Professor John

Professor John Carroll


College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce

Humanities and Social Sciences

MB 474, Melbourne (Bundoora)


PhD (Cambridge).



Area of study


Brief profile

John Carroll is Professor of Sociology at La Trobe University in Melbourne. He has degrees in mathematics, economics and sociology from the universities of Melbourne and Cambridge. His work focuses on culture, and its crucial role in the human search for meaning, with particular reference to the modern Western society. His recent books include The Western Dreaming (2001), Terror—a Meditation on the Meaning of September 11 (2002), The Wreck of Western Culture—Humanism Revisited (2004), The Existential Jesus (2007), Ego and Soul—the Modern West in Search of Meaning (2008), and Greek Pilgrimage—In Search of the Foundations of the West (2010). John Carroll is also a frequent writer of essays and newspaper articles. He delivered one of the Alfred Deakin Federation Lectures in 2001—a reflection on Australian culture titled ‘The Blessed Country’. He chaired the Panel reviewing the National Museum of Australia in 2003.

Teaching units

  • SOC2/3CRM - The Crisis of Meaning in the 21st Century.
  • SOC2/3SOC - Sociology of Culture.
  • SOC2TCS - Theory, Culture and Society.

Recent publications

  • Carroll, J 2011, 'Reflections on Violence: Three Theses', Society, forthcoming.
  • Carroll, J 2011, 'Beauty Contra God, Has Aesthetics Replaced Religion in Modernity', Journal of Sociology, 2011.
  • Carroll, J 2010, 'The Tragicomedy of Celebrity', Society, vol. 47, no. 6, pp. 489-492.
  • Carroll, J 2010, 'Telling Stories About Jesus: A Conversation between John Carroll and Keith Tester', Cultural Sociology, vol. 4 (3), pp. 379-394.
  • Carroll, J 2010, 'The Art of Education', Thesis Eleven, no. 100, pp. 31-6.
  • Carroll, J 2010, Greek Pilgrimage, In Search of the Foundations of the West, Scribe, Melbourne.
  • Carroll, J 2008, Ego and Soul: The Modern West in Search of Meaning, Scribe, Melbourne.
  • Carroll, J 2008, 'The Greek Foundations of the West', Thesis Eleven, 93: 5-21.
  • Carroll, J 2007, 'Zygmunt Bauman - Mortality and Culture', in M Jacobsen, S Marshman and K Tester (eds), Bauman Beyond Postmodernity, Aalborg University Press, Denmark, pp 143-147.
  • Carroll, J 2007, 'Friedrich Nietzche', in J Wintle (ed.), New Makers of Modern Culture, Routledge, London and New York, pp 1115-1119.
  • Carroll, J 2007, 'Philip Rieff', in J Wintle (ed.), New Makers of Modern Culture, Routledge, London and New York, pp 1268-1269.
  • Carroll, J 2007, The Existential Jesus, Scribe, Melbourne.
  • Carroll, J 2006, 'Universal rights, Singular Culture: on the Clash of Civilisations', Irish Journal of Sociology.
  • Carroll, J 2006, 'Zygmunt Bauman', in Keith Tester (ed.), Zygmunt Bauman, vol.3, Aalborg University Press, Denmark.

Older publications

  • Carroll, J 2004 The Wreck of Western Culture - Humanism Revisited, Scribe, Melbourne.
  • Carroll, J 2002 Terror - a Meditation on the Meaning of September 11, Scribe, Melbourne.  
  • Carroll, J 2001 The Western Dreaming, Harper Collins, Pymble, NSW.

Research projects

Continuing to develop a theory of culture, with special reference to the ways people find meaning in the modern world.