In Monash Sociology we explore the relationship between people and their natural and built environments. To address sustainability challenges such as climate change, rapid urbanisation, resource limitations and ecological degradation, it is now recognised that both social and technical solutions are needed. Our key research questions are;

How can we enhance the resilience and liveability of our cities?
How do we strategically manage the transition to sustainable futures?
How can community, government and industry co-create better environmental outcomes?
How can we curb overconsumption?

We have particular expertise in water governance, societal transitions and community processes. Our research is part of the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities and the Australia-Indonesia Centre.

Researchers and links to projects

Briony Rogers: Mapping water sensitive city scenarios, Developing leapfrogging pathways towards water sensitive cities
Jo Lindsay: Understanding social processes to achieve water sensitive cities
Sian Supski: Understanding social processes to achieve water sensitive cities

PhD researchers and projects

Paul Satur: Social inequality and water sensitive cities
Delia Paul: Drivers, barriers and incentives for sustainable water management in Johor state, Malaysia
Wikke Novalia: The scope for strategic action in developing urban water sectors
Vanessa Copa-Torrez: Developing Asian cities leapfrogging towards sustainable urban water management
Francesco Gimelli: Just urban water development: Fostering the capabilities of the marginalised in India
Tahmina Yasmin: Water Sensitive Cities in developing countries: identifying opportunities by diagnosing institutional path dependencies
Erika Duncan-Horner: From inadequate sanitation to water sensitive cities: Transforming developing cities with Social Innovations


Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett welcomed to the Victorian Government Research Institute on Social Cohesion (RIOSC)

Dr Helen Forbes Mewett
Dr Helen Forbes Mewett

Monash’s Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett (School of Social Sciences) has been welcomed to the Victorian Government Research Institute on Social Cohesion (RIOSC) within the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Helen will help build this interdisciplinary Community of Practice (COP) and participate in research, policy and program development, and enhance the dialogue around social cohesion, multiculturalism, community resilience and preventing violent extremism.

This important development is a reflection of the impact of Dr Forbes-Mewett’s research concerning cultural diversity and social cohesion.

Find out more


Sociology’s Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett awarded MPA Supervisor of the Year 2015

Dr Helen Forbes-MewittCongratulations to Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett who has been awarded the honour of MPA Supervisor of the Year for 2015.

Each year, the Monash Postgraduate Association asks postgraduate students from all faculties to nominate an academic who they believe has made an outstanding contribution in the area of postgraduate supervision.

At a ceremony held on 14 January 2016 hosted by the MPA Executive and attended by postgraduate students, senior academics and administrators,Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett, was given the award.

Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Social Sciences and supervises students researching a range of topics relating to human security and cultural diversity. 

Find out more:


Dr Kirsten McLean wins Faculty Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning

Dr Kirsten McLean has been awarded a 2015 Faculty of Arts Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning.

Her citation was titled: For outstanding contributions to the inclusive teaching of sexuality from a sociological perspective through a safe and positive learning environment for all students.

This recognition by the Faculty rewards Kirsten’s many years of teaching of the sociology of sexuality in the unit ATS3715, and her commitment to an inclusive teaching environment that engages, inspires and motivates students to learn. The award complements Kirsten’s work with the LGBTI and diverse sexuality and gender communities. She has an international reputation as a key researcher of bisexuality, and within the Monash community is a member of the Monash Ally Network and the newly-established university Diverse Sexualities and Genders Advisory Group.

The award comes with a Faculty grant, which Kirsten plans to use to further develop ATS3715.


Sociology Honours student in the media

Carley Fraser, one of the 2015 Honours cohort in Sociology, was recently interviewed by ABC Radio Far North during the TASA conference held in Cairns from November 23-26. Her research, supervised by Dr Jonathan Smith and based on the Our Lives project, looked at body modifications including tattooing and piercing among young Queenslanders.

Carley’s research also appeared in an article in The Cairns Post.

Click below to listen to her ABC interview.



Public Lecture: Dialogues on hope and health

In this public lecture, renowned health sociologists, Alan Petersen and Alex Broom, will discuss the contemporary biopolitics of hope in connection with emerging technologies and recent turnings in public health policy in Australia and internationally.

Drawing on his new book Hope in Health: The Socio-Politics of Optimism, Alan Petersen will highlight the significance of technological promise in contemporary conceptions of hope, with reference to stem cell treatments, testing and bio-sensing technologies, anti-ageing treatments, longevity research and other frontiers of biomedicine.

Alex Broom will speak around his work on cancer survivorship, drawing on patient and clinical accounts, with a focus on the utilisaton of hope as a therapeutic and normative mechanism (i.e. those who ‘think positive’ do best), and exploring the ways in which hope can be reconfigured by
lay and alternative practices.

Thursday 8th October 2015
Time: 12 – 2pm
Location: State Library Victoria
Village Roadshow Theatrette

See this flyer for further information and to RSVP.


Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett launches her latest book

Book-Launch-HFMSociology recently hosted the launch of the recent Palgrave Macmillan published book – International Students and Crime. The lead author, Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett, was the recipient of a four-year ARC Post-Doctoral Fellowship that underpinned the study, which was conducted across Australia, the UK and the U.S.  Professor Kim-Langfield-Smith, Vice-Provost (Academic Performance) at Monash University, officially launched the book, noting the importance of the work for understanding international student safety and security. She also acknowledged the extent of the cross-country comparison undertaken in the study and the importance of international students to Monash University and Australia.  The launch was attended by well over 55 Monash staff, postgraduate students, and representatives from the education industry and government and non-government organisations.  The Master of Ceremonies was Inspector Michael McGinn, Area commander for Monash Police. Inspector McGinn commented that the findings of the study will be very useful in helping police connect with diverse communities and particularly those in need.


Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett delivers an Accredited Training Presentation to CUPIC in the USA

CUPIC-group3Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett presented her work on international students and crime at the College and University Police Investigators Conference in Virginia, Washington USA, August 2015.  Her presentation session formed part of the accredited training for Virginia Law Enforcement Officers. International student safety and security is becoming an increasing issue of concern in the US and the attendees were keen to learn about the findings of Dr Forbes-Mewett’s comparative study conducted across Australia, the UK and the US.


Hope in Health: The Socio-Politics of Optimism

alan-hope-palgraveA new book by Alan Petersen, recently published by Palgrave.

“The language of hope permeates contemporary health and healthcare. It is believed that patients who are hopeful are more likely to recover, and health professionals endeavour to ‘instil’ or ‘manage’ hope in patients. The rhetoric of hope is extensively employed in marketing medical tests, treatments and devices. Despite this focus on hope in health, sociologists and other social scientists have failed to offer a systematic analysis of the discourses of hope and related practices.

This book is the first to explore the socio-politics of hope in the contexts of health and healthcare. It highlights the significance of technological promise in contemporary conceptions of hope, making reference to examples such as stem cell treatments, medical testing, personal risk management, the use of self-tracking devices, and anti-ageing treatments and longevity research. The book concludes by arguing for scholars to take more seriously the significance of ‘hope’ in the contexts of health and healthcare.”

Details of the book at Palgrave…


Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett leads major study on International Students and Crime

International Students International Students and Crime by Helen Forbes-Mewett, Jude McCulloch and Chris Nylan was published this month by Palgrave Macmillan. The book, based on interviews with over a hundred and fifty key informers, analyses an issue of major international concern that impacts on lucrative international student markets, international relations, host countries’ reputations as tolerant and safe, as well as the security of international students and the public. While crimes against and by international students have attracted a deal of media attention and discussion internationally, there is little research that systematically describes, analyses and reflects on this phenomenon. The book analyses a spectrum of crime from petty theft to kidnapping and murder, presenting vital knowledge about international students as victims and perpetrators of crime in the US, UK and Australia. Examining the different approaches to student safety in host countries, the book considers the ways in which governments; higher education providers and police approach and implement their responsibilities for international student safety.