Join a new discussion group on mapping and tackling hate!

Dr Matteo Vergani

Hate, defined as an intense, sustained and stable contempt for, and strong dislike of, the target, is one of many antecedents of vastly different behaviours, including violence associated with terrorism and massacres, as well as criminalised violence against people and properties, including killings, aggressions, vandalism, and property destruction. Hate also frequently accompanies licit behaviours such as speech that implicitly or explicitly stigmatises, demonizes or scape-goats out-groups and depicts them as being subhuman and undesirable, inferior, or deviant and a legitimate object of hostility. There is a significant body of existing research on these vastly different behaviours but it has so far developed independently and largely within separate disciplinary boundaries. This fragmentation of the literature has generated significant theoretical richness, but it has made us blind to the relationships among different expressions of hate including institutional and non-institutional political violence, hate crime, hate speech, micro-aggressions, social discrimination, structural violence, racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, ageism, ableism, and misogyny – among others.

Aims of the group

The group aims to develop a baseline critical and analytical understanding of the key contemporary challenges related to tackling hate. Ultimately, the group aims to build a shared culture about how to best understand and address hate and political extremism fuelled by hate with a whole of society approach. This involves consultation and knowledge co-production with social justice networks, civil society organisations, government agencies, and scholars, alongside members of non-dominant social groups. The group aims to create a free and respectful environment where everyone feels encouraged to participate and express their ideas.


The group will meet on a monthly basis – on the third Wednesday of the month, at lunch time – to discuss key issues related to mapping and tackling hate. When possible, the meetings will be in-person at Deakin Burwood or at Deakin Downtown, but we expect that online participation will be available on most occasions. Each meeting will have a chosen topic and a presenter. One week before the meeting, the organisers will circulate via email some reading materials that attendees might want to read. The presenter will introduce the discussion topic in about 5 minutes, highlighting in simple terms:

  • the topic / issue / conundrum
  • the different positions on the topic
  • available evidence and knowledge gaps

The presenter will then pose one key question to the attendees. To make sure that contributions are synthetic and discussion flows, all the meetings will have a moderator.


To propose a new topic for future meetings, and to subscribe to the discussion group mailing list, please email Matteo: [email protected]

Organising committee

The topics will be selected by the organising committee, which is composed by: Dr Matteo Vergani, Dr Imogen Richards, Prof Greg Barton, Ms Haily Tran.

The AFL has consistently put the women’s game second. Is it the best organisation to run AFLW?

Published in The Conversation, April 8, 2022

Matthew Klugman, Victoria University
Adele Pavlidis, Griffith University
Kim Toffoletti, Deakin University
Michael Burke, Victoria University

Saturday’s Adelaide Crows versus Melbourne Demons grand final is full of promise. Two superb teams matched up on a day forecast to be warm and clear, playing in front of tens of thousands of passionate fans.

But while the Crows and Demons have been busy preparing for the match, the rest of the league has been in an all-too familiar state of limbo.

The issue this time is when the next AFL Women’s season starts. Players, fans and clubs were blindsided when news broke in early March the seventh season was likely to begin in August 2022 (it has always started in summer).

The problem wasn’t the suggested start date – some, though not all players are in favour of this. The problem was the shambolic process. Players, clubs and fans weren’t initially consulted. A month later, no clarity has been provided.

Even more worryingly, this follows a pattern of devaluing those most invested in the AFLW. Is the AFL even up to the task of running the AFLW?

How the AFL has devalued women’s football

When it began in 2017, the new AFLW league was celebrated as a chance for women to finally be able to play Australian Rules football at an elite, national level.

But at the outset, it did not mirror the men’s competition. The AFL decided it was necessary to amend the AFWL rules to “ensure this is a great game to play and exciting to watch”.

Key changes included making the ball smaller, making the game more than 20 minutes shorter and reducing the number of players on the field.

Such changes sent a message the women’s competition is worth less. For example, the smaller ball was harder to kick accurately and didn’t travel as far, making it harder for women to demonstrate key skills valued by so many fans.

There have also been issues with a slew of injuries that seem related (among other things) to playing on hard grounds in summer, players not being afforded the benefits of professionalisation as well as the exhaustion of combining part-time work with the demands of elite sport.

The AFL doesn’t pay women players enough to sustain a life

Despite the mismanagement of AFLW, players, clubs and fans were nevertheless expected to remain grateful to the AFL. To not complain. The fans were the first to voice their disapproval, building vigorous, joyful, critical communities of support for AFLW.

Players are also no longer prepared to simply be grateful for the competition’s existence.

As recent research has highlighted, although they’re grateful to be included, players know they’re actually key assets.

AFLW players are paid a small fraction of the men. The average salary for men is A$372,224 per year while most women receive $20,239 doled out in a precarious six-month contract.

The economic rationale is the AFLW doesn’t bring in as much income. But this crude accounting fails to factor in the goodwill and positive brand associations of the game.

Nor does it stand up to the realities of the costs of the men’s game. For example, new men’s teams like the Gold Coast Suns have required significant investment by the AFL, without the same backlash as the women’s competition.

Also, over the last decade the enormous growth in women and girls playing Australian Rules football has offset declining numbers of men playing the game, saving numerous local clubs.

Federal, state, and local governments have poured millions of dollars into renovating grounds to support women playing, while the most compelling advertisements featuring Australian Rules football tell stories of girls and women playing the game.

Yet the elite competition on which this economic, cultural and social growth is based doesn’t pay its players enough to sustain a life.

And when the players and fans agitate for more, they are called “whingers” as sports journalist Sam Lane noted in a recent podcast.

Is the AFL the best organisation to run AFLW?

The AFL Player’s Association CEO Paul Marsh recently observed the AFL’s current lack of a clear, detailed plan for AFLW was simply “not good enough”.

After six years of mismanagement the players, fans, and clubs deserve much more from the organisation currently in charge of the elite women’s football competition.

Research on the WNBA, the elite women’s basketball competition in the United States, suggested women players get paid less because of their secondary status within the culture of sport compared to men.

When the sustainability of the AFLW is raised, people tend to ask about the quality of the players, the number of fans, and the attention of the media.

As scholars of sport in history and society we think the spotlight should now focus on the AFL – an organisation that has consistently put the AFLW second to the AFLM, and is yet to invest in it fully, or to work closely and respectfully with the players and fans.

Is it willing to undergo the significant cultural and structural work required to ensure women are valued for the worth they bring? The players and the fans are watching.


Social media and women’s participation in sport and fitness


Do you use Instagram to share your experiences of getting fit?

We would love to hear from you if:

  • you identify as a woman
  • you are 18 years or over
  • you are living in Melbourne, Australia
  • you speak English
  • you have a dedicated Instagram fitness account or post regularly about your fitness journey (or have done so in the past)

We are seeking participants to interview for a study investigating how women use Instagram as part of their fitness routine. This research study is part of an ongoing project looking at social media and women’s participation in sport and fitness.

For more information, or to register your interest in being involved, please contact [email protected]

This project is overseen by Associate Professor Kim Toffoletti, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University

This study has received Deakin University ethics approval (reference number: HAE-19-120).

Livestreaming at #TASA2018

For this year’s TASA conference (#TASA2018) at Deakin we are livestreaming selected events to enable engagement of a broader public and TASA members in the intellectual life of the conference. Below is the live streaming scheduled for the conference this year.

Livestreamed events will be made available through the TASA Facebook page. If you would like to find out more about the live streaming schedule for the conference keep an eye on the following social media sites for the conference:  TASA Facebook page and the following Twitter accounts: @DeakinSociology, @AustSoc through the conference hashtag #TASA2018


Day Time Event name Speaker(s)
Monday 19th November 18:15-19:30 Public Lecture: Everyday Bordering and the Grey Zones: Experiences from Calais and London Nira Yuval-Davis
Tuesday 20 November 9:00 – 10:00 Keynote: Addressing precarity, rights and resistance: Indigenous sociology and epistemic reciprocity


Professor Bronwyn Carlson
Wednesday 21 November 9:00-10:00 TASA President’s address Dan Woodman
  13:30- 15:30 Panel: Rethinking Youth Sociology: A Spotlight on the Work of Johanna Wyn Johanna Wyn; Madeleine Leonard;Julia Coffey;

Rob White; Dan Wo

  16:00- 17:30 Plenary: Asylum Seeker and Refugee Rights Advocacy in Australia Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs; David Manne;

Fadak Alfayadh

Thursday 22nd November 9:00-10:00 Keynote: Precarity, Rights and Resistance in the everyday lives of children: Reflections from Ireland. Madeleine Leonard
  10:30–12:30 Panel: Religion, Sexuality and Young People in Australia and the UK Professor Mary Lou Rasmussen; Yvette Taylor;

Dr Sarah-Jane Page

  13:30- 15:30 Interactive session: Applied sociology, graduate employability and the ‘chartered sociologist’: reflections on the BSA’s model curriculum Nick Fox

Livestreaming involves real-time audio-video broadcasting of an event over the Internet. Anyone who follows the TASA Facebook page will be able to access this recording at the time of the event. We will also capture these events so that those who can’t attend the conference or log on at the time can view them afterwards.

TASA 2018: Spotlight on refugee rights advocacy in Australia

by Alexia Maddox in conversation with Panel Chair, Dr Amy Nethery

At the Australian Sociological Association conference (TASA 2018) to be held at Deakin University in November, Deakin Scholar, Dr Amy Nethery, and outspoken refugee rights advocates, Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs and David Manne, will be participating in a plenary panel on Asylum Seeker and Refugee Rights Advocacy in Australia. At the panel refugee activist Fadak Alfayadh will ground the conversation on legal advocacy and policy making, with her experience as a refugee and work as an activist.

In conversation with Dr Nethery, we can anticipate a lively discussion that examines how the current human rights travesty of detention of asylum seekers is the result of bad policy. Drawing from her vast body of research in the field, Dr Nethery points to how laws and policy governing asylum seeking are anti-democratic. She argues that they are bad policy that have been made through processes that are non-transparent, non-accountable, and secretive, with few checks and balances. The result is policy that damages human lives.

The public debate surrounding the detention of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island has been dominated by lawyers and health practitioners – both of whom perform important roles – however Dr Nethery observes that political scientists also have an important role in the discussion. It is vital that we understand how political factors have shaped asylum policy. To date, Dr Nethery argues that the anti-democratic nature of the policy is under-examined. 

While tough asylum policies might be considered favorably by many Australian citizens – and regular surveys shows that this is indeed the case – popular support for policy is not the only criteria for policy to be democratic. Policy must also be transparent, accountable, consistent with domestic and international laws, economically justifiable, and include checks and balances. In contrast, Australia’s asylum policies are secretive, expensive, inconsistent with international law, and harmful.

Dr Nethery argues that Australia’s anti-democratic asylum laws have been developed incrementally over the past three decades and are supported by both major parties. She argues that asylum policy is shaped by two enduring political myths. First is the political myth that being tough on asylum seekers wins elections. The second is that to relinquish the smallest humanity – such as, for providing very sick children on Nauru with health care – would result in the whole system of border protection unravelling.

These two myths mean that consecutive governments have responded to asylum seekers with increasing militarized response. Reframed as a ‘border protection’ issue, the issue of asylum seekers travelling by boat is treated as though it is an issue of national security, justifying secrecy and great expense. Creating the perception of control is an important part of the government’s agenda.

Asylum policy has also been designed in order to increase executive control – particularly the discretionary powers of the Minister – and to remove the ability for lawyers and human rights organisations to intervene in the treatment of individuals. Lawyers and other groups providing essential checks and balances over the policy are disempowered from performing this critical democratic task.

Dr Nethery explains that the restriction on checks and balances has been part of immigration detention policy since it was first implemented in 1989. She points to the remote locations of detention centres and the practice of transferring detainees between centres without notice and with no justification, as two ways the policy restricts access of pro bono lawyers and other people providing vital independent external oversight.

In February this year, while advocates’ attention was focused on the tragedy on Nauru and Manus Island, the government passed laws to make it more difficult for visitors, including family, to access people detained in detention centres on the mainland. The result is that people, many of whom have been detained for years, are stranded indefinitely and without support in a punitive system.

Dr Nethery anticipates that between now and November there will be several policy changes as a result of sustained and coordinated advocacy from various areas of Australian society. Consequently, she anticipates that the TASA 2018 plenary panel will respond to the conference theme of Precarity, Rights and Resistance by providing pivotal insights into real-time events surrounding refugee rights in Australia as they unfold.


TASA 2018 plenary session

“Working in the Global Academy: Precarity, Rights, Opportunities and Resistance”

At the upcoming TASA 2018 conference there will be a fascinating plenary session entitled “Working in the Global Academy: Precarity, Rights, Opportunities and Resistance”. This session will cover many of the current challenges faced by sociologists and practitioners in allied disciplines within the higher education sector. Matters close to many of TASA’s membership.

The plenary session will  held by Associate Professor Fran Collyer, who has recently been named Sociologist of the month by the journal Current Sociology for her work on Global patterns in the publishing of academic knowledge Global North, global South. Other speakers will include: Nour Dados and James Goodman (UTS); Fabian Cannizzo (RMIT) and Christian Mauri (Murdoch); and Grant Banfield (Flinders) and Ann Lawless (UWA).

As our universities became part of the global system, Australian academics, perhaps more so than in many other parts of the world, came face to face with neoliberalism, managerialism and marketisation. Our work-loads have intensified and expanded, surveillance has increased, our environments have become less collaborative and much more competitive, and for many, our future is less secure and predictable. This plenary offers the opportunity to hear about some of the latest research on the academy. We begin with a focus on Australians as ‘Southern’ workers, on the peculiar challenges they confront, and the work practices and strategies developed in the face of the dominant ‘North’. This is followed with a report on the new Scholarly Teaching Fellows introduced as a more secure alternative to teaching casuals, with reflections on the implementation and experience of this new workplace model. Early career academics are the focus of the next presentation, reflecting on a new generation of workers who display both pessimism and a sense of hope for their futures in the academy. The final session will turn attention to the possibilities and potentialities of workplace activism and rights, as collective action becomes ever more important to address the issues of precarity and workplace rights for workers in the Australian academy.

There is so much in this plenary that will be a strong call for many participants. The conference theme of Precarity, Rights and Resistance will no doubt draw together a fascinating and awakening range of presentations and people at the upcoming TASA conference.

Conference abstracts close on the 4th June. Please submit your work and we hope to see you at Deakin, in the leafy suburbs of Melbourne.

Precarity, Rights and Resistance

TASA 2018 at Deakin

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences, The Faculty of Arts and Education, The Alfred Deakin Institute of Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University are all happy to invite you to the 2018 TASA Conference at our Burwood Campus in Melbourne.

The theme of this year’s conference is Precarity, Rights and Resistance.

The pressures that neoliberal capitalism is placing on people and the planet has led to a heightened state of precarity, particularly since the Global Financial Crisis and new climate of austerity. At the same time, while the mid-late 20th Century can be categorised as a cosmopolitan era, in which great advances were made in affirming the rights of women, children, LGBTIQ people, cultural and religious minorities, and animals, an aggressive anti-cosmopolitan turn has occurred in the early 21st Century. This is evident in a rise of narrow nationalism, far-right parties, Islamophobia, and climate change denial, with previously dominant groups fighting to maintain their supremacy over ‘others’ and the lifeworld. Resistance to this precarity and anti-cosmopolitanism has emerged in numerous social movements’ and scholar-activists’ calls for new ways to live well together, recognising our interdependence on one another and the natural world. Our conference will focus on these themes, and we call for critical analysis of these pressing issues currently confronting all of us.

Staff across the sociology discipline at Deakin University represent broad interests in the areas of globalization, gender, migration, risk, religion and caring. The Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI) is an internationally recognised and highly regarded social sciences and humanities research institute. ADI researchers create cutting-edge knowledge about citizenship, diversity, inclusion and globalization, which informs scholarship, debate and policy.

The Burwood campus of the university is situated in the leafy eastern suburbs of Melbourne approximately 45 minutes journey to and from the city centre. The campus is serviced by bus and tram lines. We have an abundance of on-campus as well as off-campus accommodation.

We look forward to welcoming TASA members and sociologists from around Australia and the world to Melbourne this year.

The Conference convenor is Grazyna Zajdow and the Local organizing committee is:

Rose Butler
Bernie East
Liz Eckerman
Anna Halafoff
Anita Harris
Amelia Johns
Karen Lane
Doug Lorman
Alexia Maddox
Vince Marotta
Andrew Singleton
Kim Toffoletti
Jessica Walton

Deakin Women in Sport and Exercise (WISE) Seminar

Dr Katharine Jones (Thomas Jefferson University) “Will the Real Fans Please Stand Up? Negotiating Gendered Authenticity in English Football.”

Wednesday 23 May, 4pm-5pm, Deakin Downtown, Level 12, Tower 2, 727 Collins Street, Melbourne. See reception for room number. Virtual Meeting Point dial-in number: (03) 522 36973.

Abstract: English football (aka soccer) underwent a major transformation at the turn of the 21st century as a result of several deadly stadium disasters and an infusion of money from satellite TV contracts. Women and children were seen as potential “civilizing” influences by the footballing authorities, and so were encouraged to attend (although they had always done so). At the same time, it became clear that clubs could make money off fans if they treated them as customers consuming an entertainment product. My talk explores the backlash among football fans to this corporate model, which has focused on so-called outsiders to the game, people presumed not to be “true” fans, either because of their match attendance history, their clothing, their accent, or their identity. These discourses of authenticity create boundaries between fans and their performance of fandom. Holding fans to ideals of authenticity excludes some, includes others, and produces nostalgia for the way things used to be. This mythical time was when all fans were authentic—or, rather, a time when white straight men could be “real” men, and gendered, racial and sexual others could be safely excluded, ignored or abused. The discourse of authenticity is also used to sell the game back to fans; but it leads to unattainable standards for fandom. Female fans, fans of colour, and/or LGBT fans suffer the most from these strict definitions of authentic fandom.

Katharine Jones is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. She earned a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University, and an MA and PhD in Sociology from Rutgers University in New Jersey. She also earned a Certificate in Women’s Studies from Rutgers. She has published on the accents and identity negotiations of white English immigrants in the US, in her book Accent on Privilege (Temple University Press, 2001), and women’s responses to sexism and homophobia at English soccer matches. Her current research interests are: the intersections of gender, race, class and sexuality, as applied to English soccer fans; autoethnographies of the body, grief, and illness; feminist methodologies; and critical pedagogies. At Jefferson, She teaches courses about gender, race and class; globalization; citizenship; sport; and the United Kingdom. Katharine spent her childhood in the UK, Africa, and the Caribbean, and travelled widely because of her parents’ jobs.

Places are limited. To RSVP, please contact [email protected]