Dr Michelle Peterie is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the University of Queensland’s School of Social Sciences. She has previously worked at the University of Sydney, the University of Wollongong and the University of New England, and has done research consultancy work in the third sector. 

Michelle's main research area is the sociology of emotions and affect. She is particularly interested in emotional wellbeing in situations of inequality and injustice, and in the emotional complexities of 'care' and activism. Michelle's doctoral research (completed at the University of Sydney) concerned the experiences of volunteers who support asylum seekers in Australian immigration detention facilities and within the Australian community. She works on two Australian Research Council projects - Who You Know or Where You Go? The Role of Formal and Informal Networks in Finding Employment and Maintaining Wellbeing, led by Associate Professor Gaby Ramia, and Conditional Welfare: A Comparative Case Study of Income Management Policies, led by Professor Greg Marston.

Michelle’s current research has three (at times overlapping) focuses.

  • First, she is studying everyday life in Australia’s immigration detention facilities, documenting institutional technologies of power and control, and how they harm detainees and their supporters.

  • Second, she is examining conditional welfare policies in Australia and New Zealand, foregrounding their impacts on some of the most disadvantaged members of our communities.

  • Third, she is investigating how controversial policies such as immigration detention and compulsory income management are justified at the level of political discourse.

Michelle co-convenes The Australian Sociological Association’s (TASA’s) Sociology of Emotions and Affect Thematic Group and is a Sydney Policy Lab Affiliated Researcher. She is also a member of the Contemporary Emotions Research Network (CERN), the Sydney Asia-Pacific Migration Network (SAPMiC), and the Kaldor Centre’s Emerging Scholars Network.