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  • (2022) Olejnikova, Lenka
    Thesis
    Different perspectives exist in feminist IR regarding the compatibility of quantitative methods with feminist research. Initially, critical feminist scholars exhibited scepticism and apprehension regarding the use of quantitative methods in feminist research; nevertheless, many feminist scholars have since embraced these methods as an essential toolkit for validating feminist insights. However, the earlier concerns have been successfully resolved. As a result, these two strands of feminist IR research continue to exist largely independently from each other. In this thesis, I revisit this debate and assess the compatibility and utility of quantitative methods for distinctly critical feminist research. Specifically, I examine whether regression-based empirical models – a prevalent class of quantitative methods in IR – are capable of effectively capturing and evaluating the critical feminist understanding of gender. As a case in point, I use existing research on conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) and the concept of gender as it has been formulated in feminist scholarship on this topic. As I show, regression models cannot accurately represent the critical concept of gender as a power relation, severely limiting their compatibility with critical feminist research. Both regression modelling and concept operationalisation strategies contain a specification of gender as a variable which conceives of a very different nature and functions of gender than gender as a power relation. These conceptual differences, I argue, can be attributed to the different epistemological and ontological assumptions underlying these concepts. A simple synthesis of the critical feminist concept of gender and a regression-based empirical model results in a substantial inconsistency between the conceptualisations of gender in substantive theory and methods. Consequently, a research design that contains conflicting ontological and epistemological assumptions in substantive theory and methods suffers from a low internal consistency and validity since the results cannot provide evidential support to purported theoretical claims. These findings prompt us to reconsider the role of meta-theory in more practical terms and to assess the epistemic utility of methods in terms of their capacity to study the concepts of interest.

  • (2022) Nyholm, Melissa
    Thesis
    The Uluru Statement from the Heart was unanimously endorsed by 250 First Nations delegates in May 2017, culminating a year’s consultation with First Nations people around Australia (Referendum Council 2017a). The Statement calls for a First Nations Voice to Parliament, a Makarrata Commission to supervise agreement-making between governments and First Nations people and truth-telling about First Nations history. These calls for Voice, Treaty and Truth were not only made to the Australian government; the statement also seeks a response from the Australian people (Referendum Council 2017b). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content was mandated in Australia’s inaugural national curriculum, announced in 2008. The national curriculum resulted from increasing global economic pressures and growing federal education influence. This thesis assesses Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander curriculum content in the context of more recent developments in Indigenous-settler relations through the Uluru Statement: how can school curriculum contribute to self-determination, sovereignty and truth-telling? The research involved two complementary parts: analysis of selected Australian curriculum policies and conversations with First Nations educators. Poststructural analysis of the Australian goals of schooling and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cross-curriculum framework considered how curriculum policies reflect and construct Indigenous-settler relations. The second component privileged the voices of six senior First Nations educators at the forefront of integrating Indigenous knowledge and culture in school and/or tertiary curriculum and research in Indigenous Studies and other disciplines. Thematic analysis synthesises the experience and advice of these First Nations educators to provide guidance for truth-telling, self-determination and sovereignty within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander curriculum. The research clearly points to a need for change in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander curriculum development. Recommendations to support truth-telling and contribute to First Nations self-determination and sovereignty through curriculum are provided for curriculum writers and policy makers. Curriculum that tells truths about Australia’s colonised history and supports First Nations self-determination and sovereignty assists all Australian students to understand the complexities of history as well as understand and appreciate the diversity, resilience and knowledges of First Nations Peoples.