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UON ranked in the world's top 100 for Sociology

The University of Newcastle (UON) Australia's sociology discipline has ranked in the top 100 in the world, confirmed by the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017. Thanks to the work of our Sociology researchers and staff, the ranking has seen a dramatic improvement of over 50 places from 2016.

Dr Hedda Askland

Dr Hedda Askland, Anthropologist at CSRRF

The study of sociology puts the facets of modern life under the microscope and provides fascinating insights into how society works by examining the way we live.

University of Newcastle Sociology researchers are exploring human behaviour and how individual’s experiences connect with the social context in which we live, working directly with government, industry and community partners to answer questions around what the future holds for our rural and regional areas.

Project Director of The University of Newcastle’s Centre for Social Research and Regional Futures (CSRRF) Dr Michael Askew says his researchers use an innovative service model that provides methodologically sound social research, but also community engagement, professional development training and policy planning services.

“Our researchers work at the ground level, conducting in-depth interviews and longitudinal studies of people living in these areas to provide evidence of how government, industry and communities can find better ways forward for everyone involved.”

One of the CSRRF’s researchers, anthropologist Dr Hedda Askland is examining the deep-rooted forces of home, identity and belonging amongst people experiencing significant social, political and environmental change.

Hedda is conducting an ethnographic study in Wollar – a historic village on the edge of the Great Dividing Range that is surrounded by three open cut coal mines.

Prior to the mining boom, Wollar was a community of about 400 people.

Today, only about 10 percent of the population remains and there are only eight children left in the school. The closest town is Mudgee, 50km away and Hedda estimates the average age of residents is approximately 60 years old.

“When I speak with the people in Wollar, they exhibit a real sense of distress that is connected to the future, especially in relation to the planned expansion of the mine, which will move the mine boundary to only 1.5km from the village,” Hedda said.

“I hope that through this research I am able to initiate a public debate and awareness about how displacement as an experiential condition is not restricted to refugees and other migrants, but in fact can occur in our own backyard.”

Sociology can be studied as a major in the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Social Science or the Bachelor of Aboriginal Professional Practice, or as an MPhil or PhD in Sociology.

Study Sociology at UON