Sociological Explorations

A sociologist explores history and the virtual world

Living with the Dead

I am currently in Malvern, England for the HES/ANZHES History of Education Conference. This morning, before the conference began, I had the opportunity of exploring the town. It is a beautiful place imbued with historical significance. I discovered The Unicorn,... Continue Reading →


Believing Child Survivors – A Small Step Forward

Last night's Four Corners episode highlighted the very real continuing problems with our child welfare system. The investigation into Australia's residential group foster homes showed an ongoing system of neglect, ineptitude, and what may well be considered abuse. We in Australia... Continue Reading →

Virtual Worlds and the Geography of Time

In Coming of Age in Second Life Tom Boellstorff notes that it is never possible for two people to be in Second Life together at two different times. That is, even if virtual worlds can overcome differences in physical geographies, they cannot... Continue Reading →

Reformatories: another side of the history of education

My research is concerned with the discursive construction of discipline through the history of schools - particularly state schools. I write about those children who are in mind in public discussions around 'school children'. There is another group of children,... Continue Reading →

My first Halloween

Growing up in Australia, I never really celebrated Halloween. I have always been aware of it - our department stores in October stock costumes and haunted decor of varying quality - but it has never caught on to the extent... Continue Reading →

The way we learn the way to live

Next month I'll be flying to England to present at the History of Education Society (UK) / Australia New Zealand History of Education Society joint conference. I'll be speaking on the subject of narrative imagery - specifically imagery that invokes the... Continue Reading →

The Virtual Death of a World Builder

What does it mean for an online community when one of its leaders is gone? Second Life is full of big personalities - those people who create the worlds others enjoy, or who spend enough time in-world to become celebrities... Continue Reading →

Teachers and Crisis Discourse – Some Reflections

I was fortunate enough to speak at the Australian College of Educators conference in Sydney this week. During my conversations with other conference attendees during the breaks I noticed a real sense among teachers that they are undervalued as professionals, and... Continue Reading →

Commemorating 9/11 in a Virtual World

Today, on the fifteenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks in the United States, I took the opportunity to visit some of Second Life's memorials to the event and its victims. These are two very different locations, one a grand... Continue Reading →

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