Research driving social change

How does society – and the people within it – change over time? And what are the impacts of such change? These are the questions that our research at the Sociology and Social Change Collective (SSCC) seeks to answer. Through our diverse and collaborative network of researchers, SSCC facilitates projects that address inequality, health policies, migration and other contemporary issues in Australia and globally.

Our research areas

Deakin has one of Australia's strongest humanities and social sciences programs. The School of Humanities and Social Sciences undertakes outstanding, internationally recognised research in diverse fields. The Sociology and Social Change Collective has three research streams:

Health sociology

Our research addresses contemporary health issues in Australia and internationally. This stream has a focus on consumption, gender and sexuality, healthcare technologies and practices. Driven by a commitment to social change, our health sociology research informs community services design, and policy and practice.

Sociology of religion and spirituality

We examine the ever-evolving dimensions of religious and spiritual movements. Our research sheds light on the transformative nature and impact of religion and spirituality on society.

Language, culture and society

We explore contemporary socio-cultural and linguistic issues in Australia and abroad, including digital citizenship and activism, cancel culture, violence and social control, migration, belonging and identity. In each of these areas, we explore the factors shaping social change and their implications for societies.

Study with us

When you undertake a PhD or postdoctoral research with the Sociology and Social Change Collective, you'll be supported by renowned researchers.

Explore our research degrees

Featured projects

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences is a leader in socially engaged and impactful research. Our researchers produce high-quality research outcomes, partnering with diverse stakeholders from government, industry and the not-for-profit sector.

Australian spirituality: wellness, wellbeing and risks

Australian spirituality: wellness, wellbeing and risks

This major, mixed-methods sociology project, led by Associate Professor Anna Halafoff, explores spirituality in Australia, with a focus on its impact on individual and societal wellbeing. This is the first nationwide study of spirituality in Australia, investigating First Nations, religious, and holistic spirituality, their contributions to wellbeing, and their possible risks.

Gendered online harassment

Gendered online harassment

This landmark investigation, led by Associate Professor Kim Toffoletti, aims to improve the online safety of women athletes across Australia. Using data collected from a national survey and qualitative interviews, it examines the experience, impact and potential solutions to gendered online harassment. Findings will be used to inform the development of digital safety regulation and strategies for key stakeholders like clubs, National and State Sport Organisations.

Our researchers

The Sociology and Social Change Collective has an exemplary record of engagement and impact, and is led by:

Associate Professor Kim Toffoletti is an associate professor of sociology in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Her research spans the fields of sociology, gender, media and sport studies. Recent projects have explored the impacts of digital technologies for women and girls’ health and wellbeing, improving sportfan experiences for mothers, and developing culturally relevant approaches to the study of women’s sport and exercise communities.

Dr Kiran Pienaar is a senior lecturer in sociology in the School of Humanities and Social Science. Her research offers new insights into the politics of public health, the impact of public policy on diverse communities, the social dimensions of new medical technologies, and the uneven effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research team

Dr Rose Butler,  Senior Research Fellow in Sociology

Dr Bridgette Desjardins, Visiting Research Fellow in Sociology

Dr David Farrugia,  ARC Future Fellow in Sociology

Dr Renae Fomiatti, Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Vivian Gerrand, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Associate Professor Anna Halafoff, Associate Professor of Sociology

Professor Anita Harris, Research Professor of Sociology

Dr Ashleigh Haw, DECRA Track Postdoctoral Fellowship

Dr Ramon Lopez Castellano, Lecturer in Spanish

Associate Professor Vince Marotta, Associate Professor of Sociology

Associate Professor Maurizio Meloni,  Associate Professor of Sociology

Gemma Nourse, Casual Research Fellow

Dr Kiran Pienaar, Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Professor Andrew Singleton, Professor of Sociology and Social Research

Associate Professor Kim Toffoletti, Associate Professor of Sociology

Dr Matteo Vergani, Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Collectively creating original research

The Sociology and Social Change Collective is built on collaboration. The strong partnerships among our members and with other universities enhance our research capacity and improve our research outcomes.

We mentor HDR students and support staff development. Our members also frequently appear in media, including print, TV and podcasts.

Our publications

Take an in-depth look at our latest research, available in a variety of formats and publications. For a full list of publications visit the profile pages of our researchers.

Latest publications:

Featured publications:

Contact us

Our team is here to answer your questions and help you learn more about the Sociology and Social Change Collective. Email our group convenors or connect with us on Twitter.