’  (2010). In 2016 he initiated an Office of Learning and Teaching ‘Strategic Priority’ project, ‘Scholarly Teaching Fellows as a new category of employment in Australian Universities’, which began in 2017, with co-researchers from UTS, Canberra, Griffith and UNSW.

Nour Dados

Panel Chair:

Fran Collyer

Associate Professor Fran Collyer is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Sydney, has served in various official positions in TASA, including convenor of the Health Section, and is currently the Secretary of RC08 History of Sociology in the ISA. She edited Health Sociology Review for six years, and been active in organising conferences and conference sessions at both the national and international levels. Fran has published widely in the history of sociology, the sociology of knowledge and health sociology. Her books include Public Enterprise Divestment: Australian Case Studies (2001); Mapping the Sociology of Health and Medicine (2012); the Palgrave Handbook of Social Theory in Health, Illness and Medicine (2015); and Knowledge and Global Power (with Connell, Maia and Morrell, 2018). The latter draws on field work across five countries and speaks to the challenges for academics working in the global South.