Diversity research

Diversity is a strong and dynamic research theme in Sociology. We undertake research on cultural diversity in many forms including multiculturalism, migration and religious and sexual diversity. 

In recent years new projects focused on multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism and diversity have strengthened our research impact.  Professor Zlatko Skrbis‘ work on contemporary cities and cosmopolitanism and Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett‘s investigation of the experiences of international students sit at the cutting edge of current debates on diversity and social inclusion.

Multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism

skrbisProfessor Zlatko Skrbis has a distinguished international research profile. He is renowned for his work in the fields of migration, cosmopolitanism, social theory and life-course studies. Zlatko’s most recent projects include Social Futures and Life Pathways of Young People in Queensland, and Cosmopolitan Encounters in Contemporary Australia.



Associate Professor Dharma Arunachalam conducts research on social cohesion in Australia and international migration through predominantly quantitative methods. His work also explores family and household structures, fertility and partnering in Australia, religion, aging and health. His current research on India focuses on child malnutrition, poverty and social/cultural institutions.

Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett focuses on issues concerning international students. She holds an ARC Post Doctoral Fellowship and is undertaking a project entitled International Student Safety from Crime, which is currently an issue of major international concern. Helen’s work has recently been presented to the Australian Government House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment, Parliament House. She is co-author of International Student Security (Cambridge University Press) and has a forthcoming book (with McCulloch and Nyland) entitled International Students and Crime (Palgrave MacMillan). Helen is developing new research avenues in response to Australia’s diverse and changing international student population.

Religious diversity


Sociology is home to the UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations – Asia Pacific 2005, held by Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Gary Bouma. Professor Bouma’s research has primarily focussed on the interaction between religion and society in Western societies including Canada, The United States, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Current work includes a major study of religious plurality in multicultural Australia which makes strategic comparisons with other societies; research into the management of religious diversity and continuing work on Post-Modernity as a context for interfaith dialogue and theological reflection.

Linked research

Diversity and gender – Sexual diversity

Dr Mark Davis researches the intersections of sexual difference and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. He has written on the psychosocial aspects of gay men’s sexual health and for people living with HIV.

Diversity and health

Professor Alan Petersen has a long standing research interest in inequalities in health, having undertaken research on various topics in this field in Australia and UK over a period of more than 20 years. He is particularly interested in the impacts of neoliberal policies on the provision and experiences of healthcare. His books in this field include: In a Critical Condition: Health and Power Relations in Australia (Allen & Unwin); Health Matters: A Sociology of Illness, Prevention and Care (Allen & Unwin) (edited with Charles Waddell) and Just Health: Inequalities in Illness, Care and Prevention (edited with Charles Waddell).