ICS Seminar Series - Simon Chambers, Pryor Placino and Oznur Sahin

Date: Thursday 24 August 2017
Time: 11.30am–1pm
Venue: EB.3.33A, Western Sydney University, Parramatta South campus

Simon Chambers, Pryor Placino and Oznur Sahin

(Institute for Culture and Society)


Simon Chambers - Breaking the Filter Bubble: Investigating People's Consumption of Unfamiliar Contemporary Classical Music

Just as digital services such as Facebook and Twitter have been associated with the 'filter bubble' effect, whereby the news we read is preemptively selected by algorithms guessing what users want to see and consume, so too a similar development is increasingly observed in music whereby digital music services act as digital 'infomediaries' which potentially serve to constrain users' exploration and discovery of the unfamiliar. Investigating consumption practices in this context frequently reduces engagement with cultural content based on paradigms of symbolic consumption linked to cultural capital, or reduces engagement to a question of (dis)like. The act of engaging with unfamiliar music, however, provides an interesting practice to examine the affordances it provides and the ways in which we are able to construct and engage in social processes of evaluation and taste.

Pryor Placino - Mixed Into Concrete: Informal Aggregates Mining, Livelihoods and the Philippine Metropolis

Built environments in the planet keep on expanding. This sociospatial process is evident in the growing number of conventional houses and infrastructures being built to support the increasing population in urban areas. Building these structures requires a massive volume of material inputs, more than ever before. However, the complexities involved in producing building materials remain in the shadow of large infrastructures, tall buildings and expansive residential blocks. Without regard to the communities, livelihoods and ecologies that constitute the making of material inputs, future urban developments continue to rely on extractive practices that are implicated in the destruction of local ecologies and the exploitation of cheap labour. My talk draws attention to a particular input into concrete and the people that co-make it. I briefly talk about the role of concrete in urban development in the Philippines. I then talk about the informal mining of aggregates as a shadow economy in the Philippines and illustrate one example of how informal miners negotiate their livelihoods together with humans and nonhumans. I also share some of my speculations on the direction of my involvement with my research participants from the informal mining community.

Oznur Sahin - From Home to City: Gender Segregation, Publicness, and Women's Engagement in Istanbul 

Women-only spaces in Istanbul unveil the politics of space that are shaped at the intersections of the secular and religious, public and private, and the local and global. Based on ethnographic research conducted in Bagcilar, a district in Istanbul that has been governed by Islamist oriented parties since it gained municipal status, this article takes these dichotomies as relational analytical categories in order to show how place-making and spatial subjectivities are constituted. I examine gender-segregated places and events in Bagcilar through women's spatial experiences of home and the city within the context of locality. Home, creating a medium for spatial politics, paves the way for exclusive spatial arrangements in the city and draws the boundaries of women's presence in public space through familial norms that situate women's public identity within the boundaries of their gender roles as mother and wife. As such, this paper suggests that women's engagement with the city is determined within the intertwined boundaries of home and the city and through Islamic political discourse and practices which are conflated with a global participatory model of governance.


Simon Chambers is a PhD student based at Western Sydney University's MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Devleopment. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Technology, Sydney, in communications and information studies. He has worked in the design and development of digital music services at the Australian Music Centre, Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Australasian Performing Right Society. He is currently a Partner Investigator on an ARC Linkage Grant investigating new approaches in developing personalised music recommendation systems.

Pryor Placino is a PhD student at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University. He is a member of the Community Economies Research Network. Before commencing his postgraduate studies in Australia, he taught undergraduate courses at the Department of Geography in the University of the Philippines Diliman. He did his master's research on the political ecology of the conversion of coconut farms into residential subdivisions in a peri-urban city in the Philippines. This earlier research was part of the Challenges of the Agrarian Transition in Southeast Asia Project (ChATSEA). Pryor is currently a recipient of the Philippine Social Science Council Research Award Program Grant.

Oznur Sahin is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Culture and Society. Her research areas include urban sociology, cultural and political geography, and sociology of gender. Her current research considers on how the secular and the religious, as relational analytical categories, shape urban space and spatial subjectivities in Istanbul, with particular emphasis on gender. She is the 2016 TASA Jerzy Zubrzycki Postgraduate Conference Scholarship recipient.