Professor Alan France (University of Auckland, New Zealand) and Dr Bronwyn Wood (Victoria University, New Zealand)
Youth sociology has traditionally taken a strong focus on the marginalised and underclass or what Savage (2015) has recently called ‘the problematic of the proletariat’. The 2007 global economic crisis has revealed not just a growing ‘precarity’ in this new economy, but has also raised questions about how the wealthy both maintain and reproduce their social and economic advantage. These processes are highly pertinent to youth. International evidence shows that wealthy families continue to ensure their children maintain their social position and advantage in contemporary times through process of wealth and asset transfer as well as educational strategizing. Yet, while there is a growing body of research in the UK and US that is starting to explore this, both theoretically and empirically, there seems to be little work on this in the Antipodes. That said we may be wrong!
We are therefore putting out this call to colleagues in Australia and New Zealand planning to attend TASA this year who are working on themes and issues that may help us understand the social process and practices of the wealthy that are driving class inequality amongst the young. Some of the questions we are interested in are; do we ‘do’ class differently in the antipodes? What strategies have the rich in the antipodes been using since the GEC to ensure their children are able to maintain their advantage? Do traditional sociological approaches to these questions still hold water or do we need alternative and new ways of thinking about this?
Our key objective is to try and advance our understanding of how the wealthy use their advantage and privilege to maintain their class position in the Antipodes. We are looking for people who would like to present in one or two sessions at TASA on this matter. If you think your work could make a contribution and would like to be part of ‘themed session’ on this issue please email us and let us know. If we have enough interest we are also considering putting together a themed edited book on the subject.
If this is to happen can people please contract us as soon as possible with an expression of interest. We will need to submit abstracts individually (by June the 1st) but once done the programme organisers will assign it to the stream we are requesting.