School of Social Sciences and Public Policy

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There is a wide range of research activity in AUT's School of Social Sciences and Public Policy. The school has an active research community, with staff and postgraduate research in areas such as psychology, sociology and public policy.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 58
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    The Research Imagination During Covid-19: Rethinking Norms of Group Size and Authorship in Anthropological and Anthropology-adjacent Collaborations
    (Taylor and Francis Group, ) Long, Nicholas; Hunter, Amanda; Appleton, Nayantara Sheoran; Davies, Sharyn; Deckert, Antje; Sterling, Rogena; Tunufa'I, Laumua; Aikman, Pounamu Jade; Fehoko, Edmond; Holroyd, Eleanor; Jivray, Naseem; Laws, Megan; Martin-Anatias, Nelly; Reegan, Pukepuke; Roguski, Michael; Simpson, Nikita; Trnka, Susanna
    This article explores some of the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has served as a collective critical event for anthropologists and other social scientists, examining how it has promoted new configurations of the research imagination. We draw on our own experiences of participating in a team of 17 researchers, hailing from anthropology and anthropology-adjacent disciplines, to research social life in Aotearoa/New Zealand during the pandemic, examining how our own research imaginations were transformed during, and via, the process of our collaboration. When our project first began, many of us had doubts reflective of norms, prejudices and anxieties that are common in our disciplines: that the group would be too large to function effectively, or that it would be impossible to develop an approach to authorship that would allow everyone to feel their contributions had been adequately recognised. In practice, the large group size was a key strength in allowing our group to work effectively. Difficulties with authorship did not arise from within the group but from disconnects between our preferred ways of working and the ways authorship was imagined within various professional and publishing bodies. We conclude that large-scale collaborations have many points in their favour, and that the research imaginations of funders, journals, universities and professional associations should be broadened to ensure that they are encouraged, supported and adequately rewarded.
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    A Year of Pandemic: Levels, Changes and Validity of Well-being Data from Twitter. Evidence From Ten Countries
    (Public Library of Science (PLoS), ) Sarracino, Francesco; Greyling, Talita; Peroni, Chiara; O'Connor, Kelsey; Rossouw, Stephanie
    We use daily happiness scores (Gross National Happiness (GNH)) to illustrate how happiness changed throughout 2020 in ten countries across Europe and the Southern hemisphere. More frequently and regularly available than survey data, the GNH reveals how happiness sharply declined at the onset of the pandemic and lockdown, quickly recovered, and then trended downward throughout much of the year in Europe. GNH is derived by applying sentiment and emotion analysis–based on Natural Language Processing using machine learning algorithms–to Twitter posts (tweets). Using a similar approach, we generate another 11 variables: eight emotions and three new context-specific variables, in particular: trust in national institutions, sadness in relation to loneliness, and fear concerning the economy. Given the novelty of the dataset, we use multiple methods to assess validity. We also assess the correlates of GNH. The results indicate that GNH is negatively correlated with new COVID-19 cases, containment policies, and disgust and positively correlated with staying at home, surprise, and generalised trust. Altogether the analyses indicate tools based on Big Data, such as the GNH, offer relevant data that often fill information gaps and can valuably supplement traditional tools. In this case, the GNH results suggest that both the severity of the pandemic and containment policies negatively correlated with happiness.
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    State of the Social Sciences in New Zealand
    (The Royal Society of New Zealand, 2020) Crothers, C
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    Adaptation Finance: Risks and Opportunities for Aotearoa New Zealand
    (Mōhio Research and AUT, 2022-11-28) Hall, D
    Methodology: This report was developed through the co-design process of Mōhio’s Climate Innovation Lab, a fixed-term initiative which works with stakeholders to envision financial instruments to mobilise capital for climate-aligned projects and activities. A working paper was prepared through international market scanning and a review of primary and secondary literature on climate adaptation. This working paper became the basis for a workshop with local experts and stakeholders to test the viability of potential instruments in light of Aotearoa New Zealand’s unique cultural, biophysical and regulatory context. The workshop included participants from finance services, insurance, institutional investment, academia and local and central government observers. These insights were reincorporated into this final concept paper. Mōhio would like to thank the workshop participants for their time and expertise.
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    ‘The most difficult time of my life’ or ‘COVID’s gift to me’? Differential Experiences of Covid-19 Funerary Restrictions in Aotearoa New Zealand
    (Informa UK Limited, 2022) Long, NJ; Tunufa’i, L; Aikman, PJ; Appleton, NS; Davies, SG; Deckert, A; Fehoko, E; Holroyd, E; Jivraj, N; Laws, M; Martin-Anatias, N; Pukepuke, R; Roguski, M; Simpson, N; Sterling, R
    In 2020, the government of Aotearoa New Zealand imposed some of the most stringent funerary restrictions in the world as part of its efforts to eliminate COVID-19. This article explores how people experienced this situation, asking why restrictions that some described as precipitating ‘the most difficult time of their lives’ were described by others as a ‘relief’, ‘blessing’, or ‘gift’. Much existing literature frames funerary restrictions as a distressing assault upon established ways of grieving to which mourners must try to adapt – and in Aotearoa, both the stringency of the restrictions and the means by which they had been imposed did lead to many people finding them challenging. However, for those with ambivalent pre-existing feelings regarding their funerary traditions – such as many in the Samoan diaspora – COVID-19 restrictions afforded both a reprieve from burdensome practices and a much-welcomed opportunity to reimagine their traditions. Funerary restrictions, though disruptive, are thereby shown to have generative potential.
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