The Cambridge Handbook of the Social Sciences in Australia

By Ian McAllister; Steve Dowrick et al. | Go to book overview

As a consequence of the growth in Australian rural sociology over the past twenty years, Australian rural sociologists have had, and are having, a strong influence on the development of the discipline worldwide. They have held senior positions on, and are on research committees of, the International Sociological Association, the International Rural Sociological Association, the International Association for Impact Assessment, and the Community Development Society. They have been involved in the production of the International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food and the Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning. They have their own national journal, Rural Society, and many are involved in the Australasian Agri-Food Research Network. They have organised national and international meetings of rural sociologists, and are known to be very successful in obtaining nationally competitive research grants in Australia, and in helping to develop the framework for sustainable regional development. Importantly, rural sociology also has an important role in the training of professionals who will take their place as practitioners throughout the countryside. These include teachers, nurses, welfare and social workers, community developers, extension agents, policy planners, and catchment and Landcare facilitators – many of whom will have been trained in the 'new' universities of Charles Sturt, Central Queensland and Edith Cowan.

Despite its present vitality, rural sociology faces a number of challenges. One is that of ensuring that what is happening on 'the family farm' is not conflated with changes in wider rural society. Fortunately, the recent agri-food restructuring literature, including that from the sociology of food, has provided a reminder that a sociology of agriculture is only one component of any understanding of contemporary rural change. Another challenge is that of studying social exclusion/inclusion. Studies of the causes and consequences of rural social disadvantage are long overdue: there is a major and growing 'gap' in our understanding of the social determinants, and extent, of social disadvantage and exclusion in rural regions. This is particularly so of Indigenous Australians, whose health, housing and education is, by all accounts, a national disgrace. Neither are issues of governance well-understood in relation to regional Australia. While changes in the mode and scale of policy-making and service delivery are evident Australia-wide, the impacts of centralisation, devolution, and new modes of governing in rural Australia require detailed analysis. So, too, does the apparent 'institutional incapacity ' that can be observed in Australia's rural agency/policy arena. Finally, rural sociology must find new and better ways of answering one of the nation's most pressing questions – how to counter environmental degradation in the regions. We would argue that, given sufficient resources, rural sociology is well-equipped with the conceptual tools to undertake the relevant studies and to provide answers to the questions of crucial importance to the future of rural Australia.


References

Aitkin, D. 1985. Countrymindedness:The spread of an idea. Australian Cultural History 4:34–41.

Alston, M. (ed.). 1990. Rural Women. Key Papers 1. Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Rural Welfare Research, Charles Sturt University.

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The Cambridge Handbook of the Social Sciences in Australia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Figures and Tables vii
  • Contributors x
  • Preface and Acknowledgements xviii
  • Introduction 1
  • References 13
  • Part 1 - Economics 15
  • Chapter 1 - Privatisation 17
  • References 27
  • Chapter 2 - Competition Policy and Regulation 31
  • References 40
  • Chapter 3 - Economics and the Environment 45
  • References 57
  • Chapter 4 - Health Economics 60
  • References 70
  • Chapter 5 - Immigration 74
  • References 87
  • Chapter 6 - Labour Market and Industrial Relations 94
  • References 113
  • Chapter 7 - Income Distribution and Redistribution 118
  • References 134
  • Chapter 8 - Taxation 138
  • References 148
  • Chapter 9 - Innovation 153
  • References 165
  • Chapter 10 - International Trade and Industry Policies 168
  • References 180
  • Chapter 11 - The Macro Economy 186
  • Notes 199
  • References 200
  • Chapter 12 - Money and Banking 203
  • References 216
  • Part 2 - Political Science 221
  • Chapter 13 - Political Theory 223
  • References 231
  • Chapter 14 - Federalism and the Constitution 234
  • References 246
  • Chapter 15 - Legislative Institutions 249
  • References 260
  • Chapter 16 - Political Parties and Electoral Behaviour 266
  • References 283
  • Chapter 17 - Electoral Systems 287
  • References 302
  • Chapter 18 - Gender Politics 305
  • References 319
  • Chapter 19 - Interest Groups and Social Movements 323
  • References 339
  • Chapter 20 - Environmental Policy and Politics 345
  • References 355
  • Chapter 21 - International Relations 358
  • Notes 368
  • References 369
  • Chapter 22 - Political Economy 374
  • References 391
  • Chapter 23 - Public Policy and Public Administration 406
  • References 422
  • Part 3 - Sociology 431
  • Chapter 24 - Patterns of Social Inequality 433
  • References 457
  • Chapter 25 - Families and Households 462
  • References 477
  • Chapter 26 - Gender Perspectives 480
  • References 493
  • Chapter 27 - Work and Employment 499
  • Notes 511
  • References 512
  • Chapter 28 - Crime and Deviance 518
  • References 531
  • Chapter 29 - Health and Illness 536
  • References 552
  • Chapter 30 - Population 554
  • References 569
  • Chapter 31 - Race, Ethnicity and Immigration 573
  • Notes 585
  • References 586
  • Chapter 32 - Urban and Regional Sociology 590
  • Reference 598
  • Chapter 33 - Rural Sociology 604
  • Reference 619
  • Chapter 34 - Religion and Spirituality 626
  • Reference 632
  • Chapter 35 - Cultural Studies, Australian Studies and Cultural Sociology 638
  • References 651
  • Chapter 36 - Sociological Theory 654
  • References 664
  • Chapter 37 - Social Policy and Social Welfare 666
  • References 674
  • Author Index 678
  • Subject Index 696
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