Gender is a major research theme for staff in Sociology. We undertake research on gender and youth, gender and families and gender and sexuality.
Gender and youth
We have a long history of exciting research on gender and youth. Dr Amy Shields Dobson’s research focuses on representations of gender in digital cultures, particularly on social network sites and in social media. Amy Shields Dobson has also conducted research into Internet cam girls, exploring the meanings of cam girl performances and communities for contemporary feminist politics.
Dr Catherine Strong also undertakes research on gender and popular culture – she has recently published on roller derby and grunge. Her current research interests include examining the position of women in Australian rock music.
AProf Anita Harris is best known as a leader in the interdisciplinary field of girls’ studies. Anita Harris holds an ARC Future Fellowship and is undertaking a project entitled ‘Young People and Social Inclusion in the Multicultural City’. Her most recent book is young people and everyday multiculturalism.
Gender and families
Sociology staff specialise in research on families, relationships and intimate life. AProf JaneMaree Maher and Prof Alan Petersen are conducting a project childhood obesity, mothers and public health.
Consuming Families: Buying, making, producing family life in the 21st century (Routledge 2013) is a book just published by Associate Professors Jo Lindsay and JaneMaree Maher, drawing on a decade of gender, family and consumption research. Consumption is central battleground in public debates over morality, excess and gendered responsibility. These contests are particularly critical for contemporary families in Western nations, where excesses of goods, the paucity of time, and changing relational structures are altering family life. Families have always been key sites for consumption and in recent decades, contests over childhood obesity, the sexualisation of children, the media practices of children and teenagers, and young people’s use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs have dominated media and public policy discussions of family life in Western nations. Issues of responsibility, parental control and children and young people as active agents in a consumer world are central in the social policy, educational and health realms.
Jo Lindsay is interested in contemporary kinship and new family forms. With Deb Dempsey (Swinburne) she is conducting research on the significance of family names to Australian parents. An article in The Age previews some of our findings on the ‘patriarchal dividend’ of heterosexual surnaming practices ‘Most women say I do’ .
AProf Dharma Arunachalam undertakes research on fertility, partnering and migration and his current research on India focuses on child malnutrition, poverty and social/cultural institutions.
Gender and sexuality
Amy Dobson is currently working on the project Youth, mobile technologies and gender politics: young people’s beliefs about gender and ethical use of communication technologies. The team recently presented a submission to the Victorian Law Reform Committee Inquiry into ‘Sexting’.
Dr Mark Davis undertakes research on the sexual practices and intimate lives of people affected by infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C. He is a recipient of a Monash Research Accelerator award which is being devoted to the development of an international collaborating research network on the articulations of biomedical, social media and psy-discipline ‘technologies’ with sexual identities and practices. Mark is also co-investigator on NHS-funded research examining social media sexual networking amongst gay men.
JaneMaree Maher has recently published a book with Sharon Pickering and Alison Gerard on sex work. Sex Work (Routledge 2013) focused on women’s mobility in sex work and how regulatory ambivalence about the sexual services impacts on women’s agency and conditions.
JaneMaree Maher has also recently published Vanity: 21st Century Selves with Claire Tanner and Suzanne Fraser. Exploring a range of sites of social and cultural production – from Helen Mirren’s red bikini to The Biggest Loser reality weight loss show, from suffragists to Viagra, from anti-ageing medicine to Facebook – the book takes an engaging, sophisticated and wide-ranging look at new ideas and practices of vanity. How are contemporary subjects to cope with concurrent pressures both towards self-absorption and away from it? Taking an explicitly gendered approach to these questions, Vanity: 21st Century Selves conducts a broad analysis of a key concept shaping contemporary Western societies and their ways of understanding the self.
Gender and health
Prof Alan Petersen has a long-standing interest in the construction of sex/gender and men and masculinities. He has written a number of books on gender relations: Unmasking the Masculine: ‘Men’ and ‘Identity’ in a Sceptical Age (Routledge, 1998), Engendering Emotions (Routledge, 2004). His most recent book in the field is Aging Men, Masculinities and Modern Medicine (Routledge, 2013) (co-edited with Antje Kampf and Barbara Marshall).
Gender and diversity
Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett is currently developing research on international students and gender related crime.