Associate Professor Alastair Greig

College of Arts and Social Sciences

Research interests

Industrial sociology; Urban Sociology; Housing Studies; Globalisation, Environmental Sociology


I joined sociology at ANU in January 1995. Prior to that, I held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Urban Research Program in the Research School of Social Sciences, ANU. I undertook Honours in history and sociology in the School of General Studies, ANU (1983), and obtained my PhD in sociology through the Faculty of Arts, ANU (1989). My dissertation was entitled ‘States, Parties and Socialist Revolution’.   

My doctoral interests in development sociology led me in my postdoctoral work to examine global commodity chains in the clothing industry, as well as the role of outwork in the Australian clothing industry. This interest in changing patterns of work then led me to study the building industry and the relationship between social change, housing formation and the urban built environment. I have always been driven by macro-sociological concerns relating to social inequalities, and have reflected on changing patterns of local inequality (Inequality in Australia, Cambridge UP, 2003, with F. Lewins and K. White) and international inequalities (Challenging Global Inequalities, Palgrave, 2007, with D, Hulme and M. Turner).  

I was fortunate to be awarded the inaugural National Award for University Teaching in Social Sciences (1997) and the Team-Taught Large First Year Award in 2003. I was awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching in 1997 and 2003. A podcast of my views on lecturing and learning, delivered as the 2008 ANU ‘Last lecture’, can be accessed at and designing first-year sociology courses at

I was Head of School of Social Sciences between 2005 and 2008. In 2010 I received the CASS Award for Excellence in Supervision along with the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Supervision, and in 2014 I was awarded the Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Service to the Campus Community. I was elected onto the Academic Board of the ANU for the term 2012-2014.

At the end of 2015 I retired and became an Emeritus Fellow.

Researcher's projects

Current research projects  

Institutions of Hope and Development Praxis 

My colleague Professor Mark Turner and I continue to pursue our interest global inequalities. In particular, we are examining in some of the affective relations that operate in instititionalising social change. This work is inspired by the pragmatist philosopher Richard Rorty. We are also currently working with Professor David Hulme on an expanded edition of our book Challenging Global Inequality, which will incorporate this theme in greater detail. Our invited paper at the Brookes Poverty Institute conference in September 2010 on global poverty at the University of Manchester on ‘the Millennium Development Goals and Institutions of Hope’ can be accessed at:

Our journal article on development theory and small island states can be accessed at:  

Urban and Regional Development

I have edited and written new chapters with Dr Sue Feary for a long-overdue new edition of the late-Bruce Hamon's history of Kioloa and Bawley Point, They Came to Murramarang. This edition will be published by ANU Press in 2015. My obiturary for Bruce can be found here:

Over the last few years I have continued my interests in residential settlement patterns, which follow from my book The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of (MUP, 1995). In 2009, I led a research team and wrote a report for the ACT Planning and Land Authority entitled ‘Community Formation and Attitudes Towards Sustainability’  

My co-edited paper with colleagues from The University of South Australia on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan can be accessed at:

Radical Pan-Americanism

Along with Anthea McCarthy Jones from the University of Canberra, I continue my doctoral interest in radical Latin American politics. Combining Anthea’s interest in Venezuela with my interest in Central America, we have written an article entitled ‘Somos Hijos de Sandino y Bolivar: Radical Pan-Americanism in Historical and Cultural Perspective’ published in the Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research.

Our article and an audio summarising our views can be accessed here: We have expanded this into a book-length project entitled Imagining Pan-Americanism: Hegemonic and Radical Visions of a Continent which is under contract with the US publisher Lynne Reinner.

Writing for students 

The Australian Way of Life is a 23-chapter introduction to Australian sociology published by Palgrave in 2013. I have previously edited and contributed to a range of different introductory sociology texts and this book endeavours to draw together a wide variety of sociological themes in a single coherent narrative. I also have an abiding interest in introducing sociological topics and in 2015 co-edited and contributed four chapters to Australian Sociology, 4th Edition, ed D. Holmes et al, Pearson, Melbourne.

Current student projects

Ms Geraldine Khachan, ‘Lebanese Identity and the Australian Armed Forces’ (in progress)

Mr Joseph McCarthy, ‘China and Energy Security’ (in progress)

Ms Jennifer Beattie, ‘Abortion and the medical Gatekeepers’ (in progress)

Ms Sandra Lauer, Firefighters and Community Learning’ (in progress)

Ms Jennifer Upchurch, ‘Citizenship and Rotary’ (in progress)  

Past student projects

Dr Susan Marsh, ‘It’s not cold money, it’s warm money: Microcredit and empowerment in the case of the New Zealand Women’s Loan Fund’ (submitted February 2015)

Dr Janecke Wille, ‘“A tree is not a tree without its leaves…” Exploring Integration and Belonging among South Sudanese Australians in Canberra’ (accepted 2014)

Dr Sarah Spiller, ‘”Now we are Successful and Developed”: Participation and Development in Cambodia’ (awarded, December 2013)

Dr Sarah Maslen, ‘The Sociology of Sound’ (awarded December 2012, Post-Doctoral Fellow, School of Sociology, ANU)

Dr Vanessa McDermott, ‘Conceptualising Legitimacy, Moral Panics and Performance Enhancing Drugs: Crisis? Whose Crisis?’ (accepted January 2012, to be published by Routledge)

Dr Shanti Sumartojo, ‘Re-Imagining the National Community in Urban Public Place: Trafalgar Square, 1906 - 2010’ (awarded, April 2011, published by Peter Lang Publishers, 2014)

Dr Angela Lehmann, ‘Traces of Home: Cosmopolitan Journeys from the West’, (awarded June 2010, published by Palgrave in 2014)

Dr Catherine Strong, ‘”As a friend, as a trend, as an old memory”: Popular music, memory and power’ (Awarded in November 2008, thesis published by Ashgate Publishers, London)

Dr Priya Chattier, ‘A Feminist Approach to Measuring Poverty in Fiji’ (awarded July 2008)

Dr James Connor, ‘The Sociology of Loyalty’ (thesis awarded May 2007, thesis published by Springer, US)

Dr Tanya Bretherton, ‘Professional Women and Enterprise Bargaining’ (awarded 2006)

Dr Luke Buckmaster, ‘Constructing Structurelessness: Openness, Closure, and Collective Action – the case of Indymedia’ (awarded 2006)

Dr Ester Basri, ‘Inter-Firm Technological Collaboration and the Innovation Process’ (awarded 2006)

Dr Nicolette Burford, 'The Political Significance of Non-Tribal Indigenous Youth’s Talk on Identity, Land and the Forest Environment: An Amazonian Case Study from the Arapiuns River, Brazil', Forestry, SRES (awarded, July 2006)

Dr Wendy Riemens, ‘Innovation Networks and Public Policy’ (awarded 1998)

Dr Gotz Ottmann, ‘Social Movements and Violence in Sao Paulo’ (awarded 1999, thesis published by Minnesota University Press)

Dr Bette O’Brien, ‘Gender, Ethnicity and Public Housing’ (awarded 2000)


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