Sociology

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According to a recent poll, 45 percent of Americans believe extraterrestrials have visited the Earth. Raphael Terra, 'UFO Sunset.'

Why are people starting to believe in UFOs again?

Whether it's Hillary Clinton's courting the UFO vote or Donald Trump's lending credibility to various conspiracy theories, the "triumph of reason" seems to have gone by the wayside.
Gold miners appear after being trapped underground at a mine in Carltonville, west of Johannesburg. Managing their safety has been a major issue as South Africa has among the deepest and most dangerous mines. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Lessons learnt from taking sides as a sociologist in unjust times

When sociologists, driven by their value commitments, go beyond the relative comfort of the classroom and engage with organisations outside the university, they dirty their hands.
A Grateful Dead fan wears a shirt commemorating the band’s farewell tour. Stephen Lam/Reuters

The Grateful Dead were decades ahead of their time

In the internet era, musical artists freely distribute their songs and encourage fans to attend live shows. The Dead did this for 40 years.
Is there more to the concussion crisis than what the science can tell us? Wikimedia Commons

Concussions aren’t only a medical issue

The sports media has a fascination with concussions. Not only is there a huge volume of stories about the issue, but there’s also an urgency to the tone of the reporting. The heightened coverage has served…
The painting of the Sistine Chapel was an exercise in logistics, which can be analysed for insights into who and what was involved in its creation. The same goes for any crime requiring some organisation. EPA

Forensic logistics: this crime ‘howdunit’ is sexier than it sounds

Mention the word “logistics” and most people would probably think of trucks or the shipping of freight at a mundane best. A more textbook definition might be that logistics is the managed movement of resources…
Skinheads are an easy target in the fight against racism. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Blood Orange overplays Scottish far right at the Fringe

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has, over the years, developed a reputation as a hotbed for alternative, edgy, and controversial performance. Graham Main’s Blood Orange is no exception. The play is a seething…
Whether it’s in a church or at a festival, music can change the way we see the world and shift our behaviour. Exit Festival

Pentecostal, Pearl Jam – music brings ecstasy to us all

You have probably felt the power of music to lift you out of yourself. Perhaps you were in a magnificent cathedral, listening to a choral mass. Maybe you were at a music festival where the music made you…
Climbing the social ladder can be slippery in parts for teenagers. Sadie Hernandez/Flickr

Popular school students get bullied too

The stereotype that popular kids don’t get bullied has been busted by a new study that found becoming more popular at school…
How does Australia measure up morally? Are we in a moral decline? Compass image from www.shutterstock.com

Moral compass: is Australia a kind nation?

We’re in a state of moral decline in the West – or so we’re told. From sky-rocketing divorce rates and the shrinking of life-long commitments to an excessive concern with self and consumerism. Morality…
People need to take responsibility for what is visible on their screens in public. flickr/agarth

You’re watching that? Here? The politics of porn in public

My first ever time on an aeroplane, the mid 1980s, and the in-flight film was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Equally suitable fare for my younger brother seated to my left and my grandma to my right. Flash…
We need to take a harder look at Australian education and how we compare internationally. Flickr/marragem

The great equity debate: a fair go for Australian schools

Following the refusal of the federal government to commit to the Gonski Review and the recent announcement in Victoria of further cuts to already disadvantaged schools and students, the issue of equity…
On the ninth anniversary of the US-led Iraqi invasion, suicide attacks were used against civilians in Iraq. EPA/Mohammed Jalil

Good and bad deaths: why we react to suicide bombers the way we do

Suicide attacks and car bombings across Iraq this week have killed at least 43 people and left 255 wounded. We are sadly now very familiar with the phenomenon of the suicide bomber, but the particular…
Many groups have called for sharia, or Islamic law in Australia, but is it workable? EPA/Andy Rain

Sharia: why a dual legal system will not work in Australia

A major Australian Islamic group recently argued for a formal recognition of sharia or Muslim law in the Australian legal system. According to the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, Australia should…

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