Katie Wright is an Associate Professor of Sociology at La Trobe University.
Katie’s research is grounded in the traditions of historical and cultural sociology. She conducts interdisciplinary research in three intersecting fields: i) royal commissions and public inquiries examining abuse; ii) historical sociology of childhood and education; and iii) studies of ‘therapeutic culture’.
The key focus of her current work is changing understandings of childhood and public inquiries into historical child abuse. She is undertaking an Australian Research Council (ARC) funded study of child rights, activism and public inquiries (2022-2025). Recently she completed a study of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and past Australian inquiries: Childhood Maltreatment and Late Modernity: Public Inquiries, Social Justice and Education. This work is supported by an ARC DECRA Fellowship. In addition, she is leading a study of the rise of historical abuse inquiries internationally: The Age of Inquiry: A Global Mapping of Institutional Abuse Inquiries.
Over the course of her career, Katie has conducted substantial research on young people and education. In 2012, she completed an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship (ARC APD) that investigated the history of guidance and counselling for children and adolescents and the role of psychology in educational reform. This was part of a larger ARC project, led by Professor Julie McLeod, Educating the Australian Adolescent. She has also conducted innovative research on the rise of concerns with youth wellbeing.
An ongoing focus of Katie’s research is the social and cultural effects of the spread of psychological knowledges and therapeutic discourses, both in the past and in the present. Her first book explored the impact of psychology in modernity through an analysis of the rise of ‘therapeutic culture’ in Australia and examination of the complex and contradictory effects of the growth of psychological knowledge more broadly.