Sociological Explorations

A sociologist explores history and the virtual world

Black Mirror and the death-defying disembodied self

I am a huge fan of the Netflix show Black Mirror. The vision of the future it presents is alternatively bleak, horrifying and (at rare moments) optimistic or joyful. One of the most interesting aspects of the show has for me been... Continue Reading →


Found in The School Paper: a story of gruesome death and straying from one’s rightful place

The role of death in the literature provided to school children in the twentieth century deserves close attention. I have written previously about the way in which school readers, for example, were intended to influence children to behave in morally... Continue Reading →

Second Life, virtual refuge

Please note: Dr Margaret Gibson and I are still looking for Second Life residents to interview for our book Second Life: Living and Dying in a Virtual World. If you would like to participate please contact Kittyrissa (Clara Coates) in-world or email  I... Continue Reading →

Religion in the reader

I have recently been re-reading the Queensland School Readers of 1948. The school reader was a ubiquitous part of primary education, in Queensland and elsewhere, through the twentieth century - in many places they were used from an earlier date... Continue Reading →

Strengthening discipline in state schools: constructions of discipline in a public policy moment

My article Strengthening discipline in state schools: constructions of discipline in a public policy moment was recently published in the journal Discourse: Studies in the cultural politics of education. 50 free eprints are available here. In this article I explore the way in which... Continue Reading →

Christmas, the virtual, and the lure of elsewhere

My primary school put on a Christmas concert each year. In preparation, children would sing a wide variety of carols in music lessons before each class selected one to perform.  Most were American, and seemed to speak to somewhere else.... Continue Reading →

Objects: the real and the virtual

One of the themes emerging from our research in Second Life is the importance of virtual objects. The way in which these objects are used is complicated. Some seem to reflect 'real-life' objects - the objects we see everyday in the... Continue Reading →

Embodiment and the digital native

I find it easy to forget how very new a state of being it is to be a 'digital native'. My life experiences have been defined by, and lived within, the digital. Reflecting yesterday on my teenage years, I realised... Continue Reading →

Blaming the parents

I have been doing a great deal of thinking and writing about the subject of parent-blame recently. This is an important aspect of my PhD thesis. In tracing the emergence of the contemporary discourse of 'discipline in crisis' in relation... Continue Reading →

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑