Radically reimagining what health is

Explore some of our key research projects

Featured projects

Browse a selection of the key research projects being undertaken in the Centre by our core researchers

image showing standing woman with elderly person in wheelchair in grassy field looking toward setting sun

The Social Life of Death

ARC Discovery Project 2023 - 2026

Leads: Professor Alex Broom, Dr Katherine Kenny and Associate Professor Nadine Ehlers
Research Team: Dr Leah Williams Veazey

This project takes a person-, family- and community-centred approach to understanding how death, dying and bereavement are lived and experienced in Australia today. Using interviews, diaries and photographs, we will take an in-depth look at what matters to people at the end of life and how people give and receive care.

In the wake of COVID-19, and as Australia’s anticipated ‘death boom’ approaches, how to foster ‘good’ deaths has never been more uncertain, or more urgent. This project aims to generate new knowledge to better inform policy and practice, and to spark cultural conversations and social change around the end of life.

Expected outcomes include setting the international benchmark for novel scholarly understandings of death, dying and bereavement, and centring community voices in addressing contemporary challenges to dying well.

Aims and objectives of the project:

  • Systematically document the evolving experience of death, dying and bereavement in Australia using innovative qualitative methods, with a focus on how intersecting social transformations are shaping these experiences;
  • Uncover enduring and emerging challenges to a ‘good enough death’;
  • Develop new theoretical perspectives on death, dying and bereavement amidst social, economic, cultural, political and ecological transformations as deeply relational and interconnected; 
  • Provide a rich evidence base for how the end of life might be done better, from diverse community perspectives;
  • Co-create public-facing outputs that illuminate the various ways that death, dying and bereavement are experienced in Australia to prompt policy improvement, spark cultural conversation and inspire social change.

This project is funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant (DP230100372)

As part of this project, we will be speaking to people who are approaching the end of their life, to their family and friends, and to people who have been bereaved. If you think you would like to take part in this project, please contact us via email at

Kids, Bugs and Drugs: Human-microbial Relations in Everyday Family Life

ARC DECRA 2023 - 2026

Lead: Dr Katherine Kenny
Research Team: Dr Jianni Tien, Dr Roberta Pala, Dr Leah Williams Veazey, Dr Jennifer Hagedorn, Imogen Harper

This project investigates human-microbial relations in everyday family life within the context of escalating Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

It’s hard to believe that antibiotics were discovered less than 100 years ago. Since then, the ability to cure infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi has been one of medicine’s most powerful success stories. But things are changing...

Increasingly, microbes are becoming resistant to our standard arsenal of antimicrobials, resulting in the development of AMR and untreatable ‘superbugs’, which has caused a rise in deaths from infectious diseases over the last few decades.

The current situation demands new ways of understanding and new ways of interacting with the microbial world around us.

‘Kids, Bugs and Drugs’ is a multi-year research project that aims to understand how people manage microbes.  Using innovative qualitative methods, this project expects to generate a better understanding of how human-(anti)microbial relations are understood and negotiated in community settings in daily life.

Expected outcomes include new knowledge in the field of health sociology and a crucial evidence base that will yield significant benefits by informing and enabling community-centred responses to the growing AMR threat.

Aims and objectives of the project:

  • Systematically document the diverse understandings of and practices related to human-microbial relations in everyday life from a range of community perspectives using innovative qualitative methods;
  • Provide key insights into how antimicrobials are used and/or resisted within families, with a focus on meanings and practices across the in/formal care nexus;
  • Develop novel theoretical understandings of human-microbial-antimicrobial relations that attend to the temporalities of illness and relations of care and dependency within the global context of escalating AMR;
  • Deliver policy-relevant and publicly-resonant knowledge by uncovering community-focused perspectives and practices, which will better inform novel educational and practice-improvement strategies in the future.

Visit the Kids, Bugs and Drugs website

This project is funded by an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship (DE220101498).

Child Wellbeing in the Context of Parental Detention

ARC DECRA 2023 - 2026

Lead: Dr Michelle Peterie
Research team: Dr Laura Vidal, Professor Alex Broom, Suzette Jackson, Isabella Kristo

This project investigates the consequences of parental immigration detention for children living in the Australian community. Using qualitative sociological methods, it aims to document and theorise children’s experiences of a parent’s detention, with a focus on the factors that shape children’s social, emotional and material wellbeing in these situations. Expected outcomes include new knowledge concerning the lives and welfare of these potentially vulnerable children, as well as evidence-based insights regarding the policy reforms and social supports they need to thrive. The project will deliver internationally relevant recommendations to help policymakers and service providers improve the lives of children and families navigating the incarceration of a parent.

Aims and objectives of the project:

  • Document the social, emotional and material consequences of immigration detention for detainees’ children;
  • Develop a nuanced qualitative picture of the factors that shape children’s experiences of a parent’s detention;
  • Deliver novel theoretical insights regarding the collateral impacts of migrant incarceration, contributing to interdisciplinary understandings of carcerality and the social production of intergenerational disadvantage;
  • Make urgent policy recommendations to improve and safeguard the wellbeing of detainees’ children and their families.

Visit the Child Wellbeing in the Context of Parental Detention project website

Partner organisation: The Australian Human Rights Commission

This project is funded through an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award grant (DE230101047)

Recruitment for this study is currently open. We are looking to speak with children who have or have previously had a parent detained in Australian immigration detention, as well as these children’s parents and caseworkers/supporters. If you would like more information, or believe you may be eligible to participate, please contact Dr Michelle Peterie:


computer generated image showing macro view of microbials

ARC Hub to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance

ARC Research Hub 2021 - 2026

Leads: Professor Rebecca Guy (Hub Director) & Professor Alex Broom (Usyd Hub Lead)

The proliferation of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) requires a uniquely collaborative approach to research, which brings together all stakeholders, across industry, health and research.

This ARC Hub to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance, led by Director Professor Rebecca Guy, and with the social science component led by Professor Alex Broom, is an over $18 million, 5-year collaboration, to make a considerable impact on AMR, bringing together pharma, biotech, researchers and health providers, to provide innovative solutions.

The University of Sydney component of the Hub focuses on the social science of stewardship, diagnostics and implementation.

Aims and objectives of the project:

  • Take on the global challenge of AMR for Australia through a world-first partnership between industry, researchers, and end-users;
  • The AMR Hub fosters a pre-commercialisation environment to address both social and laboratory-based preclinical challenges to provide a highly integrated diagnostic, pharmaceutical and end-user solution to the problem of AMR;
  • Support the development of new molecular diagnostic technology, improve the processes for identifying potential antibiotic compounds and assess and advise on antimicrobial stewardship with a vision to transform social and health outcomes globally.

Visit the AMR Hub website

This project is funded through an Australian Research Council Research Hub grant (IH190100021)

Nourishing the future

Leads: Professor Alex Broom, Professor David Raubenheimer, Dr Katherine Kenny 
Research Team: Dr Juliet Bennett

SCHS-CPC, 2024-2026.

This joint project of Sydney Centre for Healthy Societies and the Charles Perkins Centre explores the relationships between food systems and practices in social contexts, including in relation to the acceleration of social inequality, multispecies challenges, biodiversity loss, environmental degradation, geopolitical tensions and global financial stability.

It includes a particular focus on the global production, distribution and (lack of) regulation of harmful industrially manufactured foods, as well as the broader political economy they operate within.

This research program reconceptualises pervasive health threats such as obesity, diabetes and premature death as emergent from complex and multifaceted food systems rather than the food and lifestyle ‘choices’ of individuals, alone.

By centring food systems, and the impediments to change that they present, we consider the social and structural drivers of these entrenched modes of production, distribution and consumption that must shift in order to protect the health of people and the environment.

Aims and objectives of the project:

  • Explore the prefigurative ways of living and eating of the future through transgenerational leverage points, with a focus on parents and the ways that children and youth are learning to navigate food/food systems;
  • Platform examples of prefigurative food politics that are nourishing the future societies and exemplify the sustainable food practices that communities want to see;
  • Identify policy and governance practices and frameworks that might limit or could foster healthy food and food systems.

This project is funded by Charles Perkins Centre Jennie Mackenzie Research Fund and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The University of Sydney

As part of this project, we will be speaking to:

  • parents on the barriers and enablers to (un)healthy food choices;
  • people involved in alternative food practices, communities and movements;
  • people who are part of the policy and regulatory ecosystem, including people involved in food research, civil society, government and the food industry.

If you think you would like to take part in this project, please contact us via email at

'Superbugs' in India: Antimicrobial Resistance, Inequality and Development in India

ARC Discovery Project 2019 - 2023

Leads: Professor Assa Doron & Professor Alex Broom

This project explores the intersections of poverty, cultural practices and the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This includes the evolving interface of industrial pharmaceutical development, inequality, relations between humans and animals, and so on. 

Aims and objectives of the project:

The project aims to strengthen understanding of the intersections of therapeutic use, infective threats, economic conditions and cultural practices by:

  • Documenting the cultural dynamics of infective risk, illness experience and infection management in India;
  • Identifying the cultural, political and economic drivers of engagement with antimicrobials at the ‘local’ level;
  • Investigating environmental exposure, industrial production, and global/local markets for antimicrobials;
  • Examining state and institutional responses to the threat of AMR and widespread ‘misuse’ of antibiotics;
  • Producing policy-relevant findings for improving future antimicrobial interventions and governance.

Selected publication outputs:

Broom, A., Doron, A. (2022). Resistant bugs, porous borders and ecologies of care in IndiaSocial Science and Medicine, 292, 114520.

Broom, A., Doron, A. (2020). Antimicrobial resistance, politics and practice in IndiaQualitative Health Research, 30(11), 1684-1696

This project is funded through an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant (DP190100823)

Current projects

Browse a selection of projects that our Centre researchers are currently working on

Troubling Care: Affective Entanglements in a Changing World

Leads: Professor Alex Broom and Dr Michelle Peterie
Research Team: Imogen Harper

Care is a constant presence throughout our lives, from the moments of our births, through our experiences with illness and aging, right through to our eventual deaths. We require care for our survival and flourishing. Equally, we are often called upon to care for others, be they kin, kith, acquaintances or strangers. The forms these caring entanglements take shape who we are in our everyday lives – and, indeed, who we are permitted to be.

As part of this project, we are exploring the experiences of ‘carers’ across a broad range of sites and contexts, interrogating care’s complexities, contradictions and embeddedness in the (sometimes coercive, often unjust) systems and structures of contemporary life.

Exploring carer experiences in contexts as seemingly different as illness and unemployment, immigration detention and climate catastrophe, we are examining the unwieldy nature of care and caring, troubling romanticised renderings of the carer experience and exposing care’s darker underbelly.

This project will culminate in the publication of a co-authored book (currently under contract with Polity Press) that offers a new analysis of caring relations that integrates rich human stories, cutting-edge social science and humanities theory, and a focus on the social, political and economic transformations that are rapidly reshaping carers’ lives.

This project is funded through the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The University of Sydney.

Infrastructures of Informal Care: Inequality, Exploitation, Emancipation

Leads: Dr Michelle Peterie,  Dr Katherine Kenny, Professor Alex Broom, and Professor Gaby Ramia

Care is fundamental to our individual and collective wellbeing. Yet care is also steeped in power and deeply implicated in historical and present-day inequalities and injustices. Taking seriously the darker potentialities of care as a relation of exploitation and domination, this collaborative project interrogates the social and governance infrastructures that variously shape, expropriate, necessitate and unravel care at the ‘private’ interpersonal level.

Building on the momentum generated through two collaborative workshops/conferences in 2022, this project will culminate in the publication of an edited collection (currently under contract with Policy Press). Combining rich empirical analysis and theoretical rigour, the collection will paint an evocative picture of: (a) entrenched inequalities in the distribution of both informal care responsibilities and the resources needed to undertake them, (b) the intimate relationship between care, exploitation and expropriation, including the embeddedness of informal care in colonial configurations of power, and (c) the importance of reforming, resourcing and valuing informal care at the infrastructural level. Ultimately, it will bring together cutting-edge scholarship on social infrastructures and social care to ask how care might be reconfigured in the service of healthier and more equitable societies.

This project is funded through the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The University of Sydney

Sustainable and Healthier Societies through NanoTech: A Sociological Study of Technological Innovation

Leads: Professor Alex Broom and Associate Professor Alice Motion (Sydney Nano Institute) and Dr Katherine Kenny
Research team: Dr Jianni Tien

Project Description

New and emerging nanoscale biosensing technologies promise to revolutionise the detection of airborne pathogens circulating in any particular environment prior to their infection of human bodies.

While the development of nanoscale biosensors has drawn increasing attention in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the social consequences of such innovation have not been as comprehensively considered.

In collaboration with The University of Sydney Nano Institute (SydneyNano), this interdisciplinary research project examines the social dimensions of scientific and technological innovation, grounded in the specifics of the development of nanoscale biosensing technologies.

This project examines how we can bring social science and nanotechnology expertise into closer dialogue, and how we might do so further upstream in the innovation process than is usually the case.

By exploring the people and processes behind technological innovation, we are building a clearer understanding of the intersection between technoscience and society. By centring the social consequences of new nanoscale technologies, we examine how we can firmly embed a focus on ethics, politics, and power relations into the innovation process.

 Aims and objectives of the project:

  • To explore the intersections of technoscience and society including issues of envisioned futures, technocratic imaginaries, sustainability and social justice, using qualitative methods;
  • To bring social science and nanotech expertise into productive dialogue further ‘upstream’ than is usually the case;
  • To explore how this collaboration might serve as a model for ‘upstreaming’ ethical, legal and social issues/implications and responsible research and innovation approaches and more firmly embedding the social sciences within the innovation pipeline.

Partner Organisation: The University of Sydney Nano Institute (SydneyNano)

We are currently looking for research participants for this project. If you are involved in the field of nanotechnology and are an academic, scientist, researcher, HDR student, research assistant or project manager at a university or tertiary institution, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Dr Jianni Tien at

Immigration Detention and Social Harm: The Collateral Impacts of Migrant Incarceration

2022 - 2024

Leads: Dr Michelle Peterie
Research team: Nadeen Madkour

This project brings together key scholars from Australia, North America, the UK and Europe to interrogate the harms immigration detention imposes within and beyond detention centre walls. The project will culminate in the publication of a forthcoming edited collection (currently under contract with Routledge), structured in three parts:

  • Part 1: Human Costs examines the harms immigration detention imposes on people who are not personally incarcerated, but are nonetheless touched by detention regimes. These chapters paint an evocative picture of immigration detention facilities as carceral institutions that impose punishment beyond the detainee, causing multiple layers of (often politically expedient) harm.
  • Part 2: Societal Consequences takes a wider view, exploring the ramifications of immigration detention for society at large. The chapters in this section offer critical perspectives on the embeddedness of immigration detention regimes in broader systems of exploitation and extraction. They show how (racialised and gendered) immigrant detention naturalises and perpetuates gross inequalities and injustices – reproducing harm at the local and global levels. Chapters in this section also draw attention to the corrosive impacts of immigration detention on the law and democracy. Ultimately, the chapters in this section attest that the social harms of immigration detention are at once disproportionately felt by marginalised communities, and ultimately borne by us all.
  • The final section of the book – Part 3: Ending the Harm – considers how the reverberating harms documented in this book might be addressed through detention reform and detention abolition.

This international edited collection will be a key reference text for scholars and students in the social and behavioural sciences who are interested in immigration detention, human rights and/or incarceration.

This project is funded by a University of Sydney Robinson Fellowship

girl playing doctor with woman

Future-proofing Australia’s Care Economy: A Relational Mobilities Approach

ARC DECRA 2024 - 2026

Lead: Dr Leah Williams Veazey

This project investigates the experiences of Australia’s migrant and mobile health workforce in the context of increasing care needs and worker shortages worldwide. It explores how healthcare workers’ family relationships and informal care responsibilities shape their migration decisions, experiences in the workplace and plans for the future.

People who provide healthcare are more than just workers. They live multidimensional lives in which their professional skills, home environment, national identity and personal histories and biographies are crucially important in their migration decisions. Yet, current attempts to attract and retain healthcare workers are often overly centred on professional skills, rather than on healthcare workers as members of families, networks and communities, as well as skilled professionals. This narrow view neglects many dimensions of their lives, including their informal care commitments and attachments – caring for children or elderly parents, for example. Healthcare workers, as participants in both formal and informal care, provide an exemplary case for examining how care and work interact in contemporary Australia. The Australian healthcare system is globally connected via the movement of people and sharing of knowledge. This project investigates how these connections shape, and are shaped by, the delivery of care in the workplace and beyond.

Aims and objectives of the project:

  • Document the experiences of Australia’s mobile and migrant healthcare workforce (including healthcare students), from the perspectives of healthcare workers and students, and their caring and collegial connections.
  • Develop a nuanced picture of the complex interplay between work, care, knowledge and emotion and how these shape the migration trajectories of healthcare workers in a digitally-connected world.
  • Deliver novel theoretical insights into the intersecting geographic, affective, occupational, epistemological and relational dimensions of migration decisions by centring the family (in all its diverse forms) and networks of care.
  • Work with policy and industry stakeholders to develop study findings into effective policy solutions to future-proof the healthcare workforce and maximise Australia’s capacity to attract and retain healthcare workers and the expertise they bring to Australia.

This project is funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award grant (DE240100074)

Exceptional Trajectories: Transforming Understandings of Cancer Survivorship

Leads: Professor Kevin Dew, Professor Alex Broom, Professor Kerry Chamberlain, Professor Chris Cunningham, Associate Professor Richard Egan and Dr Liz Dennett

Although cancer survival is increasingly common, some people have exceptional cancer trajectories (ECTs). Unexpected survival can be understood in various ways: from statistical outliers to posing serious challenges to current understandings of cancer. There is a need to explore these contested interpretations, where biophysical understandings and lay accounts of illness and healing meld and clash. This project will investigate how survivors, their companions and supporters, and their health and medical carers represent, understand and negotiate survivorship, to gain insights into anomalous survivorship. By delving into the complexity of the extraordinary we open the prospect of turning the exceptional into the normal.

Aims and objectives of the project:

Overall, our goal is to greatly advance our understanding of ECTs and the complex and elusive phenomena they encompass. To achieve this, we have multiple objectives. We will:

  • Develop new knowledge about how ECTs are experienced and understood by cancer patients, their significant companions and the practitioners involved in their care and seek insight into how these multiple perspectives align and clash;
  • Identify the values and moral imperatives underpinning responses to, and claims about, ECTs;
  • Identify the strategies that patients and health practitioners use when responding to understandings of exceptional cancer outcomes;
  • Advance understanding of patient identity construction and reconstruction in relation to cancer diagnosis, experiences of cancer and the therapeutic approaches taken;
  • Explore contested or controversial claims and identify their underlying assumptions;
  • Examine the normative systems at play in ECTs (what understandings are allowed).

Picturing Cancer Survivorship

2018 - 2023

Leads: Dr Katherine Kenny & Professor Alex Broom
Research team: Associate Professor Emma Kirby & Dr Stefanie Plage 

Two out of every five Australians – almost half of us – will be diagnosed with cancer before our eighty-fifth birthday. Even so, we generally don’t fully understand what cancer diagnosis, treatment and survivorship are really like until we go through them ourselves. Before that, we hear about ‘fighting the battle’, see #fightcancer hashtags and go-fund-me pages, and know – in general terms – how tough treatments like chemotherapy can be. But the representations of cancer that we typically see in the media are fairly narrow and so we get only limited glimpses into the day-to-day experiences of people who are living (and sometimes dying) with cancer. These glimpses rarely show the full picture of what day-to-day life with cancer is like – away from the hospital and back in ‘everyday’ life. This isn’t easy to document. It takes place both within and well beyond the walls of the hospital or clinic, can be quite private and is sometimes difficult to talk about or explain.

So, we gave some of the participants in our study a camera and asked them to show us, with photographs, what living with cancer was really like, for them.

Aims and objectives of the project:

In addition to the aims of the ‘Changing Landscapes of Cancer Survivorship’ Project, of which this project is part of, ‘Picturing Cancer Survivorship’ also seeks to:

  • Document how people experience cancer in a person-centred way, that is, not only as a ‘patient’, but as a mother, father, daughter, son, husband, wife, or grandparent, as a person at home, or at work, as a friend, neighbour, or member of the community.
  • Develop innovative visual methods for studying topics that can be difficult to discuss
  • Build a better understanding of what people actually go through when they’re living with cancer.

Visit the Picturing Cancer Survivorship website

Download a copy of the project book: Picturing Cancer Survivorship: A Collection of Photographs from the Changing Landscapes of Survivorship Study (2022) (PDF).

Partner organisation: Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital

The Picturing Cancer Survivorship project is part of ‘The Changing Landscapes of Survivorship’, an Australian Research Council-funded Discovery Project (DP150100414)

Project archive

Browse a selection of past projects led by some of our Centre researchers and partners

ARC Discovery Project 2019 – 2022

Leads: Professor Alex Broom with Dr Katherine Kenny, Professor Barbara Prainsack, Professor Mustafa Khasraw, Associate Professor Zarnie Lwin, Dr Mal Itchins, Professor Claire Wakefield, Associate Professor Emma Kirby, Professor David Wyld, and Dr Alex Page

This study investigated the social implications of the turn toward ‘precision’ medicine, focusing on cancer care, where it has its strongest foothold.

Even though medical advancements are leading to new cancer treatments, experiences of seeking, screening for, and receiving targeted therapies are not well understood. Using social and political theory to explore ideas such as hope, cost, benefit, and value of targeted therapies, this project examined the evolving social impacts of ‘precision’ across the life course for cancer patients, their carers and health professionals.

Through its examination of the everyday experiences of patients, carers, and health professionals, this research provided a clearer understanding of experiences of receiving (or not receiving) targeted therapies for individuals and their families living with cancer.

The outcomes of this project inform practice and policy frameworks and offer an urgently needed community perspective on the evolution and value of precision in medicine.

Partner organisations: The University of New South Wales and The University of Vienna, Austria

This project was funded through an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP190100745)

ARC Linkage 2018 – 2022

Leads: Professor Alex Broom with Dr Katherine Kenny, Associate Professor Emma Kirby, Associate Professor Mark Davis, Professor Susan Dodds, Associate Professor Jennifer Broom, Professor Jeffrey Post, and Dr Pam Konecny

The emergence and spread of microbes that are resistant to our currently available antimicrobial drugs is a growing threat within hospital systems in Australia and worldwide. In fact, drug-resistant infections are now one of the biggest challenges that hospitals face in delivering safe and effective care.

While inappropriate or over-use of antibiotic drugs is one of the key drivers of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), ‘solving’ the problem of AMR requires more than our current individual-level interventions directed towards the prescribing behaviours of practising clinicians. Instead, it requires a systematic approach that addresses how the problem of AMR is seen as a political priority, how it is addressed across the entire healthcare system, and how managers are held accountable for securing the future against the escalating threat of AMR.

This project utilised a critical sociological approach to develop a unique understanding of what governs antibiotic use in the health sector and how we might govern it more effectively. Focused on developing new solutions and models for better governing infection management in practice, it critically assessed current governance structures and regulatory and legislative environments and how these shape the possibilities for combatting AMR in the hospital setting.

Aims and objectives of the project:

This project explored the social dynamics of surveillance, regulation and the rollout of external controls in the context of antibiotic optimisation. Specifically, it:

  • Systematically documented the nexus of infection management, antibiotic use and governance at the interpersonal, institutional and national/government levels;
  • Provided key insights into the current logics and implementation of antimicrobial governance, in hospital and community settings, and from multi-stakeholder perspectives;
  • Developed a new theoretical framework on the social dynamics of effective antibiotic governance, driving future policy and practice in healthcare settings across Australia;
  • Collaborated with our Partner Organisations on evidenced-based guidance for improved regulation of antibiotics.

Selected publication outputs:

Broom, J., Broom, A., Kenny, K. Post, J. & Konecny, P. (2023). Multidisciplinary team meetings in prosthetic joint infection management: a qualitative study. Infection, Disease and Health.

Broom, A., Peterie, M., Kenny, K., Ramia, G., & Ehlers, N. (2022). The Administration of Harm: From Unintended Consequences to Harm by DesignCritical Social Policy.

Broom, A., Kenny, K., Prainsack, B., & Broom, J. (2020). Antimicrobial resistance as a problem of values? Views from three continentsCritical Public Health, 31(4), 451-463.

Partner organisations: Sunshine Coast Health and Hospital Service; Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation; Prince of Wales Hospital; the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care; The Australasian Society of Infectious Diseases; and the Australian Society for Antimicrobials.

This project was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant (LP170100300)

ARC Discovery 2018 - 2021

Leads: Professor Greg Marston, Professor Phillip Mendes, Associate Professor Louise Humpage, Dr Shelley Bielefeld, Dr Michelle Peterie, Dr Zoe Staines, and Dr Steven Roche

Using an innovative mixed-methods methodology that incorporated a cross-national comparison of policy design and practice, this project explored the effects of income management (IM) policies on individuals, families and communities. The project delivered new analysis of IM in Australia, as well as its more recent introduction in New Zealand. It culminated in the publication of a co-authored book Compulsory Income Management in Australia and New Zealand: More Harm than Good? Together with other project outputs, this book advanced richer understandings of human agency, autonomy, and social identity in the context of social security policy.

Read more about this project in The Conversation‘I don’t want anybody to see me using it’: cashless welfare cards do more harm than good.

Click here to view and purchase the project book: Compulsory Income Management in Australia and New Zealand More Harm than Good?

This project was funded through an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant (DP180101252)

ARC Discovery Project 2015 - 2018

Leads: Professor Alex Broom with Dr Katherine Kenny, Associate Professor Emma Kirby, Distinguished Professor Patsy Yates, Professor Clive Seale, Professor John Oliffe, Associate Professor Zarnie Lwin, Professor David Wyld, Dr Brett Hughes and Annette Cubitt

Although it still evokes considerable fear in most people’s lives, a cancer diagnosis is no longer the death sentence it once was.

More and more, people are living-with cancer in an on-going, if also incurable, way.

This reconfigured terrain of cancer survivorship is presenting new challenges not only for the people with cancer in their bodies but for their families and health professionals, too.

Using innovative qualitative methods including solicited diaries and photo-elicitation, the ‘Changing Landscapes of Survivorship’ project explored the meanings and practices that underpin contemporary cancer survivorship in people’s everyday lives.

Living-with cancer emerged from our analysis as a complex set of relational, temporal and normative practices that speak beyond experiences of health, illness and care to the entangled nature of social existence, more generally.

Aims and objectives of the project:

Synthesising the experiences of people currently living with cancer -and incorporating the perspectives of their informal carers and health professionals - this project sought to advance a broad evidence base regarding the landscapes of contemporary cancer survivorship, informing policy and practice nationally and internationally. Specifically, this study:

  • Systematically and chronologically documented the range of experiences of cancer survivorship, across patient groups, institutions and care providers, and from multi-stakeholder perspectives;
  • Provided the first insights into the relational aspects of cancer survivorship, including the role of, and impact on, partners, family and informal carers;
  • Uncovered the interplaying roles of biomedicine, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and self-care, in shaping and driving cancer survivorship;
  • Developed new theoretical perspectives on cancer survivorship synthesising the individual, relational, temporal and professional spheres, in social and cultural contexts.

Selected publication outputs:

Broom, A. & Kenny, K. (2021). Survivorship: A Sociology of Cancer in Everyday Life. Routledge.

Broom, A., Kenny, K., Williams Veazey, L., Page, A., Prainsack, B., Wakefield, C. E., Khasraw, M., Itchines, M. & Lwin, Z. (2022). Living (well) with cancer in the precision eraSSM – Qualitative Research in Health, 2, 100096

Broom, A. & Kenny, K. (2020). The moral cosmology of cancer: Making disease meaningfulThe Sociological Review, 69(2), 003802612096291.

Partner organisation: Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital

This project was funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP150100414)

2020 - ongoing

Leads: Professor Barbara Prainsack and Dr Katharina Kieslich Participating country teams: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom

This comparative project spanning nine European countries uses qualitative methods to explore how people react to policy measures that have been introduced, and what actions they take on their own initiative over and above the official advice by public authorities.

What motivates citizens to follow, adapt to, or ignore, the advice of public authorities? What do they do to protect themselves, and to support others – and what roles do technologies play in this? What, or who, do people trust in these uncertain times? What do people need to feel safe in the time of crisis?

The qualitative longitudinal study design involves ‘soft comparisons’ between countries over time allowing us not only to identify differences and similarities in how people responded to the pandemic and the ensuing policy measures, but also why. These findings are expected to generate valuable evidence for policies for pandemic preparedness, prevention and containment in the countries under study, and beyond.

Read more about the Solidarity in Times of Pandemic project here.

ARC Special Research Initiative 2020 - 2023

Leads: Professor Lisa Adkins, Professor Martijn Konings and Associate Professor Dallas Rogers

This project addressed the role of housing in growing inequalities of wealth in Australia in an era when housing prices have risen faster than wages. The project generated knowledge about:

  • The institutional drivers that have led to a combination of house price appreciation and wage stagnation;
  • The role that intergenerational housing-based wealth transfers are playing in shaping the life chances and trajectories of young people. The project has developed a model of social stratification that takes full account of household asset positions. 

The findings of the project provide benefits to organisations seeking practical policy options for addressing growing wealth inequality and enhancing social cohesion in Australia.

This project was funded by an Australian Research Council Special Research Initiative grant (SR200200443)

ARC Discovery Project 2019 - 2023

Leads: Professor Gaby Ramia, Professor Alan Morris, Associate Professor Shaun Wilson, Dr Catherine Hastings and Dr Emma Mitchell

Official government data on the experience of international students produce a narrative of high satisfaction rates with all aspects of life and the educational experience in Australia.

Yet international students have almost none of the rights of ‘social citizenship’, and there is compelling evidence that they face major challenges in relation to personal finances and housing in particular. Many of them also experience widespread racism, discrimination, and social isolation. Data from this project demonstrates that each and all of these problems have been exacerbated, if not multiplied, since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis.

The project was based on large surveys, a body of student interviews and in-depth interviews with international education policy and governance experts and stakeholders. Interviews related most directly to housing precarity, but with wider implications for welfare, wellbeing, and the educational experience.

Nested within a broader research program across three universities, the research team included one of our Centre research theme leaders, Professor Gaby Ramia.

Visit the Welfare and Wellbeing of International Students project website. 

This project was funded through an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant (DP190101073)

Leads: Professor Lyn Craig, Associate Professor Myra Hamilton, Dr Elizabeth Adamson and Professor Virpi Timonen

This project investigated the intricacies of shared childcare responsibilities with parents and grandparents in contemporary Australia. The project focused on parent-grandparent care dyads to generate critical new knowledge of intra-family negotiations about employment and childcare provision across generations (and their relationship with social and economic policy) and identified sustainable employment-childcare practices that better meet the needs of children, parents and grandparents.