Nick is predominantly a cultural sociologist working across a variety of areas. He has worked mostly in the area of spatial inquiry with a specific interest into the phenomenon known as Amenity Migration, Lifestyle Migration or Seachange. Nick has also published and worked in the area of climate change adaptation especially with coastal communities in Gippsland. Along with this, he has broad interests in other facets of social and cultural life which are demonstrated in the publications. Nick’s research interests can be slotted into three categories:
(1) Space, Place, Culture and Identity
Nick’s research into Seachange examines the role that place has in the lifestyle choices of individuals. In particular, the impact of environmental and cultural amenity on the identity of people is a specific interest. How people interact with their communities and also the non-human natural world is important here. In reference to Seachange, the interplay between city and country is something Nick is very interested in.
(2) Social Theory and Cultural Sociology
As co-convener of the Cultural Sociology Thematic Group, Nick has a particular interest in the growing sub-discipline of cultural sociology. This includes questions of methodology and research approaches under the paradigm of the ‘Strong Program’ of cultural sociology developed by the Yale Cultural Sociology School. In more specific cases, Nick is interested in the interplay between culture and society and other institutions including media, sport, politics and nature. Alongside this, Nick has a continuing interest in social theory, its application and the continuing debates surrounding it.
(3) Australian rural and urban societies
Nick has a strong commitment to understanding regional societies and communities and their needs and equity concerns. In relation to climate change adaptation, he has a strong commitment to exploring how we might approach future impacts of climate change equitably across both the city and country. Nick aims to continue working with the regional communities especially in Gippsland in not only climate change issues but other important rural/regional issues.
Current research projects
Breaking the Walls of Words – University of Melbourne Seed Funded Project (Awarded
This project aims to understand the barriers for finding assistance for depression for Vietnamese and Timorese people living in inner city Melbourne. The aim of the project is to use ‘photo elicitation’ methods in order to overcome the barrier of language which often inhibits the ability for migrants to understand the illness firstly and find adequate assistance for it secondly. The researchers will in 2012 use this novel approach along with assisted interviews to understand the complex issue of cultural identity with place, institutions and community. The research team aims to develop this further into an ARC Linkage Grant proposal in 2012 extending it to include regional communities.
Dr Victoria Palmer University of Melbourne Associate Professor Marilys Guillemin University of Melbourne Dr Sarah Drew University of Melbourne Dr John Furler University of Melbourne Dr Nick Osbaldiston Monash University
Climate Change and the Australian Beach: Re-Localizing Coastal Leisure and Tourism for a Low-Carbon Australian Society – ARC Discovery Grant Application (in process)
As climate change continues to impact upon the planning and policy directions of local councils and state governments, there is an underlying question of how the beach will play as a site for leisure in the future. This project aims to elicit a full understanding of how the beach is used currently including how beach tourism has changed since the 1900s. The project also seeks to provide information on the potentials of different beach locations to be places of settlement in a post-carbon future as well as delivering strategies for dealing with increased domestic tourism in anticipation of other increasingly important issues such as rising sea-levels.
Professor Adrian Franklin UTAS Dr Nick Osbaldiston Monash University Dr Felicity Picken UTAS
Lifestyle Migration ‘Towns in Transition’ – SAMSS Internal Research Grant.
As lifestyle migration continues to build momentum around the country a growing concern has developed around notions of equity in relation to housing costs, community welfare needs and the inevitable issues related to aesthetic and environmental degradation. This project which began in 2012 and will seek to continue over the next few years will seek to understand the relationship of the migratory phenomenon on local conditions and needs. Further as second home ownership has also impacted greatly on mostly coastal locations, this project will seek to understand it’s impact on local economies, societies and cultures. In particular, as people continue to travel between city and the coastal location, what impact does that have on locals who permanently reside on location? Further, what prevents people from remaining in their ‘holiday homes’ permanently? These questions will be addressed throughout this project.