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Postgraduate working papers



No. 3, Laughing it off: uncovering the workplace experience of aged care nurses (273 Kb)

Valerie Adams

Feminist economists are studying marketised care services, such as nursing homes, as the intersection of the performance of ‘care’, traditionally unpaid and provided within families by women, and ‘work’ as a paid means of earning a living. During research towards her doctoral thesis on how aged care nurses experience their care work, the author noticed that nurses understated the conditions in which they worked. Seeking to understand how nursing culture shapes how nurses describe their work, she developed a ‘toolbox’ of reflexive methods. These included analysis of both metaphors of nursing and emotion expressed as laughter during interviews, and autoethnography, all grounded in a feminist epistemology. These pluralist methods made explicit some of the effects of gendered socialisation and its importance for understanding marketised caring labour. This combination of methods has significance for uncovering workplace culture in other forms of marketised caring.




No. 2, Time use indicators as a useful tool for evaluating childcare policy and funding (266 Kb)

Reina Ichii

Public services have been placed under increased scrutiny with the introduction of performance-based budgeting. In this new budget system performance indicators are chosen to facilitate evaluation of government service provision. In Australia, by legislation, all departments within the federal government develop these indicators using quantitative and qualitative data related to their services. National time use data has been collected since 1992 for policy evaluation; however it has not yet been applied for this purpose.

This paper considers the potential of time use analyses as a tool to measure performance on childcare policy and its funding by the Australian federal government. The 1997 national time use data is used to examine the gender division of domestic child care by partnered parents, considering both its quantity and intensity. A major finding is that the gender division of this work is prominent especially when the youngest child is small. However, this inequality steadily improves as the age of the youngest child increases, especially when the child reaches school age. The time use indicators can thus inform the government of the gender inequality in the division of labour in domestic child care. This information could be used to evaluate outcomes of childcare services from a gender perspective.



No. 1, Why university? A case of socio-cultural reproduction in disadvantaged secondary schools (246 Kb)

Deborah Tranter

This paper draws on research on the influence of school culture on the higher education aspirations of secondary students in one of the most socioeconomically and educationally disadvantaged regions in Australia: the outer northern suburbs of Adelaide. Using a case study approach, it investigates the attitudes towards higher education of students from three schools in this area, with a particular focus on how and why these students make personal decisions about higher education.

Bourdieu’s theory of reproduction in education and his concepts of field, capital and habitus offer one explanation of the ways in which the environments in which people are raised, their conditions of cultural and material existence, shape their attitudes, their means of interpreting the world, and their capacities to engage with academic discourse. Using the voices of the students and teachers, the paper uses Bourdieu’s theories to begin to explore and analyse how the culture of the three schools shapes the aspirations of students and contributes to their eventual post-school destinations.