: Re: [csaa-forum] Another attack on CS in the Oz

Indigo Willing i.willing at uq.edu.au
Fri Jul 28 14:54:03 CST 2006

I am really appreciative of what Laknath articulates below and  
Tanja's post.  It's a common thing, at least for me, to wonder how to  
translate insights from the likes of Bhabha, Butler or Bourdieu to  
the very communities I might be trying to apply their theories.

However, to go along Greg's train of thought in my own weird way,  
those in the physical sciences also do struggle in explaining their  
work to different audiences/publics outside their disciplines. OR  
thinking of tradies - things are explained differently for their  

I'd like to see Emma's next contribution be about what she thinks  
works well in terms of translating what insights academics are making  
that make an immediate impact on the communities of interest, rather  
than critiquing technicians (in this case theoreticians) for  
communicating in the language of their chosen field.

As a side thought, I wonder if there's a distinction between  
sociology and cultural studies that ED is (perhaps unhelpfully)  
making re: she finds academics like Jakubowicz useful while  
dismissing those more regularly found in cultural studies.

PhD Candidate - Sociology
The School of Social Science
The University of Queensland
*back from maternity leave 8 august'06

> -----Original Message-----
> From: csaa-forum-bounces at lists.cdu.edu.au on behalf of Laknath  
> Jayasinghe
> Sent: Fri 28/07/2006 1:07 PM
> To: csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au
> Subject: Re: [csaa-forum] Another attack on CS in the Oz
> Err...
>   Sorry. I really do apologise for the repeat post, but that should  
> read: "not remain on separate islands...".
>   Cheers,
>   LJ.
> Laknath Jayasinghe <think_broadly at yahoo.com.au> wrote:
>     Hi all--and good afternoon.
>   Actually, to be fair, I know Emma; and I know that both her  
> politics and her heart is firmly planted in the right place.  
> Although there are some things I could pick apart in the article,  
> she does make a legitimate criticism--that cultual and media  
> studies researchers should also engage with the broad community. I  
> thoroughly agree with that. We do much exciting work in fresh and  
> interesting areas, but quite often it seems that the ideas just  
> don't get out to the broad public. Of course, given the climate of  
> Nelson-Bishop, McGuiness and Bolt, the task is more difficult. We  
> have to be more creative and more persistent.
>   In fact, this is something that Graeme Turner alluded to in a  
> paper he delivered in 1999, arguing that--apart from the academic  
> stuff we do--we should be doing more work in the 'public sphere',  
> the broad public sphere, that is. I take my cue from him. I believe  
> that we should build academic bridges, but remain on separate  
> islands. The mass media here in Oz, from both my professional and  
> academic experience, are open to articles and letters that take new  
> and exciting ideas to the public--from all political positions. Of  
> course, language must be modified and the ideas recrafted and  
> tailored to the audience; very few allusions to Bhabha, Butler or  
> Bourdieu here!
>   Also, must we always 'dichotomise' our debate into 'left / anti- 
> left' etc.? I remember having a brief chat with Toby Miller after  
> he presented a paper here  in Melbourne a few months ago, and he  
> was aghast at the polarity of discourse in some Australian cult  
> studs work. Much of the work we do is so inspiring--politically,  
> ethically and academically. I know I'm guilty of this at times, but  
> does our politics move within frames of the "either/ or"; or is it  
> really a case of a trillion shades of grey?
>   Were the Cronulla Beach rioters, for example, "racist"? I don't  
> think so. We need a more nuanced language to describe contemporary  
> Australian, indeed global, politics. Left and right (and upper,  
> middle, working class etc) seem such ancient terms and they so  
> imprecisely get at what is really going on in contemporary everyday  
> life. What do these terms mean, particularly at the level of a  
> rapidly globalising and shrinking everyday? Perhaps commercial  
> research organisations such as Roy Morgan Research and AC Nielsen  
> are more on the ball in terms of describing and classifying some of  
> the social and cultural trends in contemporary Australia.
>   I recently completed my MPhil in cultural studies at UQ, where I  
> examined masculinities in Nick Cave's early performances. Now I'm  
> at Unimelb's Melbourne Business School, researching a PhD in  
> marketing (using much cultural and media studies research, by the  
> way). It's certainly a more conservative space from the one I  
> previously moved within. Ian Harper, an economist over here at MBS,  
> was recently appointed by John Howard to chair the IR / Fair Pay  
> Commission. Does that mean I must abdicate my "left-ish" politics?  
> I certainly hope not!
>   Anyway, look forward to hearing the many and varied takes on this  
> issue.
>   Cheers,
>   Laknath.
> Laknath Jayasinghe
> BSc, BBus (Mktg), MPhil
> PhD student (Marketing)
> Melbourne Business School
> The University of Melbourne
> 200 Leicester Street
> Carlton 3053
> Australia.

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