The School of Social Science is dedicated to excellence in teaching and research in anthropology, archaeology, criminology and sociology, as well as multi- and inter-disciplinary programs. Our common focus is to explore culture and society across space and through time. The School is one of the leaders in social science scholarship in Australia.
The School of Social Science contains some of the strongest groups of researchers in Anthropology, Archaeology, Criminology and Sociology in Australia. Their research is highly diverse and draws on a range of theoretical and methodological approaches from across the social sciences. School research is also greatly enhanced by the activities of a large and active group of postgraduate students. Most research in the School falls into one of six broad theme areas that cross discipline boundaries:
Some of these are established research areas for which the School has a well-developed reputation. Others are emerging, reflecting the interests of new staff and the changing research programmes of established staff.
- Family and Individual Well-being
- Social Aspects of Sustainable Development
- Social Inequality
- Indigenous (particularly Australian Aboriginal) Cultures
- Cultural Heritage and Archaeological Science
- Communication and Cross-Cultural Studies
- Social Cohesion and Identity
Some of the diverse research within these themes includes the microscopic analysis of organic residues (e.g. plant starch, hair, & blood) on stone artefacts associated with the prehistoric” hobbit” found in Indonesia, archaeological field research in Hawaii and other Pacific Islands, an investigation of Indigenous (particularly Australian Aboriginal) management of natural and cultural resources, a study of gender in Asia Pacific Cultures, longitudinal studies of mothers' and children's health and development, crime and juvenile offending, sustainability and regional development, life-course pathways through education, work, and family, the effects of neoliberalism on social inequality and cross-national comparative analyses of social policies on household divisions of labour.
In addition, the School maintains an anthropology museum holding a collection of some 26,000 anthropological, archaeological and photographic items that receives considerable use from researchers world-wide and that serves as the focus of the School's program in material culture studies and museum-based anthropology and archaeology.
A distinctive hallmark of research in the School is a commitment to applied research in large team-based (often interdisciplinary) projects involving academics and postgraduate students. Another distinctive characteristic is the strong interest a number of staff members have in developing social science methodology. This interest contributes to the School's reputation for producing highly rigorous social scientific research.