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Creating policy change as a social scientist

The Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) collaborated with The Conversation and Routledge to organize ‘Social Sciences Stars’ 2018. This is the recording from our Melbourne event, held at RMIT University.

Download a transcript of the recording.

Asylum seeker policy in Australia

Social scientists are not just interested in explaining why things are the way they are, but also in searching for solutions to our greatest social challenges. When policy becomes shaped by politics, creating change can be particularly difficult.

Australia has one of the strictest asylum seeker policies in the world, significantly impacting the lives of hundreds of refugees currently being held in offshore detention centres. In this podcast you will hear from leading public intellectual Emeritus Professor Robert Manne, as he explains the policy from the perspective of a social scientist, and then suggests a possible – and possibly unpopular – solution.

You will also hear ARC Future Fellow and Co-Director of the Border Crossing Observatory Associate Professor Leanne Weber explore the idea of ‘social science stars’, concluding that not everyone need be a ‘star’: there are other ways to create impact. Leanne also shares some of her group’s research including the Australian Border Deaths Database.

Find your way around the recording

04:38 ‘The refugees on Nauru and Manus Island: Reflections on the responsibility of Australian intellectuals’ with guest speaker Robert Manne.

34:59 ‘Stars, constellations and black holes: How social scientists can increase the impact of border-related research’ with guest speaker Leanne Weber.

Guest speakers

Robert Manne

Robert ManneRobert Manne is an Emeritus Professor of Politics and Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at La Trobe University. He is the author or editor of twenty-seven books, including The Petrov Affair; The Culture of Forgetting; In Denial; Left, Right, Left; Making Trouble; The Mind of the Islamic State; and most recently On Borrowed Time. Manne was editor of Quadrant between 1990 and 1997 and has been chair of the boards of both The Australian Book Review and The Monthly. He has been a regular public affairs columnist for several Australian newspapers and magazines since 1987 and a frequent commentator on ABC radio and television. He is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

Leanne Weber

Leanne WeberLeanne Weber is Associate Professor of Criminology, co-Director of the Border Crossing Observatory and Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the School of Social Sciences at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. She researches border control and migration policing using criminological and human rights frameworks. Her books include The Routledge International Handbook on Criminology and Human Rights (with Elaine Fishwick and Marinella Marmo); Policing Non-Citizens; Stop and Search: Police Power in Global Context (with Ben Bowling); and Globalization and Borders: Death at the Global Frontier (with Sharon Pickering).


About Social Sciences Stars 2018

In September 2018, the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) collaborated with The Conversation and Routledge/Taylor & Francis to organize ‘Social Sciences Stars’ during Australia’s inaugural national Social Sciences Week, 9-16 September 2018.

Speaker events in this free-to-attend series were held in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne that week. In each city, the format was the same: a public talk delivered by a leading public intellectual and a published scholar in social sciences on a significant topic concerned with the understanding of us and the society we live in, followed by audience interaction and a small networking event for guests.

This is the recording from our Melbourne event, held at RMIT University.

Listen to the recording from our Canberra event.