Dr Sonia Martin is a lecturer in Social Work, and the Program Manager for the Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) and the Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)/Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology).
Sonia Martin has extensive experience as a researcher and educator, having worked at the Universities of South Australia, Adelaide and Melbourne. Her last post prior to joining RMIT in 2011 was at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in the Research and Policy Centre.
Sonia’s work on a large three-year ARC Linkage grant at The University of Melbourne contributed to the publication of Half a Citizen, which later won the Australian Human Rights Award in the Literature (non-fiction) category.
Sonia's research interests are in the fields of social work and social policy, grounded in the discipline of sociology. Her PhD was a critical analysis of social divisions in the post-welfare era and an examination of the underclass phenomenon. Other research includes quantitative analyses of poverty, inequality and social exclusion drawing on local, national and international data, extensive research into the lived experience of poverty and social exclusion, and a range of policy evaluations. Sonia is also interested in theoretical issues to do with agency, structure and ‘choice’, especially within the context of social policy and welfare reform.
Rogers, P., Stevens, K., Cook, K., Ramcharan, P., Martin, S. and Engles, B. Making a Difference for Children and Families: New ways service delivery can break cycles of disadvantage. DHS, 3 year grant.
Cook K., Maller C., Smyth P., Levin I., Martin S., Bodsworth, E. Young families in growth areas: Applying social justice frameworks to planning policies. Centre for Applied Social Research grant, 2012.
Warr, D., Smyth, P. and Martin, S. Art and stigma in housing estate. The University of Melbourne, seeding grant.
Martin, S. (2009). Neoliberalism and the Underclass Thesis: Social Divisions in the Era of Welfare Reform. VDM-Verlag: Saarbrucken, Germany. (PhD).
Murphy, J., Murray, S., Chalmers, J., Martin, S. and Marston, G. (2011). ‘Half a citizen’: The stories of 150 welfare recipients in Australia. Allen and Unwin: Melbourne. Winner of the Australian Human Rights Award (Literature – non-fiction).
Refereed journal articles
Martin, S. (2004). ‘Reconceptualising social exclusion: A critical response to the neoliberal welfare reform agenda and the underclass thesis’. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 39(1): 79-94.
Refereed and published conference papers
Martin, S. (2008). ‘Young people, work and welfare: An ‘Underclass’ of ‘badly behaving’ youth?’ Refereed paper submitted to the annual conference of The Australian Sociological Association ‘Re-imagining Sociology’, The University of Melbourne, 2-5 December 2008.
Martin, S. (2008). ‘Social divisions in an era of welfare reform’. Refereed paper presented at the Australasian Political Studies Association Conference (APSA), University of Queensland, Hilton Hotel, Brisbane, 6–9 July 2008.
Martin, S. (2007). ‘Welfare reform and the influence of the underclass thesis on welfare provision’. Refereed paper presented to the TASA and SAANZ Joint Conference, University of Auckland, New Zealand, 4–7 December 2007.
Martin, S. (2007). ‘Welfare reform, the underclass thesis and the process of legitimising social divisions’. Refereed conference paper presented to the Australasian Political Studies Association Conference (APSA), Monash University, Melbourne, 24–26 September 2007.
Martin, S. (2003). ‘Reconceptualising social exclusion: A critical response to the neoliberal welfare reform agenda and the underclass thesis’. Refereed paper presented at Creating Spaces: Interdisciplinary Writings in the Social Sciences conference, Australian National University, July 2003.
Wilson, L., Spoehr, J. and Martin, S. (2006). ‘A spatially sensitive approach to understanding the impact of public expenditure on social exclusion’. Refereed paper presented at the Social Change in the 21st Century conference, Queensland University of Technology, 27 October 2006.
Non-refereed conference papers
Martin, S. (2010). ‘Choice, Bourdieu and the sociology of welfare’. Paper presented at The Australian Sociology Association 2010 Annual Conference, Social Causes Private Lives, Macquarie University, 6–9 December 2010.
Martin, S. (2010). ‘Reconceptualising young people’s engagement with work and welfare: Considering ‘choice’’. XVII ISA Wold Congress of Sociology, Research Committee on Sociology of Youth, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010. (Abstract refereed and published)
Sonia is currently part of a team working on a large grant in partnership with the federal Department of Human Services. The project seeks to improve Centrelink practices to reduce intergenerational disadvantage in Bridgewater, Tasmania.
Employment services and the experiences of service users
Paternalism and ‘nudge’ policies in Australian social policy
Sonia's teaching expertise is in the areas of social policy and research. She teaches the Social Work final year course Influencing Policy among others.
Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching and Learning, RMIT University
PhD, University of South Australia
BSW (Hons), University of South Australia
Professional interests and memberships
Member, The Australian Sociological Association
Member, International Sociological Association
Sonia has completed training in Spatial Information Systems technologies at the Universities of Adelaide and California (Santa Barbara).
- Engels, B.,Martin, S. (2017). The welfare state and neoliberalism in Australia: An historical overview In: Thinking About Poverty, The Federation Press, Leichhardt, Australia
- Martin, S.,Goodman, R. (2016). Living on the edge: New forms of poverty and disadvantage on the Urban Fringe In: Social Work and the City: Urban Themes in 21st-Century Social Work�, Palgrave MacMillan, United Kingdom
- Cook, K.,Maller, C.,Martin, S. (2012). Gendered inequalities in policy processes: an illustration of women on the periphery in environmental design and public health policy In: Refereed Conference Proceedings of The Annual Conference of the Australian Sociological Association: Emerging and Enduring Inequalities, Brisbane, Queensland, 26-29 November 2012
- Murphy, J.,Murray, S.,Chalmers, J.,Martin, S.,Marston, G. (2011). Half a citizen: Life on welfare in Australia, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, Australia
- Martin, S. (2008). Young people work and welfare: An 'underclass' of 'badly behaving youth'? In: The Annual Conference of The Australian Sociological Association 2008, Melbourne, Australia, 2-5 December 2008
- Martin, S. (2008). Social divisions in an era of welfare reform In: Australian Political Studies Association Conference 2008, Brisbane, Australia, 6-9 July 2008
1 PhD Completions