Theory, Place and Society

Theory, Place and Society develops and uses a range of theoretical perspectives to understand social and cultural phenomena in their spatial contexts.

We examine pressing contemporary issues and cultural dynamics at a variety of spatial scales and locations. In doing so, we employ an interdisciplinary approach, examining scales from the micro-perceptions of the body to urban and peri-urban settlements and practices, through to the global scale of energy crisis and increasing securitization. What is unique about our group is the development and utilization of critical theoretical perspectives to elucidate these important issues. These include theories of perception, embodiment, subjectivity, post-development, well-being, speed, mobility, habit and affect.

Particular strengths of this group focus on:

  • Theories and practices of perception and meaning making (Amy Griffin, Scott Sharpe, Alec Thornton and Paul Tranter)
  • The cultural embodiment of habit and affect (Scott Sharpe, Paul Tranter and Amy Griffin)
  • Developing sustainable livelihoods and practices that promote well-being (Alec Thornton, food security and urban development; Paul Tranter and Scott Sharpe, energy crises and sustainable transport; Amy Griffin, managing health and disease)

 The resources to pursue this research are drawn from the following local and international sources:

  • Current ARC Discovery and Linkage Grants and NHMRC Grants to examine issues pertaining to time poverty and its effects on health; bystander responses to racism and anti-racism; and childhood independence and mobility.
  • International collaboration with scholars from the world’s leading universities (e.g. Harvard, Penn State, Bristol, MIT)
  • Local Collaborations with Australian and New Zealand Universities (e.g. ANU, Deakin, UWS, UQ, U Syd, Otago, Massey)
  • New Critical Theory Group (Collaboration of ANU, U Bristol and UNSW at Canberra)
  • Linkages with governmental and non-governmental agencies (Vic Health, VHREOC, AHREOC)
  • Strong involvement and leadership in professional bodies; Australia and New Zealand Map SocietyInstitute of Australian Geographers (Cultural Geography Study Group, Health Geography Study Group, Spatial Analysis and Modelling Study Group), African Studies AssociationNorth American Cartographic Information Society).