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Welcome to the 2019 New Zealand Political Studies Association Annual Conference

"Security, Community, Humanity"

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Thursday, November 28 • 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Diversity, Participation, and Inclusion

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Lara M Greaves, Chris G Sibley, Danny Osborne, Fiona Kate Barlow
A Lavender Vote or a Rainbow of Opinions? Political Diversity across Sexual Orientation Identities

Research consistently demonstrates that lesbian/gay and plurisexual (those who identify as bisexual, pansexual, queer etc.) people are more politically liberal than heterosexuals. Yet key questions remain. For example, is there one consistent “Lavender vote” (Hertzog, 1996) or is there political diversity in the Rainbow community? Past research has also overlooked the political views of asexuals. This paper adresses these oversights by using data from a national probability study (namely, the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study) to investigate political differences betwen heterosexual (n = 16,491), lesbian/gay (n = 442), plurisexual (n = 747), and asexual (n = 69) participants. Plurisexual and lesbian/gay participants rated themselves as more politically liberal, were more supportive of marriage equality, accepting of homosexuality, and had higher political efficacy than heterosexuals. Plurisexual, but not lesbian/gay or asexual participants, also found their political views as more important to their identities than did heterosexuals. Interestingly, the only significant difference between heterosexual and asexual participants was that asexuals were more politically liberal. These results show that there is considerable political diversity within the Rainbow community.

Rachel Laird
Online Dialogue for Peace: Reshaping Notions of Other Through Intentional Encounters

"The increasing accessibility of the internet and immersive technologies allow people to encounter each other in ways previously unimaginable. While the internet can be used for divisive means, the same technology that is used to create echo chambers that amplify existing ideas of other and self-identity, can also be used towards more pro-social ends of building new relationships and reshaping notions of other. My research contributes to an evident gap of knowledge within Peace and Conflict research regarding dialogue practices online and seeks explicitly to illuminate the participant experience and reflections when encountering other in a meaningful and intentional way in online settings. Utilizing approaches from the emerging field of online ethnographic research, this paper presents findings from data collected within a facilitated virtual dialogue program with international participants from diverse geographical areas, who are engaging in sustained dialogue with those who historically have been viewed as other. In this paper, I present findings specific to the individual experience in a dialogic encounter online, including reflections on how notions of self-identity and perceptions of other shift through the program, while addressing specific challenges inherent to these encounters such as issues of power dynamics and factors unique to online settings.

Sarah Hendrica Bickerton
Women and #NZPol: New Zealand Women Twitter Users and Political Participation Construction

This presentation is based on my PhD research, focusing on the question of how women Twitter users in New Zealand construct political participation. Twenty-five semi-structured interviews were conducted and analysed using thematic reiterative coding. Historical research has tended to be technologically deterministic, and either wholly optimistic or pessimistic about the potential of the online as a political space. Contemporary research into the effect of online use on offline political participation has identified a gap: that the qualitative particularities of political participation online have not been sufficiently researched to provide a nuanced understanding. Further, in a New Zealand context, empirical research has focused on a top-down approach, through political parties and electioneering, with there being almost no research into bottom-up citizen-focused online politics. My findings include a confirmation of international trends around ‘consumerist’ issue-orientated approaches to politics, as well as a flipping of traditional hierarchies towards reading, listening, and discussion. Further, there exists an empathetic imperative amongst my participants, as well as a quite complex approach to social media bubbles and a diversity of voices. Primary relationships and personal experience lenses are prioritised over more traditional rational narratives, and there exists a conscious awareness of New Zealand’s size and networks.

Joshua James
Understanding the Pink Vote in Aotearoa

There is little written on how gay men engage in the electoral process, and this lack of data extends to New Zealand. When speaking to peers about this topic, it was the widely held view that gay men support the Labour Party, as there has been a historic level of support for the queer community from the Labour Party. This study takes a mixed method approach to answer the dual research questions: which political parties do gay men in New Zealand vote for, and why do they vote for those parties? By using data from the New Zealand Values and Attitudes Survey, and the New Zealand Election Survey, this paper shows a broad picture of how gay men vote. Interviews in Auckland, Wellington, and Dunedin are used to expand on this, and to understand why gay men in New Zealand vote, and why they vote the way they do. The results of the interviews and data analysis shows that, despite the assumption that gay men support the Labour Party, the majority of gay men in New Zealand vote for a diverse range of left-wing parties, and vote for parties that most closely align with their own values.

Shirin Brown
Diversity matters: The Local Board experience within Auckland Council

Established in 2010, Auckland Council is by far the largest local government authority in New Zealand, representing over 1.6 million people and 200 different ethnicities. The governance model provides a two tier system where 20 elected councillors and the mayor make regional decisions, and 149 local board members make local decisions. This study seeks to explore the lived experiences of local board members in a context where our communities and elected members are becoming increasingly diverse. For the purpose of this presentation, I draw on selected data from interviews with twenty local board members from across the Auckland region who spoke about how they view success in their role. The participants were chosen to reflect as great a range of diversity of life experience and identity characteristics (such as age, gender and ethnicity) as possible. Interview transcripts were analysed thematically using a relational framework to identify key features of their experience. Initial findings suggest that perceptions of success are dependent on a number of interacting factors resulting from both institutional constraints and personal actions. Of particular interest is the effect that increasing numbers of younger, female and ethnic minority participants has had on the decision-making process.

Moderators
avatar for Jeremy Moses

Jeremy Moses

University of Canterbury

Speakers
SB

Sarah Bickerton

Sarah Hendrica Bickerton
avatar for Shirin Brown

Shirin Brown

Auckland University of Technology
LG

Lara Greaves

Lara Greaves
avatar for Joshua James

Joshua James

Research Assistant, University of Otago
RL

Rachel Laird

University of Otago
CG

Chris G Sibley

University of Auckland
FK

Fiona Kate Barlow

University of Queensland
DO

Danny Osborne

University of Auckland


Thursday November 28, 2019 1:30pm - 3:00pm
E14 Engineering Core

Attendees (15)