Association of Social Anthropologists of Aotearoa / New Zealand
World Council of Anthropological Associations (WCAA)  


Annual General Meeting

The Association holds an AGM usually in conjunction with the Annual Conference (see below).



Forthcoming ASAANZ Conferences

The Association holds an annual conference. The venue for this conference rotates between a number of different centres.

39th Annual Conference: Cosmopolitan Anthropologies.

The Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, and the Department of General Practice and Rural Health, University of Otago, are this year's hosts of the combined ASAANZ/AAS Conference to be held in Queenstown, New Zealand, on 10-13 November 2014.

The keynote speakers are Professor Nigel Rapport (St Andrews University, Scotland) and Professor Sharon Kaufman (University of California, San Francisco, USA).

The call for papers is now open (deadline 30 June 2014).


Other Conferences

Competing Responsibilities: The politics and ethics of responsibility in contemporary life

15-17 August 2014
Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand

Conference convenors:
Dr Catherine Trundle and Associate Professor Susanna Trnka

Keynote speakers:
Professor Nikolas Rose (King's College London)
Professor Cris Shore (University of Auckland)

Calls to ‘be responsible’ pervade public and private life. Notions of responsibility, for example, can powerfully underpin contemporary claims for political legitimacy, evident in President Obama’s (2009) hailing of his presidency as the start of a ‘new era of responsibility’. Demands for people to ‘act responsibly’ can also shape our most intimate relations, as in Australia where the ‘Family Responsibilities Commission’ in Cape York seeks to instill norms of ‘respect and responsibility’ in local aboriginal families through welfare regulations and education initiatives. Elsewhere, responsibility can be the marker of a good worker, as in Scotland where senior nurses have been called to take more ‘responsibility and accountability’ for their workplaces (BBC News 2012). ‘Responsibility’ and the ‘responsible citizen’ have become buzzwords for the adoption and internalization of some of the core ideals of contemporary governance. In 2012, for example, the Deputy Mayor of Wellington, New Zealand, could refuse residents' requests to put up barriers at a crosswalk where numerous pedestrians had been hit by buses, on the grounds that it is not up to the city to provide such protection as ‘personal responsibility remains key’ for pedestrian safety (The New Zealand Herald 2012). In a similar call for responsibilized citizens, in the US the ‘Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act’ was introduced to Congress in 2005 to protect companies from being sued for selling addictive food products linked to obesity (Congressional Record 2005). Claims of responsibility resonate in such varied social arenas because of the diverse values that the term can evoke. Depending of the context, responsibility can signify accountability, self-sufficiency, prudence, care, obligation, dependency, or even culpability.

In the face of these diverse political and ethical claims to be responsible, there is increasing scholarly need to systematically interrogate the social and cultural assumptions driving contemporary claims and calls to responsibility. Recently, a number of scholars have explored the increasing ubiquity of responsibilization discourses across the domains of health, public policy, and economics (Rose 1996, 2007; Adams 2013; Davis 2012; Zigon 2010). There have, however, also been calls to consider how neoliberal ideals of responsibility have come to overshadow other understandings of individual and collective responsibility. A number of scholars have demonstrated how neoliberal visions of autonomous, individual “responsible subjects” fall short of capturing the “competing responsibilities” or multiple frames of dependencies, reciprocities, and obligations at play in contemporary life (Rose 2007; Davis 2012; Zigon 2010; Adam 2005; Kelty 2008; McCarthy 2008; Ferguson 2012; Welker 2009, Trnka and Trundle 2014). In this conference we seek to examine both neoliberal framings of responsibility and the variety of counter-currents to them.

Call for papers:
We invite scholars from diverse academic disciplines to critically reflect upon the varied calls to responsibility being made in contemporary life. Participants may consider, but should not be limited to, the following questions:

  • What relationships exist between responsibility and allied concepts such as trust, care, accountability, obligation and liability in different social contexts?

  • What forms of personhood are constituted by and governed through ideals of responsibility?

  • How are relations of responsibility configured between humans and non-human entities in different cultural settings, such as towards the environment, ecosystems, the material world, animals, spirits or gods?

  • How do people resist calls to be responsible? Do certain groups create moral and ethical discourses for being non-responsible or irresponsible?

  • How do claims for more responsibility intersect with assertions of blame and accusation, or legal, moral and political demands for restitution in diverse settings, such as within indigenous rights movements, health social movements, national apologies, or truth and reconciliation commissions?

  • What does responsibility really signify within Corporate Social Responsibility?  Which practices and actions get responsibilized and which slip outside the bounds of responsibility within economic spheres?

  • What is the relationship between citizenship and responsibility, and what are the diverse ways that citizens are called upon to be responsible?

The deadline for submitting 200 word abstracts and short biographies (1-2 sentences) is June 1st 2014; email to both Catherine Trundle and Susanna Trnka


ASAA/NZ (formerly NZASA) Past Annual Conferences

The Association has held an annual conference since its formation in 1975. The Association has held an annual conference since its formation in 1975.

38th Annual Conference
Ethnoscapes, Culturescapes: Anthropologies for the Present
8-10 December 2012

37th Annual Conference
Anthropology and Imagination
1-3 December 2013

36th Annual Conference
Knowledge and Value in a Globalising World
5-8 July 2011, Perth, Western Australia

35th Annual Conference
10-12 December 2010, Rotorua

34th Annual Conference
Re-thinking Community in Contemporary Anthropology
13th - 15th December 2009, University of Otago.

33rd Annual Conference,
Ownership and Appropriation
A Joint International Conference of AAS, ASA and ASAANZ
8-12 December 2008, Auckland

32nd Annual Conference
Taboo: The Forbidden / Forbidding Subject of Anthropology
16 - 18 November 2007, University of Waikato, Hamilton,

31st Annual conference
Bracketing (Belief)
9-11 November 2006, University of Canterbury

30th Annual conference
Beyond Ethnography
24-26 November 2005, Victoria University of Wellington

29th annual conference
Translations, treaties and testimonies: The cultural politics of Interpretation
3-4 December 2004, Auckland,

28th Annual Conference
Anthropology and Expert Knowledge: Celebrating the Life and Works of Sir Raymond Firth
2003, University of Otago

27th Annual Conference
Whose Home? Thinking about Anthropology, Home and Indigeneity
2002, Massey University (Albany)

26th Annual Conference
2001, Massey University (Palmerston North)

25th Annual Conference,
Anthropology in Times of Risk
2-3 September 2000, University of Waikato
Conference proceedings are available at

24th Annual Conference,
Displaying culture
1999, University of Auckland,

23rd Annual Conference
1998, University of Otago :

22nd Annual Conference
Culture, heritage, and development
30-31 August 1997, University of Waikato

21st Annual Conference
:Displacing anthropology
1996, Massey University

20th Annual Conference
26-28 August 1995,Victoria University of Wellington

19th Annual Conference
Revisioning the family
22-24 August 1994, University of Auckland

18th Annual Conference
Cultural management from above and below.
21-23 August 1993, University of Waikato

17th Annual Conference
Teaching Anthropology in the 1990s.
26-28 November 1992, Massey University

16th Annual Conference
To be or not to be?"; the anthropology of identities and the identity of anthropology.
27-29 November 1991, University of Auckland

15th Annual Conference
The politics of interpretation
23-26 August 1990, University of Waikato

14th Annual Conference
Fieldwork and home/ fieldwork at home - reflections on the uses of fieldwork.
21-23 August 1989, Victoria University of Wellington

13th Annual Conference, 1988, University of Auckland 23-26 August

12th Annual Conference, 1987, University of Otago, 26-28 August 1987

11th Annual Conference, 1986, University of Waikato (at the Waahi Marae, Huntly)

10th Annual Conference, 1985, Massey University, August 1985

9th Annual Conference, 1984, Victoria University of Wellington, 23-25 August 1984

8th Annual Conference, 1983, University of Auckland (simultaneous with the University's centenary conference)

7th Annual Conference, 1982, University of Otago

6th Annual Conference, 1981, University of Waikato

5th Annual Conference, 1980, Victoria University of Wellington

4th Annual Conference, Hawkes Bay Community College (Taradale), 20-22 August 1979

3rd Annual Conference, University of Otago, 23-25 August 1978

2nd Annual Conference, Massey University, 24-26 August 1977

1st Annual Conference, Victoria University of Wellington, 25-28 August 1976.
Theme: Ideology and belief systems in change

Precursory Conference: Conference of University Teachers of Social Anthropology, University of Auckland 12-14 May 1975