Dr Tarryn

Dr Tarryn Phillips


College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce

Humanities and Social Sciences

Department of Social Inquiry

Martin Building, Room 469, Melbourne (Bundoora)


BA (Hons-UWA), PhD (UWA).



Area of study

justice and legal studies

Brief profile

With an interdisciplinary focus on power, inequality and social justice, my research interests lie at the nexus between anthropology, legal studies and science and technology studies. My key areas of interest are in the interactions between medical science, law, industry and culture in Australia and Fiji. My research projects focus on the following topics:

  • scientific controversies
  • medical decision-making
  • risk
  • emergent and contested illnesses
  • expert-lay conflict
  • treatment-seeking practices
  • medical pluralism
  • neoliberalism
  • insurance schemes
  • personal injury law
  • native title law

Teaching units

  • Law Order and Justice (LST1LOJ)
  • Law in Action (LST1LIA)
  • Legal Practices (LST1LEP)
  • Workplacce Competence (LST3LWC)
  • Victimology (LST2/3VIC)

Recent publications


  • Phillips. T. (2015) Law, Environmental Illness and Medical Uncertainty: The Contested Governance of Health, Taylor and Francis: London.


  • Phillips, T. (2012) ‘Repressive Authenticity in the Quest for Legitimate Sickness:Surveillance and the Contested Illness Lawsuit’, Social Science and Medicine, vol 75, pp. 1762- 1768.
  • (2010) ‘“I Never Wanted to Be a Quack!” The professional deviance of plaintiff experts in contested illness lawsuits’, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, vol 24, no. 2
  • (2010) ‘Debating the Legitimacy of an Environmental Illness: The case of multiple chemical sensitivities in Australia (MCS)’ Sociology of Health and Illness, vol 32, no. 7

Research projects

2015 - 2016  'Treatment seeking practices and healthcare in Fiji' with Dr Celia McMichael and Dr Michael O'Keefe (Funded by La Trobe University Research Focus Area: Transforming Human Societies). Total Amount awarded: $18,220

2013 - 2016 'Professionalising Native Title Anthropologists' with Dr Ray Madden and Dr Nicholas Smith (Funded by the Atttorney General's department). Total Amount awarded: $127, 312

2006 to present - Contested illnesses in medicine and the law - funded through Australian Postgraduate Award