Profile image of Rose Butler

Dr Rose Butler



DECRA Senior Research Fellow


Faculty of Arts and Education


Alfred Deakin Institute


Melbourne Burwood Campus


I am a sociologist and Senior Research Fellow with a background in anthropology and ethnography. My research focuses on how children, youth and families negotiate broadscale economic and social change and insecurity within their personal and social relationships, notably in relation to class, ethnicity, identity and emotion. I am particularly interested in rural lives and livelihoods and have undertaken work and research with young people and families in non-metropolitan Australia over the past 12 years. I joined ADI from UNSW Sydney and completed my doctorate at the Australian National University (ANU) in 2014.

More information about my publication history is available on academia.

Read more on Rose's profile

Teaching interests

I welcome inquiries from prospective postgraduate students in relation to my research interests.

Knowledge areas

Youth studies and childhood studies

Class, privilege and inequality

Intimacy, family and relationships

Migration, mobilities and multiculturalism

Rural life and critical rural studies

Schooling and education

Professional activities

Co-convenor: Mobilities, Diversity and Multiculturalism Stream, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation

Member: The Australian Sociological Association (Youth; Migration, Ethnicity & Multiculturalism; Families and Relationships; Rural Issues Thematic Groups)

Member: American Sociological Association (Children & Youth; Family; International Migration)

Member: Consortium for Youth, Generations & Culture

Media appearances

Butler, R. and Ho, C. 2016. Why do parents take such different approaches to their kids' education?’ The Conversation, 10 Oct.

Muir, K., Powell, A. and Butler, R. 2015. A whacking stick is not enough to get young people into work’. The Conversation, 19 March.


I am currently leading two research projects:

  • Young People’s Mobilities, Relationships and Place-making in Rural Australia (ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award). This project investigates how young people from diverse ‘local’, migrant and humanitarian refugee backgrounds are negotiating difference and belonging in a rural, multicultural settler town of Victoria undergoing rapid transformation. The research centres historical and contemporary rural configurations of class, race, economy, youth cultures and identities. This project builds on my doctoral research (published as the book Class, Culture and Belonging in Rural Childhoods) which was based on sustained ethnographic research with children and parents in two school communities of the same rural town. This work examined the moral and classed cultural resources on which children draw to make sense of economic insecurity and inequality in everyday life. It showed how such resources shape the ability for children from differently situated backgrounds to shore up belonging within distinct social contexts.
  • Love across Class: Social Difference and Intimacy in Contemporary Australia (with Eve Vincent, Macquarie University). This project explores the role that class plays within intimate partnerships between people from different class backgrounds. The research approaches romantic partnerships, forged across class differences, as an important yet little explored site for understanding how class and inequality work in contemporary Australia. Focusing on class at the intersection of economy and culture, the project attends to the role that deeply encultured class-based orientations play in the everyday experiences of such couples at the same time as it explores their entanglement with gender, race and sexuality. These shared inter-class intimacies offer fresh insights into frictions, desires, affinities, solidarities and amusement in relation to class.

I have ongoing interests in education, inequality, class and mobilites in Australia. My previous research has examined impacts of gentrification, class and racialisation on equality between and within primary schools; whiteness and classed rural identities within rural schooling communities; young people's education biographies and trajectories in regional and rural contexts; and transformations within Australia's middle classes via the lens of inner-city schooling. Along with Megan Watkins and Christina Ho, I co-edited the collection Asian Migration and Education Cultures in the Anglosphere.

Key previous external research projects in relation to young people include 'Widening Participation and Outreach for Students from Regional and Remote, Low-SES, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Backgrounds' (Lead CI, University of Sydney and UNSW, 2017), and 'The Ryde and Northern Beaches Projects Evaluation' (Second CI, Department of Social Services, Mission Australia, The Burdekin Association & UNSW, 2016).