Arts Design & Architecture

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  • (2020) Banwell, James
    Thesis
    This thesis examines Hegel’s response to representationalism in the Phenomenology of Spirit. It analyses four key chapters and argues that Hegel approaches this issue from two distinct perspectives. From the first perspective, Hegel develops an internal critique of representationalism that shows it to be self-undermining. From the second perspective, Hegel claims that what appears from the first perspective as representational knowledge of a mind-independent object can be understood as a form of self-knowledge, whereby spirit knows itself. In this way, Hegel’s argument reinscribes the appearance of representational knowledge into an anti-representational theory. The thesis begins by demonstrating how Hegel takes up this issue in his discussion of Kant’s philosophy. Hegel finds in Kant’s Critical Philosophy an identity of subject and object that is implicitly anti-representational, but he criticises Kant for articulating this identity in a way that reinstates representationalism at the level of philosophical analysis. Chapter two shows how Hegel begins to develop a response to this issue in the introduction to the Phenomenology. While the representationalist perspective corresponds to the standpoint of ‘consciousness’, Hegel’s anti-representational redescription of that standpoint is articulated from the point of view of Hegel’s ‘phenomenological observers’. Although this interpretation of the role of the phenomenological observers is at odds with much recent scholarship, which tends to assign it a more minimal role, it is argued that there is ample textual and philosophical support for this reading. Chapters three and four analyse Hegel’s deployment of this two-sided approach in ‘Sense-Certainty’, ‘Perception’ and ‘Force and the Understanding’. Chapter five develops an interpretation of the under-explored ‘Observing Reason’ section of the Phenomenology. It argues that Hegel’s anti-representationalism is compatible with his realist attitude to the natural world, for two reasons: firstly, nature and consciousness share an underlying logical structure; and secondly, although nature possesses an existence independent of consciousness, that independence is overcome by consciousness in its engagement with the world. As such, Hegel’s anti-representationalism is as much a practical achievement as a theoretical fact.

  • (2021) Gupta, Medhavi
    Thesis
    Globally, drowning is the second largest cause of death by injury in children aged 1-14 years old. Risk factors for child drowning include poor supervision, lower socioeconomic status, poor swimming and rescue skills, and the proximity of open water near homes. These are more prevalent in low-and middle-income countries(LMICs). The WHO has developed recommended interventions for drowning prevention in rural LMIC contexts, such as the provision of supervised childcare to prevent access to nearby water bodies. This thesis explores the process of developing and evaluating drowning prevention programs in two high-risk LMIC regions: the Sundarbans in India and the Barishal Division in Bangladesh. As no previous research on drowning burden and prevention has been conducted in India, the main aims were to: (1) Identify the burden of child drowning in the Sundarbans, and (2) identify implementation strategies for drowning prevention programs. Conversely, drowning prevention programs have been implemented in Bangladesh, but evaluation of their implementation remains. The Anchal program provides supervised childcare to younger children, while SwimSafe provides swim training to older children. The main aims in Bangladesh were to: (1) Understand implementation implications and best practices, and (2) understand the impact of gender norms on implementation. The findings from the Sundarbans mortality survey showed a significant burden of drowning, with a rate of 243.8/100 000 for 1-4-year-old children, and 38.8/100 000 for 5-9-year-old children. Common circumstances were the lack of effective adult supervision, no physical barriers against water, and proximity of open water to homes. Findings from the analysis of relevant government policy and interviews with community-based stakeholders identified three existing government programs that could be leveraged for the implementation of drowning interventions. In Bangladesh, the mixed-methods process evaluation of the Anchal program showed that while the program was acceptable in the community, geographical barriers to access, cultural beliefs and inadequate resources reduced attendance, limiting effectiveness. The gender analyses of both Anchal and SwimSafe programs revealed opportunities to ensure equitability. Fewer older girls enrolled in SwimSafe classes compared to boys due to cultural concerns. Female community-based staff found that employment in the programs improved social status, physical mobility and access to resources.

  • (2021) Prankumar, Sujith
    Thesis
    Drawing on Karen Barad’s agential realism and the lens of citizenship, this thesis explores the lived experiences and attitudes of Lebanese, Indian and Anglo LGBTQ+ young adults living in Sydney, Australia. Data collection and analysis were based on qualitative in-depth narrative interviews (n=42) and optional follow-up photo-elicitation interviews (n=20). Participants’ responses, analysed abductively, were framed along broader themes of moral, cultural and sexual citizenship, each further contextualised using aspects of Barad’s theorising: diffraction, time and agency. The thesis has three main findings. First, ‘Australianness’ was predicated on a form of Whiteness that is linked to colonial history and disenfranchisement of First Nations peoples, with consequences for social participation, inclusion within LGBTQ+ communities, and sexual citizenship. Second, heteropatriarchal community values, material culture, religion and spatiotemporal geographies were found to be key factors that influenced young adults’ connection with their cultural communities. Third, the attainment of – or limits to – sexual citizenship and participation was found to be a collaborative endeavour created by an entanglement of formal and informal policies, everyday experiences and material factors. While intersections along the lines of ethnicity, gender, financial ability, locality, disability and so on influenced participants’ participation in domains of everyday life, employing a Baradian framework revealed that young people were far from passive subjects in their social environments and often found ways to explore various aspects of citizenship through an ever-evolving entanglement of agencies. The thesis concludes by arguing that key to the realisation of more just and promising futures and more embracing notions of youth citizenship is the attention paid to relations between belonging, hope and flourishing, which shape, and are shaped by, valences of moral, cultural and sexual citizenship.

  • (2020) Ratnam, Charishma
    Thesis
    This thesis examines how Sri Lankan refugees have (re)created home while resettling in Australia, and why these (re)creations matter. Australian refugee policies and discourses about border control contextualise this exploration (Article I). My focus on the home, and on memory and identity therein, distinguishes how the home and resettlement are part of the refugee experience – despite being routinely absent from policy discourse. Through the thesis’ narrative, and articles, I tie memory, identity, and home together to present nuanced insights in/to past, present, and embodied experiences of Sri Lankan refugees. The importance of home in providing comfort and security amplifies for refugees, owing to multiple forced moves over the lifecourse. Encounters with objects, senses, emotions, and other materialities in the home (re)produce and maintain memories and identifications with the homeland, and mobilities from it (Article II). Using video, walking methods, and in-depth interviews with 26 Sri Lankan refugees, I analysed how memories and identifications with the homeland influenced their capacities to build a sense of place and home in Australia. The filmed walking method connected talk with encounter (Article III). Encounter precipitated through movement, and prompted embodied interactions with objects, senses, and atmospheres. Concomitantly, this fieldwork involved listening to participants’ stories; verbally and non-verbally, these stories had affect, to the research process and myself as the researcher (Article IV). Buttressing this thesis’ conceptual and methodological remit is a feminist epistemology. An attentiveness to gender, lived experiences(s), the role of place, and reflexivity provided space for empowering marginalised voices. Attending to movement and atmosphere while walking enabled the thicker description of “detours” taken. These detours comprised deviations in lifecourse trajectories – from Sri Lanka to Australia – and detours made during the home-based walking method (Article V). The walks exemplified how mobilities impelled encounter and provoked changed walking routes and figurative journeys of recollection. The walking method also highlighted practices of cultural maintenance, especially among women (Article VI), and concerning materiality and cooking practices. Interwoven among all the walks were traces and fateful moments of remembering family, feeling loss, and traversing lived experiences.

  • (2020) Ankersmit, Leon
    Thesis
    This study examines the relationship that occurs between birth parents and foster carers of children in out-of-home care. It has long been argued that the relational climate between parents and carers is a factor contributing to outcomes for placements and the wellbeing of children, including their sense of belonging. While a positive relationship between birth parents and foster carers is desirable, previous studies have found that birth parent interactions are a significant stressor for many foster carers. Yet attention to this relationship is frequently lacking in practice and there is virtually no research to guide how this relationship can be supported to become more collaborative. This mixed-methods study captured the perspectives of birth parents, foster carers and caseworkers in online surveys (n = 195) and semi-structured interviews (n = 30). It asked how the relationship between parents and carers is understood and experienced in the Australian context, what barriers exist, and what implications are associated with the way parents and carers relate to each other. It identified indicators of a positive working relationship and factors that assist in promoting a positive relational climate. Engaging with symbolic interactionist theory and theories of collaboration and partnership from other fields in analysing the study data, a conceptual framework to guide out-of-home care practitioners in supporting the relationship between parents and carers emerged. While the study found that this working relationship is frequently neglected in practice, a relationship of sorts is common between parents and carers, with factors that are promotive or inhibitive of partnership occurring in non-linear patterns. These factors were organised into a schema of three intersecting dimensions forming a framework for practice. The dimensions identify three phases of the relationship, four domains of influence over the relationship, and four attribute categories which determine the tenor of the relationship. When partnership is realised, experiences and outcomes related to the placement tend to improve for the benefit of children, including their sense of identity and belonging. Conversely, neglect of this working relationship can introduce conflict and negative experiences for participants and inhibit the achievement of outcomes in out-of-home placements.

  • (2022) Conrad, Vanessa
    Thesis
    Introduction: The fashion industry is now the second largest polluter in the world. Extensive research has quantified those damages, yet little progress has been made to prevent this calamity. This thesis profiled the global value chain (GVC) and producer narratives of hemp fashion goods produced by various micro-social ventures in Nepal, with a particular focus on the producers and their role in sustainable production. The goal was to address the call of fashion consumers for more transparency in the apparel industry through an investigation of the manifestations of sustainable development (SD), and environmental and social justice. The study examines if these goals were achievable by ethical and sustainable (E&S) practices based on the promises of grow-ing awareness towards a new movement of fashion eco-awareness. Methods: This thesis applied a human-centred GVC investigation framework based on a multi-methods approach which combined fieldwork, semi-structured and struc-tured interviews, and questionnaires. Fourteen workers, producers, and consumers answered a range of approximately twenty questions subdivided into four categories: 1. epistemology (to understand their ecological awareness), 2. people (to understand ethical values), 3. planet (to understand sustainable practices) and 4. profit (to under-stand their financial status). The trajectory of hemp in its various stages of economic ‘value-adding’ from cultivation until the final product reached the end-consumer in Australia was investigated. A literature review examined the historical underpin-nings of the E&S fashion movement; environmental and humanitarian issues related to the GVC of the fashion industry; and the socioeconomic and cultural aspects of the hemp crop in Nepal’s local communities. Results: The findings confirmed that E&S fashion guidelines of the hemp trade in Nepal had a positive influence on consumers' behaviour, cultural preservation and exchange, sustainable development, fair trade and environmental practices. Remark-ably, workers and producers from Nepal expressed greater concern with the ecology of hemp production than with their personal finances. Conclusion: Firstly, the results show that workers and business owners from Nepal are aware of the environmental damage caused by the fashion industry and are engag-ing with E&S labels to create more environmentally conscious products. Secondly, this thesis confirms that although consumer behaviour research indicates that fashion consumers want to make more E&S choices (BWA-AU, 2020), they cannot do so due to their inability to access vital information about the products they buy. This is because a globalised economy comes with many unknowns for the consumers, who remain sceptical and despite their efforts find it difficult to practice conscious consumerism. Finally, this investigation also served to demystify the often misunderstood crop (hemp) as a commodity and underline its benevolence and capacity to foster benefit-sharing activities.

  • (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.

  • (2021) Cornefert, Paul-Auguste
    Thesis
    This thesis investigates the relatively unexplored subject of the experiences of Australian men who have experienced their biological child being adopted. Further, it also examined their role, involvement, and inclusion in the adoption process, and how the adoption has impacted them long-term. The study also explored their relationships with the birth mother, the conception of their child, the pregnancy, coping before and after the birth and their participation, or lack thereof, in decision making related to the subsequent adoption of their child. The impact of later contact and reunions, and the subsequent relationship with their adopted child were investigated. Their responses to State and National Apologies for past Forced Adoption policies were also investigated. The study also provides theoretical concepts for understanding the issues linked to adoption and the relinquishment of a child. These concepts provide a holistic understanding of how different psychosocial factors influenced birth fathers’ lives, choices, and experiences. A mixed methodological approach utilizing a concurrent triangulation design was used to compare data from in-depth qualitative interviews and qualitative responses from completed surveys. An interpretivist model informed by a hermeneutic phenomenological approach enhanced the extraction and analysis of data to respond to the research questions. The findings highlight the long-term permanent impact of the adoption events on both the birth fathers and the adoptees. The lack of acknowledgement of their fatherhood on the birth certificate emerged as a significant issue of dissatisfaction. Their exclusion, invisibility and disenfranchisement compounded their often-negative experiences. Contact and reunion were identified as issues of importance and could help alleviate complicated grief and ambiguous loss. The difference between forced adoptions in the past and its ongoing effects, in contrast to the position of a minority of fathers who experienced a more open adoption, has implications for current adoption policy in Australia and around the world. This thesis contributes helpful insights to assist governments and policy makers in future adoption direction and practices.

  • (2021) Kelly, Andrew
    Thesis
    This thesis examines the use of Facebook by police and the opportunities it affords for increasing public involvement in policing and enhancing public perceptions of police and police legitimacy. It draws on both qualitative and quantitative data to understand how and why police are using Facebook, to identify and explain the factors that shape police online communication practices, and to determine the impact of these practices on policing. A case study analysis of the NSW Police Force’s Project Eyewatch program found that police generally did not engage with the public via Facebook beyond one-way communication and there was no correlation between the level of engagement by police on Facebook and public perceptions of police in terms of confidence, trust, legitimacy, and fear of crime. In drawing from the theoretical framing analytical approach of Orlikowski and Gash (1994) and in applying a framework that regards social media as a form of technology whose use is shaped by social, political, and organisational factors, this study identified incongruences between the community policing focussed aspirations that police managers had for Project Eyewatch and the actions of the police officers who had responsibility for the daily administration of the program and their organisation’s more than 100 Facebook sites. It was observed that police exerted considerable control over the nature and extent of engagement taking place on police-administered Facebook sites, with police eschewing opportunities to capitalise on the technology’s potential for transforming police-citizen engagement. Nevertheless, police did make limited use of Facebook in constructive ways that supported organisational and operational goals. This research reaffirms previous findings that technological change will not necessarily lead to changes in policing unless there is a fundamental transformation in policing approach and strategy. The research makes a unique contribution to the field by providing an empirically rich and theoretically informed analysis of the impact of social media technology on policing practice.

  • (2021) Wilkinson, Matthew
    Thesis
    This thesis examines men’s experiences of change during a prolonged ceasefire in the state of Nagaland, India, following decades of armed conflict. Nagaland’s conflict has had an immense impact on life in the state. Conflict is a source of economic stagnation, state dysfunction, and has encouraged the preservation and maintenance of a rigidly gendered social order that frames Naga men as guardians and protectors of Naga territory, culture and society from outside intruders. However, following ceasefires signed in the late 1990s and early 2000s, immense changes are taking place in Nagaland. The frontier state is becoming more economically incorporated and politically integrated with India, and a younger generation of Nagas have greatly different experiences with the Indian state than their elders. In light of these changes, the rigidly gendered model of Naga society is subject to new questions and new challenges. In this thesis, I ask ‘how do men in Nagaland experience ceasefire and its associated changes?’ Through ethnographic fieldwork involving interviews and observations made throughout the state this thesis reaches three conclusions. First, that ceasefire in Nagaland is conducive to a number of wider social changes that extend well beyond the immediate goals of the ceasefire. Second, that liberalization at the post-conflict frontier is marginalizing for certain groups of men in ways that are obscured by the presence of patriarchal customary institutions in the frontier. Third, that changes associated with ceasefire and liberalization at the post-conflict frontier are conducive to a patriarchal backlash against migrants and Naga women agitating for change.