MBiosec

It took a while to get there but I’ve now graduated from Murdoch University with a Master’s degree in biosecurity. Studying while working full-time is a double-edged sword and studying remotely adds additional challenges. Taking just one unit a semester was probably a good choice despite it pushing the course completion date out by years. It lets you properly focus on the subject matter and still maintain a semblance of normal life. My project examined the social aspects of the biosecurity response to the Xylella fastidiosa epidemic in southern Italy by measuring community sentiment expressed online. It was an attempt to blend my degree in political science and experience in stakeholder engagement with phytosanitary policy. The project found that despite the significant amount of disinformation promulgated online, and the dramatic affect the biosecurity response had on communities, the majority of the population supported the response. Still, there was (and continues to be) an alarming amount of anti-science content wending its way though the discourse. I decided on the topic before the COVID and 5G conspiracies appeared in the public sphere but there are certainly parallels. Anti-vax and anti-climate change positions share a lot in common with the Xylella conspiracy and the story is far from over. But for now I think that’ll do for my academic endeavors. That said, it’d make a great topic for a book…