Research activity per year

Personal profile


What’s a friend? The question has become increasingly pressing at a time when the word seems to capture intimates as well as strangers. My research centres on the changing meaning of one-on-one friendship as an intimate relationship. I treat the bundle of social expectations that make the relationship meaningful as a lens through which I view large-scale social trends, including gendered power.

I’m interested in,

  • how political theorists think about friendship
  • how private friendship fosters societal solidarity
  • how subtle interactional differences distinguish one-on-one friendships from groups of friends
  • how people negotiate the tensions between personal and political friendship
  • how people redefine intimacy

I have an abiding interest in the everyday redefinition of gender. I’m specifically interested in,

  • how notions of masculinity and femininity are redefined as expectations that cut across gender identifications.

My theoretical interests  include Axel Honneth’s theory of recognition and Niklas Luhmann’s system’s theory.

I’m interested in supervising HDR candidates who want to pursue research in the areas of personal relationships and, more broadly, issues around privacy, although current and past supervision includes project in a range of areas:

Kylie Reynolds, Representations of intimate partner abuse on Married at First Sight, Australia (Master of Research; Associate; current)

Evelyn Honeywell, Social character in the network society (PhD; Associate; current)

Peter Mann, How transport infrastructure became an icon: the social meanings of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (PhD; Principal; completed)

Penelope Byrne, The promise of polyamory and its limits: exploring the challenges of ethical non-monogamy (PhD; Principal; current)

Brook Armstrong, A qualitative exploration of educational experiences of young people who engage in child to parent abuse (PhD; Associate; current)

Kathy Cloughessy, Silence is not golden: exploring the experiences of lesbian parents in Australian early childhood settings (PhD; Associate; awarded)

Lynette Ryan, Active ageing and misrecognition: how older Australians perceive respect and how this is reflected in popular film (PhD; Associate; awarded)

Deidre Anderson, Games that adults play: sport, alcohol usage and university students. A study of alcohol usage at a national university-sporting event (PhD; Associate; awarded)

Katharine Hawkins, 'Freak’? The politics of body modification: gender, culture and stigma (Master of Research; Principal; awarded)




Research engagement


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