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The hammer and the nail: The triple lock of methods, realities and institutional contexts in Australian research on nightlife violence

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-25, 00:39 authored by Duane DuncanDuane Duncan, David MooreDavid Moore, H Keane, M Ekendahl, K Graham
There is considerable public and policy debate in Australia about measures to reduce violence associated with alcohol and young people in the night-time economy. Though overrepresented in violence, the role of men and masculinities is rarely explicitly addressed in policy responses to such violence, which rest on a narrow range of mainly quantitative research and recommendations favouring blanket alcohol restrictions. Drawing on John Law and colleagues’ account of the ‘double social life of methods’ (2011), we analyse interviews conducted with Australian quantitative researchers about the role of gender in such violence. According to Law et al., methods inhabit and reproduce particular ecologies and reflect the concerns of those who advocate them. From this ‘triple lock’ of methods, realities, and institutional advocacies and contexts emerges particular modes of knowing. Participants described a research ecology in which the authority of quantitative research methods emerged in relation to an imperative to respond in a ‘timely’ and ‘pragmatic’ fashion to public policy debates, and prevailing governmental and policy priorities and public framings of violence. Though participants frequently acknowledged the role of men in violence, these arrangements sustain taken-for-granted assumptions about the properties and effects of alcohol while displacing men and masculinities from policy attention. The political consequences of these arrangements demand the development of innovative policy responses and new modes of knowing that make visible the gendering of violence.


The research was conducted with the support of an Australian Re-search Council Discovery Grant (DP18010036). The project has been based in two institutions over time: the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University, and the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University. The National Drug Research Institute is supported by core funding from the Australian Government under the Drug and Alcohol Program and also receives significant funding from Curtin University.


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International Journal of Drug Policy



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© 2022. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license

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