Professor Rob Stones

Professor Rob Stones

Professor,
Anthropology & Sociology

Biography

Rob has been Professor of Sociology at Western Sydney since 2013.  He was previously Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex in the UK, where he held positions as Head of the Department of Sociology and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. He has published extensively in the areas of social and sociological theory and on their use in empirical case study research. He is known for developing the approach of Strong Structuration Theory (SST), which is used by empirical researchers in many fields. His most recent work has combined SST with moral and political philosophy to develop a novel 'attentiveness' approach to the idea of what it means for societies - from countries to local organisations - to be successful. Publications from this research include: (with Bryan S. Turner) 'Successful Societies: Decision-Making and the Quality of Attentiveness', The British Journal of Sociology (2020); and 'Successful Societies and Policy Discourse: A Meta-Political Analysis of Joan C. Williams's White Working Class', In B.S. Turner et al (eds.) Urban Change and Citizenship in Times of Crisis, vol.1 (2020). Other recent publications that develop and apply various aspects of SST include: (with Kate Botterill, Maggy Lee and Karen O'Reilly) 'One World is Not Enough: The Structured Phenomenology of Lifestye Migrants in East Asia', The British Journal of Sociology (2019); 'Sociology's Unspoken Weakness; Bringing Epistemology Back In', Journal of Sociology (2017); 'Political Theory and Political Sociology', in W. Outhwaite and J. Turner (eds)The Sage Handbook of Political Sociology (2017); Why Current Affairs Needs Social Theory (Bloomsbury, 2015); (with Trish Greenhalgh and Deborah Swinglehurst) 'Choose and Book: A Sociological Analysis of Resistance to an Expert System' Social Science and Medicine (2014); 'Social Theory and Current Affairs: A Framework for Greater Intellectual Engagement', The British Journal of Sociology (2014); and 'Strengths and Limitations of Luc Boltanksi's On Critique', in S. Susen and B.S. Turner (eds) The Spirit of Luc Boltanski: Essays on the Pragmatic Sociology of Critique (2014). An expanded third edition of Rob's widely used edited textbook, Key Sociological Thinkers, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2017 (a Chinese translation by the Shanghai People's Publishing House was published in 2020, with earlier editions translated into Farsi and Turkish). Rob's interest in extending the significance of theoretical reflection in social science research has led him in to many collaborations with scholars and researchers in interdisciplinary fields. A long-standing and much valued collaboration with Trish Greenhalgh, Professor of Primary Care Health Sciences at Oxford University, has involved them in developing a 'Technology Enhanced' version of Strong Structuration Theory (TESST), to analyse and develop effective, humane and ethically sensitive uses of technology within healthcare systems.  Rob edits two book series for Palgrave Macmillan, Traditions in Social Theory and Themes in Social Theory.  He was a member of the editorial team of the Journal of Sociology 2013-2017, was co-convenor of TASA's social theory section from 2016 to 2019, and was a keynote speaker on the theme of political morality and successful societies at TASA's 2019 annual conference.

This information has been contributed by Professor Stones.

Qualifications

  • PhD University of Essex (UK)
  • MA University of Leeds (UK)
  • BA Bristol University (UK)

Professional Memberships

  • Australian Sociological Association (2013)
  • British Sociological Association (1990)
  • American Sociological Association (1992)

Interests

  • Application of Social Theory to Case Studies
  • Social Theory, News and Current Affairs
  • Strong Structuration Theory (SST)
  • Theorising Successful Societies

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • Anthropology & Sociology

Contact

Email: R.Stones@westernsydney.edu.au
Phone:
Mobile:
Location: 3.8.11

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Teaching

Previous Teaching Areas

  • 101330 Self and Society, 2013
  • 101330 Self and Society, 2014
  • 101330 Self and Society, 2015
  • 101330 Self and Society, 2016
  • 101330 Self and Society, 2017
  • 101760 Honours Pathway, 2014
  • 101760 Honours Pathway, 2015

Publications

Books

  • Stones, R. (2017), 'Key Sociological Thinkers', : Palgrave 9781137611208.
  • Stones, R. (2015), 'Why Current Affairs Needs Social Theory', : Bloomsbury Academic 9781780933481.
  • Stones, R. (2005), 'Structuration Theory', : Palgrave 9780333793787.

Chapters in Books

  • Stones, R. (2017), 'Political sociology and political theory', The SAGE Handbook of Political Sociology, Sage 9781473919464.
  • Stones, R. (2017), 'Introduction : developing theoretical skills by engaging with Key Sociological Thinkers', Key Sociological Thinkers, Palgrave 9781137611208.
  • Stones, R. (2014), 'Strengths and limitations of Luc Boltanski's On Critique', The Spirit of Luc Boltanski: Essays on the 'Pragmatic Sociology of Critique', Anthem Press 9781783082964.
  • O'Reilly, K., Stones, R. and Botterill, K. (2013), 'Lifestyle migration in East Asia : integrating ethnographic methodology and practice theory', Sage Research Methods Cases, Sage 9781446273050.
  • Stones, R. (2012), 'Power and structuration theory', Power and Politics. Vol. 3, Sage 9780857025685.
  • Stones, R. (2010), 'Enlarging civic mentalities : the roles of moral philosophy, narrative story-telling and social theory', Transformative Challenges: Modern Civilization and Beyond, Kung Hee University Press 9788982223365.
  • Stones, R. (2010), 'Refusing the realism-structuration divide', Structure and Agency, Sage 9781848600317.
  • Stones, R. (2009), 'Theories of social action', The New Blackwell Companion to Social Theory, Wiley-Blackwell 9781405169004.
  • Stones, R. and Moog, S. (2009), 'Introduction. Intricate webs - nature, social relations, and human needs in the writings of Ted Benton', Nature, Social Relations and Human Need: Essays in Honour of Ted Benton, Palgrave Macmillan 9780230201156.
  • Stones, R. (2008), 'Introduction : continuity and change in the preoccupations of key sociological thinkers', Key Sociological Thinkers, Palgrave Macmillan 9780230001565.
  • Kim, S. and Stones, R. (2008), 'Film, postmodernism and the sociological imagination : exploring the power of local stories in Southern Korea and Northern England', Korea: Economic, Political and Social Issues, Nova 9781604565133.
  • Kim, S. and Stones, R. (2007), 'Film, postmodernism and the sociological imagination : exploring the power of local stories in Southern Korea and Northern England', Reconstructing Postmodernism, Nova Science 9781600216381.
  • Stones, R. (2006), 'Rights, social theory and political philosophy : a framework for case study research', Rights: Sociological Perspectives, Routledge 9780415355216.

Journal Articles

  • Stones, R. and Turner, B. (2020), 'Successful societies : decision-making and the quality of attentiveness', British Journal of Sociology, vol 71, no 1 , pp 183 - 199.
  • Stones, R., Botterill, K., Lee, M. and O'Reilly, K. (2019), 'One world is not enough : the structured phenomenology of lifestyle migrants in East Asia', The British Journal of Sociology, vol 70, no 1 , pp 44 - 69.
  • Greenhalgh, T., Wherton, J., Shaw, S., Papoutsi, C., Vijayaraghavan, S. and Stones, R. (2019), 'Infrastructure revisited : an ethnographic case study of how health information infrastructure shapes and constrains technological innovation', Journal of Medical Internet Research, vol 21, no 12 .
  • Stones, R. (2017), 'Sociology's unspoken weakness : bringing epistemology back in', Journal of Sociology, vol 53, no 4 , pp 730 - 752.
  • Greenhalgh, T., Shaw, S., Wherton, J., Hughes, G., Lynch, J., A'Court, C., Hinder, S., Byrne, E., Finlayson, A., Sorell, T., Procter, R. and Stones, R. (2016), 'SCALS : a fourth-generation study of assisted living technologies in their organisational, social, political and policy context', BMJ Open, vol 6, no 2 , pp 1 - 13.
  • Greenhalgh, T., Shaw, S., Wherton, J., Hughes, G., Lynch, J., A'Court, C., Hinder, S., Byrne, E., Finlayson, A., Sorell, T., Procter, R. and Stones, R. (2016), 'SCALS : a fourth-generation study of assisted living technologies in their organisational, social, political and policy context', BMJ Open, vol 6, no 2 , pp 1 - 13.
  • Stones, R. and Jack, L. (2016), 'The bridge between ontological concepts and empirical evidence : an interview with Rob Stones', Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, vol 29, no 7 , pp 1145 - 1151.
  • Greenhalgh, T., Stones, R. and Swinglehurst, D. (2014), 'Choose and book : a sociological analysis of 'resistance' to an expert system', Social Science and Medicine, vol 104 , pp 210 - 219.
  • Stones, R. (2014), 'Social theory and current affairs : a framework for intellectual engagement', British Journal of Sociology, vol 65, no 2 , pp 293 - 316.
  • Greenhalgh, T., Wherton, J., Sugarhood, P., Hinder, S., Procter, R. and Stones, R. (2013), 'What matters to older people with assisted living needs? : a phenomenological analysis of the use and non-use of telehealth and telecare', Social Science and Medicine, vol 93 , pp 86 - 94.
  • Stones, R. and Tangsupvattana, A. (2012), 'Social theory, current affairs, and Thailand's political turmoil : seeing beyond reds vs. yellows', Journal of Political Power, vol 5, no 2 , pp 217 - 238.
  • Stones, R. (2012), 'Book review. Social Theory: Twenty Introductory Lectures', Journal of Classical Sociology, vol 12, no 3-4 , pp 544 - 552.
  • Stones, R. (2012), 'Causality, contextual frames and international migration : combining strong structuration theory, critical realism and textual analysis', International Migration Institute Working Papers Series, vol 62 .
  • Greenhalgh, T. and Stones, R. (2010), 'Theorising big IT programmes in healthcare : strong structuration theory meets actor-network theory', Social Science and Medicine, vol 70, no 9 , pp 1285 - 1294.

Conference Papers

  • Stones, R. (2014), 'Why current affairs needs social theory : an illustrative case study of rights' abuses in Burma', Australian Sociological Association. Conference, University of South Australia.

Other Publications

  • 2014, 'Rethinking Resistance to 'Big IT': A Sociological Study of Why and When Healthcare Staff Do Not Use Nationally Mandated Information and Communication Technologies', Report

Rob is known for developing the approach of Strong Structuration Theory (SST), which is used by empirical researchers in many fields. His most recent work has combined SST with moral and political philosophy to develop a novel 'attentiveness' approach to the idea of what it means for societies - from countries to local organisations - to be successful. Publications from this research include: (with Bryan S. Turner) 'Successful Societies: Decision-Making and the Quality of Attentiveness', The British Journal of Sociology (2020); and 'Successful Societies and Policy Discourse: A Meta-Political Analysis of Joan C. Williams's White Working Class', In B.S. Turner et al (eds.), Urban Change and Citizenship in Times of Crisis, vol.1 (2020).  

Rob's most recent mongraph, Why Current Affairs Needs Social Theory (Bloomsbury, 2015), demonstrates how social theory can inform more adequate readings of news and current affairs stories. The book is aimed at a general audience and is intended as a contribution to public sociology. It is based on the belief that academic social and political analysis will be most effective when it engages directly with representations already circulating in the public sphere. A series of related journal articles will continue to explore and develop the role social, political and cultural theory can play in the analysis of news and current affairs in a range of different areas and genres.   

He continue to develop strong structuration theory (SST), a version of structuration theory developed and refined for use in empirical case study research (see, for example, Structuration Theory, 2005, Palgrave Macmillan). SST has been drawn on and extended in interesting ways by researchers in a number of different fields, and these uses, in turn, influence his own continuing development of the approach. SST focuses on refining concepts of structure and agency for disciplined but flexible adaptation to specific questions and problematics within empirical research fields. It is an 'open' approach that is easily and fruitfully combined with other theoretical positions, depending on the demands of particular research projects. Rob's interest in deepening the role of theoretical reflection in the social sciences has led him in to many collaborations with other scholars and researchers in interdisciplinary fields. A long-standing and much valued collaboration with Trish Greenhalgh, Professor of Primary Care Health Sciences at Oxford University, has involved them in developing a 'Technology Enhanced' version of Strong Structuration Theory (TESST), to analyse and develop effective, humane and ethically sensitive uses of technology within healthcare systems.

This information has been contributed by Professor Stones.

Previous Projects

Title: Bilateral (Hong Kong): Lifestyle Migration in East Asia: A Comparative Study of British and Asian Lifestyle Migrants [via Loughborough Uni]
Funder:
  • Economic and Social Research Council
Western Researchers: Rob Stones
Years: 2013-06-25 - 2015-04-30
ID: P00021690

Supervision

Current Supervision

Thesis Title: Megachurch Success in the Age of Radical Modernity: An Analysis of the Role of Co-Sanctified Lexicons in Three American Cities
Field of Research: Religious Studies

Previous Supervision

Thesis Title: "With Us or Against Us?" Hegemony and Ideology within American Superhero Comic Books 2001-2008
Field of Research: Political Science; Sociology

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