Judith Bessant is a Professor in RMIT's School of Global, Urban and Social Studies.
My work as a researcher and teacher covers the areas of sociology, politics, policy studies, youth studies, ethics, criminology, education and history.
While it is not always easy, I try to be clear about the purpose of this work simply because that gives me focus and clarity of mind about my ethics and politics.
My research enables me to ask questions about matters like what counts as a good society and a good life, the nature and value of politics, and how we might best care for the earth.
Addressing such questions now is more important than ever. Universities have long played a key role in encouraging thinking about such issues. It's a task that requires cultivating the academic's and the student's creativity, enriching their memory and imagination, while trying to ensure they have as many opportunities to develop in all the ways they can. Yet as this remains a focus and source of enthusiasm for working in the university, it's also an objective sometimes frustrated in modern universities.
We now face far-reaching transformative processes involving the displacement of many kinds of human labour by informational technologies and digital robotics. These changes are disrupting historic links between income, human labour production and consumption. The scope and speed of this disruption is more intensive and extensive than any earlier period of major change. It is transforming the nature of human existence and our societies. Universities have a critical role in making the most of opportunities this change brings, to help organise our lives in ways that ensure we all have enriching social and cultural relations.
These observations explain why I am currently working on book projects like: 'The Great Transformation, Politics, Labour and Learning in the Digital Age (Routledge); 'The Precarious Generation: How Policy Makers Generate Disadvantage Among Young People and What Can Be Done About it' with Rys Farthing and Rob Watts (Routledge); and general editor work for Routledge's book series Criminalizing Political Dissent. I am also involved in research project inquiring into new forms of politics, responses to certain kinds of political actions by the state and other traditional power holders, as well as projects on education, art, contemporary policy and technology. (Download a list of publications - PDF 171 KB)
Finally, I appreciate the importance of contributing to good governance in the university and community. For this reason I have held various leadership and advisory positions in the university, the community sector and in government. My external engagements have included working with government to develop curriculum for Victorian schools and government policies. I have also worked as a policy and research advisor for Australian and international governments and NGOs. Currently I am a member of the state Health Services Review Council, and a member of a number of editorial boards for academic journals and Research Centre Advisory Boards.
- PhD, La Trobe University
- Bachelor of Education, La Trobe University
- Diploma of Education, La Trobe University
- Bachelor of Arts, La Trobe University
- Henn, M.,Oldfield, B.,Bessant, J. (2018). Electoral engineering and surveillance: British young people and politics In: Governing Youth Politics in the Age of Surveillance, Routledge, London, United Kingdom
- Bessant, J.,Watts, R. (2018). Uncomfortable knowledge and the ethics of good practice in Australia's offshore refugee detention centers In: The SAGE Handbook of Youth Work Practice, Sage, United Kingdom
- Bessant, J. (2018). The Great Transformation: History for a Techno-Human Future, Taylor and Francis, Abingdon, United Kingdom
- Bessant, J. (2018). Young precariat and a new work order? A case for historical sociology In: Journal of Youth Studies, 21, 1 - 780
- Bessant, J.,Watts, R. (2017). Indigenous digital art as politics in Australia In: Culture, Theory and Critique, , 1 - 14
- Bessant, J.,Farthing, L.,Watts, R. (2017). The precarious generation: a political economy of young people, Taylor and Francis, London, United Kingdom
- Bessant, J. (2017). Working with and thinking against Habermas In: Habermas and Social Research, Taylor and Frances, Oxon, United Kingdom
- Bessant, J. (2017). Digital humour, gag laws and the Liberal Security State In: Digital Media Integration for Participatory Democracy, IGI Global International Publisher of Information Science and Technology Research, Pennsylvania
- Bessant, J. (2017). Right-wing populism and young `Stormers': Conflict in democratic politics In: Young People Re-Generating Politics in Times of Crises, Palgrave, London, United Kingdom
- Bessant, J. (2017). Ciminalizing youth politics In: Legal Cultures, 4, 1 - 26
- Australian youth work education: curriculum renewal and a model for sustainability for niche professions. Funded by: Australian Learning & Teaching Council from (2010 to 2013)
- A comparison of housing wealth and welfare behaviour of Australians and Britons. Funded by: ARC Linkage International ICI - Social Sciences Collaboration from (2007 to 2009)
- A ten-year comparative analysis of work, benefit and skill trajectories of parallel cohorts of trade and bachelor graduates' working lives. Funded by: ARC Linkage Project 2006 Round 1 from (2006 to 2012)
- Enhancing Capacity for Change: Promoting Leadership in Sustainable Consumption amongst Australian Youth. Funded by: ARC Discovery 2006 from (2006 to 2011)
2 PhD Current Supervisions3 PhD Completions and 1 Masters by Research Completions