Student Profile

‘I didn’t want to go anywhere else… UC has interesting courses, great teachers...’

Belinda Davies BA in Sociology and BSc in Psychology
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Sociology

Why study Sociology?

If you want to study how the modern world came to be the way it is, what is happening and why, and what alternatives are possible, Sociology is for you.

The raw stuff of Sociology is human experience. Sociology is where human experience, both individual and public, singular and collective meet. These public and private stories make up the sociological imagination and  this results in many different social realities.

We all exist within ever-changing social worlds, forces, groups, ideologies and institutions that make up what is called society.

Sociology is the study of these ever-changing social realities and the sociological imagination that gives rise to them. Sociology is where you research, argue and critique the social world in all its fullness.

News and Announcements

Sociology & Anthropology

Associate Professor Aditya Malik (Anthropology), currently Fellow, Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Study, Erfurt (Germany), and former Adjunct Associate Professor of Anthropology, Antje Linkenbach (also currently Fellow, Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Study, Erfurt) are organizing an international conference on: Realizing Justice? Encountering Normative Justice and the Realities of (In)Justice in South Asia between 11-13 June (flyer and programme). The participants and session chairs are from USA, Europe, India and New Zealand with disciplinary backgrounds in Intellectual History, Law, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Art History, Sanskrit, Social Philosophy and South Asian Studies including the History of Indian Religions. The conference has received funding worth approximately 19,000 Euros from the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), the Max Weber Center, and the University of Erfurt. The theme of the conference draws inspiration from Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen’s work on The Idea of Justice (2009).   Although Prof. Sen is unable to attend the conference because of a busy schedule, he has recently conveyed his interest in the questions being asked at the conference and the outcome of the discussion.

The School of Language, Social, and Political Sciences would like to extend a warm welcome to Canterbury staff and students to attend the next instalment of our monthly symposium series, Talking Texts: A Pretext for Interdisciplinary Conversation, on Thursday May 15 (Fine Arts, Block One, “Red Room”, 3:15-5:15pm).

These symposia aim to foster a gregarious intellectual space within which to share the ideas and inquiries that interest us most, and to discover the unexpected intersections between them. Each month, speakers from across a range of disciplines are invited to share a short presentation about the work that compels them, followed by discussion among all present of the themes and questions which emerge from each speaker's comments and from their juxtaposition. These topics are united loosely by a concern with "texts", both on the page and otherwise, both as objects of inquiry and as media of communication. Staff and students equally are encouraged to be part of the conversation. And, of course, refreshments will be provided.

This month's featured speakers and themes will include:

  • Dr Bill de Friez (Fine Arts, University of Canterbury, NZ), who will be discussing and screening clips from his film, currently in production, about dogs in Thailand.
  • Dr Piers Locke (Anthropology, University of Canterbury, NZ), who will be discussing and screening his ethnographic film, Servants of Ganesh: Inside the Elephant Stable, about traditional elephant handlers in Chitwan National Park, India

On Friday May 2 Piers Locke gave a talk for The Department of Anthropology seminar series, University of Otago. He will be giving a presentation titled: "Interspecies Intersections: Ethnoprimatology and Ethnoelephantology".

A human-animal themed issue of the journal Environment and Society: Advances in Research has just been published, featuring an article by Piers Locke (Anthropology). Titled 'Explorations in Ethnoelephantology: Social, Historical, and Ecological Intersections Between Asian Elephants and Humans', it traces the emergence of a new approach to the study of humans-elephant interrelations that integrates methodological perspectives from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Exploring the ways in which human and elephant lives and landscapes are socially, historically, and ecologically entangled, it reviews latest research in anthropology, geography, and history.

Patrick McAllister’s research on the lunar new year in Vietnam is the subject of two recent articles in Tuoi Tre, Vietnam’s largest circulation national daily newspaper. See: http://tuoitre.vn/tet-2014/590828/giao-su-patrick-toi-an-tuong-nhat-voi-tap-tuc-cung-xom.html
http://tuoitrenews.vn/features/17155/new-zealand-professor-proves-to-be-tet-enthusiast

March

Aditya Malik has been invited to participate in an international conference on "The relevance of traditional cultures for the present and the future" organised by the India International Centre-Asia Project in New Delhi from 24-26 March. The purpose of the conference is to "bring together intellectuals from different countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America who have reflected and will reflect on the fundamental questions whether the long civilisational histories of these countries, with their rich and varied knowledge systems and cultural traditions, have a meaningful and significant role to play in the contemporary world and certainly the world of the future." Conferences participants include academics, thinkers, writers and social activists from Brazil, Mexico, Benin, Ghana, Egypt, Greece, U.K., Russia, Austria, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, China and other countries. Aditya's presentation is entitled: "Articulations of Being: Reflections on the crisis of modern civilisation." 

Aditya Malik gave a guest lecture at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS) at the University of Goettingen on 5 February, titled “Petitions to Goludev: Notes on Intimacy, Truth and Justice in Uttarakhand”

Terralingua Organization's semi-annual magazine - Anthropology PhD student Kierin Mackenzie has guest edited the latest issue of the Terralingua Organization's semi-annual magazine Langscape, which aims to promote a paradigm shift by educating minds and hearts about the importance and value of biocultural diversity for global sustainability through scientific and cultural knowledge. The theme of this issue in the Emerging Paradigms series is Weaving Innovation and Tradition.

Piers Locke gave a presentation to the Human Geography Seminar Series in the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh on February 20. The title of his presentation was 'Ethnoelephantology and The Multispecies Turn: New Approaches to Human-Elephant Relations'.

Patrick McAllister’s research in Vietnam was the subject of a major news story in the country’s highest circulation national newspaper, Tuoi Tre, on 7 Februay. See http://tuoitre.vn/tet-2014/590828/giao-su-patrick-toi-an-tuong-nhat-voi-tap-tuc-cung-xom.html
and http://tuoitrenews.vn/features/17155/new-zealand-professor-proves-to-be-tet-enthusiast

Environment and Society: Advances in Research - A human-animal themed issue of the journal Environment and Society: Advances in Research has just been published, featuring an article by Piers Locke. Titled 'Explorations in Ethnoelephantology: Social, Historical, and Ecological Intersections Between Asian Elephants and Humans', it traces the emergence of a new approach to the study of humans-elephant interrelations that integrates methodological perspectives from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Exploring the ways in which human and elephant lives and landscapes are socially, historically, and ecologically entangled, it reviews latest research in anthropology, geography, and history.

SAANZ Conference 2014 - Department of Sociology and Anthropology will be hosting this years annual conference of the Sociological Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (SAANZ) “The social impact of the Canterbury earthquakes from 3rd – 5th December.

Greg Newbold recently attended the Leading Justice Symposium organised by the Minister of Justice at Parliament House. Opened by the Prime Minister, the objective of the symposium was to assist the government in mapping the way for justice policy over the next decade. The meeting consisted of 60 invited specialists, including chief executives of police, corrections, justice, the NZ parole board, several high court judges including the Chief Justice, and a handful of renowned academics from Australia and the UK. Greg Newbold was one of the 17 participants, and the only NZ academic, invited to present at the forum.

Movers and Shakers: Women’s Stories from the Christchurch Earthquakes

The final report of an oral history project documenting women’s experiences of the Christchurch earthquakes has just been uploaded on QuakeStudies on UC CEISIMC – University of Canterbury’s Digital Earthquake Archive.

Movers and Shakers provides a vivid account of the earthquake experiences of over 150 Christchurch women of different ages, located in different parts of the city and involved in a variety of different post-quake community activities. More detailed stories, and sometimes audio recordings of the interviews on which this report is based, are available in the NCWNZ Women’s Voices archive.

The Women’s Voices project was initiated and organised by the National Council of Women of New Zealand Christchurch Branch, but the project has been housed in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and supported by UC CEISMIC. Two UC Summer Scholarship students, Amanda England (Sociology) and Elizabeth Ashby (Anthropology), have contributed to the project and it received a grant from the UC CEISMIC Contestable fund which funded work by Dr Rosemary Baird, UC oral historian.

Further oral history interviews and analysis of the findings was funded by a grant from the Lottery Community Sector Research Grant Committee in 2013-14. The report is also available on the Community Research website.