Dr Melanie White

Senior Lecturer

PhD (Carleton University) MA (Carleton University) BA (University of British Columbia)

School of Social Sciences


+61 (2) 9385 2304
+61 (2) 9385 1040
162 Morven Brown
Kensington Campus
Fields: Political Theory and Political Philosophy, Social Theory, Citizenship, Sociology, Poststructuralism
Tags: Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society, Studies in human society, Social Ethics

Melanie White is Senior Lecturer in Social Theory at the School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW Sydney. She is also a fellow of the UNSW Scientia Education Academy.

Melanie is also Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Melanie's research is in the fields of classical and contemporary social theory. Her primary research concerns the broad question of what it means to be social. Melanie’s current research concerns the place of the animal in the constitution of the discipline of sociology in 19C France. She has particular interest in the social theories of Emile Durkheim, Gabriel Tarde, Henri Bergson, Michel Foucault and Georges Canguilhem. She is interested in questions about the relations between habits & creativity, error & uncertainty, and the way that the ordinary becomes extraordinary. She also enjoys rediscovering lost and forgotten thinkers and considering how they contribute to contemporary debates. She has published in high-ranking international journals such as Body & Society, Journal of Classical Sociology and Economy and Society. Her book Bergson, Politics, and Religion co-edited with Alexandre Lefebvre (University of Sydney) is published with Duke University Press.


    Book Chapters

    Journal articles

    • White M, 2015, 'Bergson and Bergsonism: A Reply to Riggio', Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective, vol. 4, pp. 40 - 44, http://social-epistemology.com/2015/06/19/bergson-and-bergsonism-a-reply-to-riggio-melanie-white/
    • White M, 2014, 'Derrida and durkheim on suffering', Sub-Stance, vol. 43, pp. 100 - 114, http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/sub.2014.0021
    • Walker C;White M, 2014, 'Police, design, plan and manage: developing a framework for integrating staff roles and institutional policies into a plagiarism prevention strategy', Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, vol. 36, pp. 674 - 687, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1360080X.2014.957895
    • White M, 2013, 'Habit as a Force of Life in Durkheim and Bergson', Body and Society, vol. 19, pp. 240 - 262, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1357034X13477161
    • White M, 2012, 'Review Essay: The Social After Gabriel Tarde', Journal of Cultural Economy, vol. 5, pp. 361 - 367
    • Lefebvre A;White M, 2010, 'Bergson on Durkheim: Society sui generis', Journal of Classical Sociology, vol. 10, pp. 457 - 477, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1468795X10385186
    • Lefebvre A;White M, 2010, 'Mary Wollstonecraft's civic perfectionism', Citizenship Studies, vol. 14, pp. 461 - 471, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13621025.2010.490040
    • Lefebvre A;White M, 2010, 'Bergson on durkheim: Society sui generis', Criminology and Criminal Justice, vol. 10, pp. 457 - 477
    • White M, 2006, 'An Ambivalent Civility', Canadian Journal of Sociology - Cahiers Canadiens de Sociologie, vol. 31, pp. 445 - 460
    • White M, 2006, 'The Dispositions of Good Citizenship: Character, Symbolic Power and Disinterest', Journal of Civil Society, vol. 2, pp. 111 - 122
    • White M, 2005, 'On the Recent Apocalyptic Tone Adopted in Canadian Sociology', Canadian Journal of Sociology - Cahiers Canadiens de Sociologie, vol. 30, pp. 537 - 544
    • White M, 2005, 'The Liberal Character of Ethological Governance', Economy and Society, vol. 34, pp. 475 - 493
    • White M;Hunt A, 2000, 'Citizenship: Care of the Self, Character and Personality', Citizenship Studies, vol. 4, pp. 93 - 116

    Edited Books

Teaching and Supervision

Teaching Areas

Classical and Contemporary Social Theory

Current Teaching

ARTS1870Rethinking the Social(T12019)

ARTS2876 Understanding the Self (T12019)

ARTS2871Power and Powerlessness(T3 2019)

Honours Supervision (Completed Projects)

Ida Ioannou-Marsh (2017)Political Purity and Innate Politics (Sociology and Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)

Victoria Rae (2017)Where have all the experts gone? A sociological consideration of post-truth and non-traditional news outlets (Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)

Yvette Kiddle (2016)Imitation to Educate Children: What Happens to Liberty?(Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)

Roxarne Moon (2015)In Defence of Home(Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney), Recipient of The Australian Sociological Association (TASA)Honours StudentAward

Nicholas Langley (2014)The Festival of Distraction: The Search for Community(Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)

Rickie-Lee McLauren-Smith (2014)Uprooting Apathy: Towards Environmental Ethics of Care(Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)

Holi Birman (2012)Stillness and Remembering the Self (Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney), Recipient of The Australian Sociological Association (TASA)Honours StudentAward

Paula Houseman (2012)The Cancer Myth(Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)

Na’ama Carlin (2010)(W)riting the Body and the Circumcised Text (Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney), Recipient of the Sol Encel Honours Thesis Prize

Meagan Curtis (2008)Thomas Kuhn as Evolutionary Epistemologist (Interdisciplinary Studies, Carleton University, Canada)

Honours and prizes

2019 The Michael Wearing Memorial Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Research Supervision, UNSW Sydney

2018 UNSWScientia Education Academy Fellow, 2019-2022

2017 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence (General Category), UNSW Sydney

2016 Excellence in Postgraduate Research Supervision Award,ARC Postgraduate Student Council, UNSW Student Life and Dean of Graduate Research School, UNSW Sydney

2015 Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence (General Category), Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW Sydney

2006 Nominated,Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching,Trent University, Canada

2002 Teaching Excellence Award,Carleton University Students' Association, Carleton University, Canada

Engagement and Professional contributions

Member of the Biopolitical Research Network

Member de laSociété des amis de Bergson

Adjunct Research Professor, Carleton University, Department of Sociology & Anthropology

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