Catherine Hastings

PhD, Dr

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Research Fellow Dr Catherine Hastings’ interdisciplinary research concentrates on understanding issues of social justice and inequality alongside developing and evaluating policy and program responses for social change. Recent focus areas include legal need for clients of the legal assistance sector, the causes of homelessness for families and older women, and international student financial and housing precarity.

Catherine’s current research, the Legal Needs Project funded by a Macquarie University Research Fellowship, investigates how, why and in what context types of legal needs develop for marginalised and disadvantaged populations in Australia. 

The philosophy of critical realism informs her research. Her work aims to extend how social science research and complexity-informed evaluation methodologies may operationalise critical realism to deliver more transformative findings.  

She holds a Master of Arts in International Studies (UTS) and Master of Policy and Applied Social Research (MQ). She received a Macquarie University Research Scholarship and the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence for her PhD (Sociology) on the causal mechanisms of family homelessness in Australia. 

In addition to her academic work, she undertakes applied social research and evaluation for government and not-for-profit organisations. Over the last decade, she has delivered projects for peak bodies and community legal centres within the legal assistance sector.  

  • Secretary of the International Association for Critical Realism (IACR)
  • Editorial Committee, Journal of Critical Realism
  • Chair, Law & Society Division, Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP)
  • Co-Convenor, Applied Sociology Thematic Group, The Australian Sociological Association (TASA)
  • Local Organising Committee, XX ISA World Congress (Melbourne June 2023)
  • Board Member, RC43 Housing and the Built Environment, International Sociological Association (ISA)
  • Reference Group, CO-HOPE (Collaborative Housing in a Pandemic Era) research project

Research student supervision

  • David Shaw 'The education of children with incarcerated parents' (PhD, Co-supervisor, SCU)
  • Cathy Quinn 'Parent Engagement - an investigation' (PhD, Co-supervisor, SCU)
  • Maie Sufan ' A low-cost sustainable housing model for elderly migrant communities in Australia' (PhD, Co-supervisor, UTS)
  • Helen Easton 'Contested Discourses: A Feminist Socio-Legal Examination Of Legal Responses To Prostitution In The UK' (PhD, Associate Supervisor, MQ) 


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