Youth research

Our youth research focuses on the ways young people respond to – and create – new conditions of social and economic life in the 21st century. We explore the meanings and impacts of globalisation, new media and technology, the new transitions environment and shifts in work/study patterns, relationships and self-identity and citizenship for youth today.

Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett is developing new research avenues in response to Australia’s diverse and changing international student population. She holds an ARC Post Doctoral Fellowship and is undertaking a project entitled International Student Safety from Crime.  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).

Dr Steve Roberts researches and publishes on how social class and gender shape, influence and constrain young people’s experiences of and aspirations for education, employment, housing, consumption and the domestic sphere. His most recent research projects include investigations into the shifting nature of youthful masculinities and also a study of  youth homelessness in a relatively affluent suburb of Melbourne. Internationally recognised in the sociological study of youth and young adulthood, Steve is often called upon to advise on methods and findings from policy-related research and to offer commentary on international youth-related issues. Recent examples include advice to the UK’s Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission on research into youth employment destinations, advocacy for the charity World Vision and also analysis of the challenges facing the ‘millennial generation’ for eFM Radio South Korea. 

Associate Professor Jo Lindsay  researches young people’s consumption and leisure practices, and has also undertaken major research projects on young workers and health risks in their social lives, and youth sexual health knowledge and practices. She is currently working on a large national project on young people and alcohol consumption

Dr Kirsten McLean researches issues surrounding inclusion and diversity in higher education, and has an ongoing research interest in young people and sexualities.

Professor Zlatko Skrbis is undertaking a large-scale ARC-funded longitudinal study into the Social Futures and Life Pathways of Young People in Queensland, known as the ‘Our Lives’ project, and holds an ARC Linkage grant for a project on Social Networks, Belonging and Active Citizenship among Migrant Youth in Australia.

 Dr Amy Shields Dobson’s (Sociology Adjunct) research focuses on representations and practices of young people within digital cultures, particularly social network sites and in social media. She 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’. She has also conducted research into Internet cam girls, exploring the meanings of cam girl performances and communities for contemporary feminist politics.

Associate Professor Anita Harris (Sociology Adjunct) undertakes research on youth identities and cultures; young people’s citizenship, participation and new politics, and their negotiation of globalisation and multiculturalism. Her current ARC Future Fellowship Young People and Social Inclusion in the Multicultural City looks at how young people manage conditions of hyperdiversity in urban spaces, and her ARC Discovery Project (2011-2013) The Civic Life of Young Australian Muslims: Active Citizenship, Community Belonging and Social Inclusion investigates informal, everyday civic practices amongst ‘ordinary’ young Muslims. She has also published widely in girls’ studies, and is currently developing a project to internationalise this interdisciplinary field. Her most recent book is young people and everyday multiculturalism