Geoffrey Lawrence has been a rural sociologist for over four decades. He has a Bachelor’s degree in agricultural science (economics) from the University of Sydney, a Diploma in Social Science from the University of New England, a Masters in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Doctorate in Sociology from Griffith University. His present positions are Professor of Sociology, Head of Sociology and Criminology, and Food Security Co-leader, Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland. During his career he has authored, co-authored or co-edited some 25 books and over 300 book chapters and journal articles and has raised AUD$15 million in research grants. His main areas of academic interest are: global food security; the sociology of food, agriculture and the environment; and the restructuring of rural society. Books include: THINK Sociology (Australian version, Pearson, 2012); Food Security, Nutrition and Sustainability (Earthscan, 2010); Supermarkets and Agri-food Supply Chains (Edward Elgar, 2007); Rural Governance (Routledge, 2007); Going Organic (CABI, 2006); Agricultural Governance (Routledge, 2005); and Globalization, Localization and Sustainable Livelihoods (2003). He has been a board member of Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning since 1997 and has recently become part of the editorial board of Journal of Rural Studies. He was co-editor of the International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food from 1999 to 2004. He founded the journal Rural Society and was a board member for several decades.
Since 1998 he has been the Australasian Representative for the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee on Agriculture and Food (RC 40). Between 1993 and 2000 he was the Oceanic Representative and a Council Member of the International Rural Sociology Association and has been a member of the Australian and Oceanic Network for Rural Social Research and Community Development (AON) since its formation in 2000. With colleagues David Burch and Roy Rickson he founded the Australasian Agri-food Research Network nearly two decades ago. Members are drawn from the Asia-Pacific region and meet on a yearly basis to discuss national and global issues relating to food, agriculture, environment and rural community.
Geoff has undertaken many leadership roles including directorships of rural research centres and institutes, and headships of various schools of sociology in Australia. He has just stepped down as Head of the School of Social Science at the University of Queensland, after 9 years in that role, and from the Scientific Advisory Panel of the Lake Eyre Basin ministerial forum after 8 years. He has been a visiting fellow/professor at numerous overseas universities – Essex, Cornell, Wisconsin-Madison, Bergen, Trondheim, Michigan State and the Mediterranean Institute for Agronomic Research. His current, internationally-based, research projects involve colleagues from the UK, Norway, Finland, Germany, Canada and the US.
For his research work in Central Queensland he was granted the title of Emeritus Professor from Central Queensland University in 2002, and for community service in the area of natural resource management was made the first life member of the Fitzroy Basin Association in the same year. For his contribution to sociology he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 2004. In 2012 he was a ‘living book’ at the Ideas Festival at the State Library in Brisbane, Queensland. Geoff is married to Dimity and has two adult daughters. His hobbies are hibiscus-growing and body surfing.