Education and Arts


Research in Sociology at ACU was recently ranked to be 'world class' by the Australian government's Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment exercise.

This result is the outcome of ACU's ongoing research intensification strategy, which has built upon research excellence at the School level with the creation of two interdisciplinary research institutes: the Institute of Religion, Politics and Society (IRPS) and the Institute of Social Justice (ISJ).

We are pleased to introduce below some of the key researchers pursuing original and world-class research in Sociology at ACU.

Bryan Turner is one of the world’s leading sociologists of religion. His research interests include globalisation and religion, religious conflict and the modern state, and human rights and religion. He received his PhD at the University of Leeds in 1970. He is currently the Presidential Professor of Sociology and Director of the Mellon Committee for the Study of Religion at the City University of New York. He is a Faculty Associate of the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University and Research Associate at the French National Centre for Scientific Research.

Bryan has received several honorary degrees recognising his contributions to Sociology, most recently Doctor of Letters from the University of Cambridge. He has edited many journals in the field of sociology including Body & Society and Journal of Classical Sociology. He is the editor of two book series for Anthem Press: Key Issues in Modern Sociology and Tracts for Our Times and, with Gabriele Marranci, edits Muslims in Global Societies for Springer.

Dr Haydn Aarons is a sociologist with interests in religion, cultural consumption, health, rural communities, research methods and globalisation. His work has appeared in journals such as the British Journal of Sociology and International Sociology. His recent research explores the impact of religion on cultural consumption patterns, Australian attitudes towards Asia, and Australian cultural memory. Dr Aarons’ research has also examined Buddhism in Western contexts and rural health in Australia, for which he won a national award for his work on health planning with the Lower Murray Medicare Local. He teaching covers a range of sociological fields and social research methods.

Tom Barnes is an economic sociologist, with a background in political economy and development studies. He is working in the Institute’s Cities and Successful Societies research stream, which looks at the role of civil society, government and business in the rejuvenation of urban regions undergoing industrial decline.

He completed his PhD in political economy at the University of Sydney in 2011, where he lectured until joining the Institute in 2014. He is an expert on urban development, industry and labour markets in India, and has a strong interest in the study of Asian labour movements, particularly Indonesia and China. His book, Informal Labour in Urban India: Three Cities, Three Journeys was published by Routledge in 2014. He has also published in The Journal of Development Studies and Economic and Labour Relations Review.

He is co-convenor of the Sociology of Economic Life group for The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) and a fellow with the Victorian Parliamentary Library. He blogs frequently and is currently writing a book on the development of the Indian automotive industry.