I was in the Essex Sociology Department as a PhD student and Part-Time Tutor between late 1978 and mid 1981, when I left for Australia and where I’ve been resident ever since. After some eventful years getting established there, I finally received my doctorate on the post-punk British independent music industry in 1986. I still vividly remember walking through knee-deep snow at Wivenhoe Park to my viva voce with Tony Woodiwiss and Simon Frith! I’ve visited the Department occasionally since, most notably as a Visiting Research Fellow (late 1989 to early 1990), and maintained an interest in its activities over the years, and am currently collaborating with Professor Dick Hobbs, who also has a fractional employment at my University. I remain a member of the British Sociological Association and sometimes get to BSA conferences (the last time being Cardiff in 2009), and was an Associate Board Member of Sociology (2008-10). So I still count myself among the ranks of Essex Sociology alumni, and am still in contact with contemporaries such as Jon Stratton and Graham Crow.
After many years at The University of Newcastle in New South Wales, I moved in 2006 to the University of Western Sydney (UWS), where I am currently a Professor of Cultural Research in the Institute for Culture and Society. At UWS (with varying levels of ‘residency’) there are sociologists who will be well known to people associated with the Department at Essex, including Professors Tony Bennett, Jack Barbalet and Bryan Turner. Journal of Sociology (published, like Sociology, by Sage) will be run out of UWS from 2013-2015, and we would be happy to receive submissions (scrupulously refereed, of course) from Essex sociologists of any era!
My principal intellectual interest is in the area of media and popular culture, with most of my current work on mediated sport culture, cultural and media policy, urban leisure, and journalism. While I still identify sociology as my bedrock discipline, most of my work has been fairly interdisciplinary in nature. There are good academic reasons for this trajectory, but pragmatic ones too – much of my university teaching has been in vocationally-oriented, applied or interdisciplinary ‘studies’ areas. In terms of wider interests, including leisure and professional, I find that being a sociologist indissolubly connects everything that I’m interested in, and over which I can claim some critical-analytical competency. So sociology has taken care of the work-life balance conundrum – but perhaps not in an entirely healthy way!
Here is my University web page: http://www.uws.edu.au/ics/people/researchers/david_rowe