Interview with Dr Zarine L. Rocha, Review Articles Editor-in-Chief, Sociology Compass
In August 2022, Dr. Zarine L. Rocha joined Sociology Compass as co-Editor-in-Chief, leading the Review Articles Section. The Review Articles in Sociology Compass are commissioned pieces explaining important debates and currently published under eight subject sections. We took the opportunity to talk to Zarine about her research background and aims for the Review Articles and the journal.
Please tell us about your research background and how you came to study sociology?
I am a Sociologist from Aotearoa New Zealand, of mixed Pakeha and Gujarati descent. I first studied sociology at the University of Canterbury, and found that it completely changed how I see the world – it very much shaped who I am and what I wanted to do. I have lived and worked in Switzerland, Singapore and here in Aotearoa, and I’ve been lucky enough to work with colleagues from all around the world. I am currently an Affiliated Researcher in the Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Auckland.
I am a qualitative researcher, and I specialize in issues of mixed race/mixed ethnic identity, narratives of belonging, state classifications of identity, diversity and social conflict in Asia and the Pacific. I have published more than 30 articles and books on the subject, and over the years, I have worked in academic institutions, scholarly publications and international organizations. I am also very interested in the practical applications of sociology, and am currently editing a book on applied and clinical sociology in Aotearoa New Zealand.
In your view, what does sociological research contribute to society? Why does it matter?
I think that sociology gives us important tools for understanding the world, and that different approaches to sociological thinking highlight our differences and commonalities. I firmly believe that sociology is for everyone; as a discipline, sociology explores our everyday life experiences, and helps us see the interconnections between history, biography and society. Sociology illuminates the intersections between issues of race, class, gender, and the ways in which sociopolitical histories of colonization and exploitation have created the world we live in, and who we are as individuals within these complexities. Sociology matters in making sense of the challenges we face, and looking for ways to address these challenges; thus making sociological scholarship more accessible and understandable is crucial in this increasingly globalized world.
As Editor-in-Chief for Review Articles in Sociology Compass, what are your aims for the direction and development of the journal?
I am delighted to have the opportunity to work on Sociology Compass, alongside our fantastic team of knowledgeable and dedicated Associate Editors. I care very much about sociological publication highlighting the diverse reality of sociology internationally, and Sociology Compass seeks to reflect this, as a truly international publication; with a team of Editors from all over the world, an international peer review process, and authors publishing on key areas of interest globally.
Sociology is an incredibly diverse discipline, and this diversity in history, methodology and research is what makes sociology so interesting and important. I am particularly interested in research from regions which are less represented in sociological publishing, and I believe that there is a lot of work which is still to be done in this space.
As Editor-in-Chief, I believe it is essential to make accessible and trustworthy sociological publication opportunities available to sociologists everywhere, reaching out to experts around the world to help make each piece of research the best it can be.
What inspires you as a journal editor?
I enjoy working in academic publishing, and I love to read about the new, exciting directions that sociology is taking. I find it very inspiring to see authors from all over the world submit to the journal; seeing the diversity of contexts and methodologies, and how this pushes at the boundaries of established sociology, making the discipline richer and more representative of the world.
More broadly, I am inspired by the dedication and motivation of our Associate Editors and the team at Wiley – it’s not easy putting everything together to make a journal run smoothly, and each team member makes a huge difference. Equally, I am always impressed by how hard our peer reviewers work; peer review is unpaid, and scholars undertake this task to help upcoming authors improve their work, and to do their part in shaping the discipline. I am very grateful for their time and expertise.
For authors who are new to the journal, what are some of the reasons to submit to Sociology Compass?
Sociology Compass is set apart from other journals in the field – we are a younger journal, we publish only online, and we make the most of the flexibility that goes with this. We are proud to be an author-friendly publication; we know that academic publishing can be stressful and disheartening, and we firmly believe that it doesn’t have to be this way. At Sociology Compass, our Associate Editors commission papers and work closely with authors through each stage of review and publication: we look for reasons to accept, ways we can make papers better, balancing rigorous peer review and quality of scholarship with support and responsiveness for authors.
I see the Review Article section of the journal as quite unique; a wonderful resource for scholars and a supportive venue for publication, as we publish succinct, clearly written literature reviews on a wide range of subjects. Sociology Compass can be seen as a true compass in the field; firstly, in the breadth of topics and contexts covered by the review articles, as illustrated by the journal’s eight sections, and; secondly, we can position the journal as a compass for global inclusion across all four compass points. We want to highlight the very valuable work of sociologists around the world, reaching out to scholars who may not benefit from the resources or networks to publish in such a visible journal, to make sure that differing perspectives are heard.