School of Social and Cultural Studies

Social Policy Students

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Heather McDonald

Heather McDonald

MA Student in Social Policy

Supervisor: Dr Carol Harrington and Associate Professor Jan Jordan

Combating Rape and Sexual Abuse in Aotearoa/New Zealand: Social Policy and Social Change in the 1980s.

My research seeks to investigate early government policy development, including the debate and interaction with community organisations, of the 1980s. This is to identify the legacy from the decade, and to consider how that legacy has impacted on policy, and on community activism around issues of sexual violence against women today.

I was involved in the establishment of rape crisis and early government policy in Aotearoa/New Zealand from 1982 - 1990 and am excited to research and understand how the social policy and social change agendas of the 1980s have contributed to addressing the issue of sexual violence against women in Aotearoa.

My research methodology will focus significantly on archival and documentary analysis. This will be supplemented with semi-structured individual and group interviews with those involved in the 1980s and currently in community and government roles.

I propose to use Bacchi’s “What’s the problem represented to be?” approach to critically examine the different perspectives on policies developed through the 1980s. Critical scrutiny of this ‘problem representation’ of the players will enable examination of the assumptions, conceptual logic and the forms of power behind the policies. That will also help highlight areas for policy challenge and change.

Contact: heather.mcdonald@vuw.ac.nz

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Catriana Mulholland

Catriana Mulholland

Phd Student in Social Policy

Supervisors: Dr Sandra Grey, Dr Ben Snyder

Conversations from the Coalface: Positive Asymmetry and the Culture of Silence Surrounding the Pike River Mine (2010) Disaster.

My research will analyse the positive asymmetry and culture of silence that surrounds the Pike River Mine (2010) Disaster. I intend to map the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry alongside voices of the affected Greymouth Community; examining models of accident causation and some of the clouding, eclipsing and recasting practices that exist[ed] at cognitive, cultural and systemic levels; with the view to forecasting and averting future workplace tragedy in Aotearoa/ New Zealand.

Contact: catriana.mulholland@vuw.ac.nz

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