Research themes and clusters

Our researchers address key questions around the following themes:

  • Sustainability, social justice and social change

Environmental damage - perhaps permanent and irreversible, increasing social and political fragmentation, global power realignments, and the unequal distribution of wealth and resources are  some of the major concerns of our time, affecting people right across the globe.  La Trobe researchers engage with these themes from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives to better understand the nature of such challenges, and to formulate viable resolutions to the problems they create.

  • Mobility and migration

What factors drive people to move from their place of origin, cross geographic, regional or national borders and create new lives elsewhere? What outcomes does human mobility have for those who move, those left behind and the places of new settlement?  Researchers in this theme examine such questions in a variety of social, political, historical (ancient and contemporary), and disciplinary contexts.

  • Gender, sexuality and human rights

La Trobe University houses one of the strongest concentrations of innovative and world leading researchers in the area of gender, sexuality and human rights. Academics in our research centers and across the university pioneer a distinctive blend of basic and applied research into the diversity of human, sexual, gender and other embodied experiences, advancing social justice and inclusion.

  • Indigenous peoples and sovereignty

As well as focusing on the voices, priorities, and knowledges of Indigenous people in Victoria, past and present, researchers in this theme also seek to develop and engage with national and international research on First Peoples and sovereignty. We acknowledge that the recognition of, and engagement with, Indigenous knowledge is a key aspect of decolonising the academy, and our research protocols and practices strive to be ethical and responsive to community engagement. In so doing, we seek to build on our research strengths by identifying common ground across disciplines as a foundation for generating collaborative knowledge.

  • The past, present and future of work

Research in this theme contributes to our understanding of the complex issues emerging in current community and public policy debates about labour and employment through historical and contemporary studies. This includes but is not limited to research focused on:

  • Work, diversity and inclusion at the workplace
  • Remuneration and evolution of inequalities,
  • New forms of vulnerabilities and precarity associated with the rise of contingent work and the gig economy,
  • The evolution of working conditions, workplace governance, management and surveillance, the rise of psycho-social risks and mental health issues at the workplace,
  • Global labour marketplaces,
  • Legal issues, employment, public policies, governance, regulation and new forms of protections required for workers,
  • The dynamic of creation and destruction of tasks and jobs associated with the digital transformation,
  • Unpaid labour,
  • Universal basic incomes,
  • Deskilling, reskilling and vocational education, and the changing role of unions.
  • Technology and its disruptions

Rapid and irreversible technological advancements are generating new environments, threats and opportunities, in all areas of our society. Artificial intelligence, blockchains, virtual reality, robotisation, automation, assistive technologies, platforms, nanotechnologies, biotechnologies, drones, big data and algorithms are transforming decision making and behaviours of individual at homes, workplaces, cities, government. This theme deals with numerous ethical issues of digital transformation across numerous disciplines are investigating:

  • The social, legal and economic implications of data discrimination,
  • Privacy issues
  • Algorithmic accountability
  • Digital health
  • Fake news, new tools of propaganda and digital diffusion of ignorance
  • The quality and transparency of media and information in the digital age
  • The transformation of competition and industries
  • The transformation of tasks, jobs and labour market and widening inequalities
  • Cybersecurity
  • The need for regulation of digital transformation