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 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 Lifestyle Migration 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 Lifestyle Migration, the interplay between city and country is something Nick is very interested in.
(2) Social Theory and Cultural Sociology
As a former 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
Second Homes and Coastal Communities – Small Grant Research Scheme
With Felicity Picken (UTAS), Nick is running a project in the Bass Coast Shire in the coastal communities of Inverloch and Philip Island. The aim of this project is to understand the interplay between second homes (holiday homes) and the coastal communities where they are situated. More specifically the project seeks to understand the drivers of second home ownership and the future intentions of the owners of these. Furthermore the project will also seek to compare attitudes to place, community and sustainability between groups of lifestyle migrants and second home owners. Using both quantitative and qualitative measures, this ‘pilot’ will provide a unique and important understanding on what the complexities of second-home ownership are and what resources will potentially be required in the future as people move down for permanent residency from Melbourne and beyond.