School of Social Sciences

Anthropology and Sociology


Our staff work on a wide range of projects covering anthropological and sociological topics in Australia and international regions including Europe, Africa, and Asia, and extending into the Pacific and the Antarctic.

Education and Social Policy


Education and social policy cut to the heart of how humans interact with and are shaped by social services relating to areas such as learning, welfare and wellbeing. Research in these areas considers a variety of issues and phenomena, ranging from how schools are governed or welfare programs are implemented, through to broader concerns about inequality, globalisation and the changing role of governments in the lives of citizens.

Environmental Conflicts


Environmental disputes pose problems for both local peoples and governments regarding environmental management and protection, species conservation, sustainable resource use, and sociocultural resilience, as well as relating to global environmental and biosecurity crises. Our research considers environmental conflicts and property contestations between Indigenous peoples and others who have different perspectives on resource use and different attachments to place in Australia and overseas.

Gender, Class, Family, and Community Studies


Central to our work is the important role and enormous diversity across cultures and regions of gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, class, age, and generation and their impact on social life, equity and wellbeing. We explore the centrality of kinship, family and community as both profoundly important and emancipatory as well as potentially damaging and constraining influences on people, with an emphasis on the richness and variety of cultural beliefs and practices in a range of ethnographic settings.

Media, Visual Anthropology, Technology and Society


The relationships between people and their visual, material and media artifacts, including social media, art, photography, film & television, museum collections and so on is a focus of much of our research, across a range of topics. We consider creativity, aesthetics, representations, the social uses and effects of new media technologies, property and its transformations, and more.

Migration, Mobilities and Transnationalism


We live in a world characterised by mobility. People travel for migration or tourism, moving permanently or temporarily, individually or with families, by choice or through force. The corollary is immobility, manifest in border controls or social exclusion. We ask what are the patterns of movement, what are the reasons behind movement, and what are the effects of movement, at both the macro and micro levels. What is the role of the nation-state in generating belonging and exclusion, how are racism and anti-racism generated and perpetuated, and how is mobility implicated in processes of transformation at the national and global levels?

Social and Political Development


Our research on development covers such issues as the impacts of social media use in rural areas, the successes and failures of participatory approaches to development, impacts of protected areas on Indigenous and stateless peoples, and the interaction of local agricultural initiatives with government regulatory regimes.

Social Equity and Justice


Some of the key questions of our time revolve around social equity and justice. How can we build a world where everyone’s opportunities ensure they have access to basic human rights such as sustenance, housing, education and freedom? In order to answer such questions, it is vital to understand how social structures generate inequality and limit life chances.

Anthropological Forum

Founded in 1963, Anthropological forum is an international journal of social and cultural anthropology, and comparative sociology. Published four times a year, it has four traditional areas of focus: Aboriginal Australia, Australian culture and society, the Pacific, and Southeast Asia.

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Our Research Projects and Grants

Ageing and New Media

Researcher:

Loretta Baldassar

Coordinated by Loretta Baldassar with Raelene Wilding (La Trobe), this three-year ARC project aims to highlight the role that new media can play in the support networks of older Australians.

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Australian, transnational and postnational identities: affective aspects of social inclusion

Researcher:

Farida Fozdar

This Future Fellowship seeks to understand how Australians see themselves, particularly in terms of Australian, transnational and postnational identities.

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Food security and the governance of local knowledge in agriculture in India and Indonesia

Researcher:

Greg Accaioli

With partner universities Newcastle, Monash, Indonesia, and the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, this project investigates how farmers are engaging in such innovations as breeding their own seeds in the context of coping with climate change and adjusting to ever more intrusive regulatory regimens from the governments of India and Indonesia.

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Fostering Pro-Environment Consciousness and Practice: Environmentalism, Environmentality and Environmental Education in Indonesia

Researcher:

Greg Accaioli

This multidisciplinary project within UWA, partnered with Universities of Newcastle and Indonesia, investigates how environmental education programs, both in formal schooling and in informal contexts fostered by NGOs, are shaping environmental attitudes and practices in Indonesia.

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Mixed Race in Australia, Asia and the Pacific

Researcher:

Farida Fozdar

This suite of projects has sought to address the dearth of research on mixed race in the region to examine a formerly stigmatised group, now often seen as the embodiment of a cosmopolitan future.

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National Schooling Reform and the Reshaping of Australian Federalism

Researcher:

Glenn Savage

This ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award project examines the evolving landscape of national schooling reform.

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Internationalism at Home

Researcher:

Loretta Baldassar

This UWA Alumni Grant funded project is built in as part of the formal curriculum in the fourth year Anthropology and Sociology Honours.

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Picturing Uganda - The Ham Mukasa Photographic Archive

Lead Chief Investigator:

Richard Vokes

This collaboration with Makerere University Art Gallery and the University of Leiden, aims to digitise, catalogue, and make publicly available, the photographic collection of Ham Mukasa (1868-1956), a leading political and intellectual figure in early colonial Uganda.

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The Social Production of Science

Lead Chief Investigator:

Richard Vokes

This project uses participant-observation to examine how scientific expeditions and experiments are organised and experienced in and through New Zealand’s Scott Base, on Ross Island, Antarctica.

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Youth Mobilities, Aspirations and Pathways Project

Researcher:

Loretta Baldassar

Th YMAP ARC Discovery project in partnership with Deakin University and Western Sydney University examines transnational mobility amongst young people moving both in and out of Australia.

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Please note that the above projects are an overview of the work being done by the Anthropology & Sociology staff at UWA. If you are interested in a project that is not listed, please contact the discipline chair.

Copyright in the photographs appearing on this webpage belongs to the photographers. Please contact the School of Social Sciences for permission to reproduce a photograph.