Dr Lawrence Angus

Position: Adjunct Professor
Location: Mt Helen Campus, H Building, Room H244
Phone: 5327 9714
Email: l.angus@federation.edu.au


  • B.A. (University of Adelaide)
  • Grad. Dip. Teaching (Secondary) (University of Adelaide)
  • Grad. Dip. Ed. Admin. (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology)
  • Executive program in Project Management (Australian Graduate School of Management)
  • M.A. (prelim) (Deakin University) (Thesis: A Study of the Perceptions of a Group of Year 11 Students of the Process of Schooling)
  • Ph.D. (Deakin University) (Thesis: Continuity and Change at CBC: An Ethnography of a Catholic Brothers' School in Australian Society)


Lawrie's teaching areas include education management and leadership, social and educational policy, equity and disadvantage. He is particularly interested in critical approaches to educational policy and management, with particular emphasis on power and politics in organisations. He supervises research in many areas including educational restructuring, ethnographies of educational organisation and culture, bureaucracy and democracy, and educational reform. His own major research programs are in Educational Policy and Restructuring, and Continuity and Change in Education. These programs have focussed on issues of educational reform and the assertion and playing out of reform agendas in sites of educational practice. He has received funding for this work from the Australian Research Council, Australian National University, the Department of Education, Science and Training, the National Centre for Vocational Education Research, Victorian Industry Education Partnerships and the Victorian State Board of Education as well as Monash University, Deakin University and FedUni.

Professor Angus's most recent funded research, supported by an Australian Research Council Large Discovery Grant, has been with his colleague, Professor John Smyth of FedUni, and involves researching ways of enabling schools in areas characterised by social and economic disadvantage to support community development and renewal. His most recent book based on this research project (with John Smyth, Peter McInerney and Barry Down) is Critically engaged learning: Connecting to young lives (published by Peter Lang, 2008). Much of his earlier research has been concerned with the implementation of government policies, including the National Training Reform Agenda and competency-based training and assessment in Vocational Education and Training. He connects educational policy and institutional restructuring with issues of social formation, culture and equity. His book (with Terri Seddon) on Reshaping Australian education: Beyond nostalgia (published by Australian Council for Educational Research, 2000) reports much of this work.

Lawrie's publications include some 16 books and reports and over 50 refereed book chapters and articles in academic journals. Professor Angus's research interests directly inform his teaching. His record of leadership in program development, curriculum planning and course design is very strong. He has developed innovative and professionally relevant programs in educational management and policy, in particular, and is an advocate of forms of flexible delivery including web-based delivery.

Professor Angus has provided policy advice at various levels of the education profession from that of the individual school to Ministerial level. He has conducted numerous professional development and in-service activities for the Ministry of Education, School Support Centres, Principals' Associations and individual schools, and has delivered keynote addresses to professional bodies such as the Victorian Institute of Senior TAFE Administrators, the Australian Education Union, the Victorian Council of State School Organisations, the Council for Adult and Community Education, and the Federation of Victorian Schools Parent Associations. He has contributed to the public discussion of education issues, and to debate within the profession, through making a number of contributions to media coverage of educational matters.

Research interests

Professor Angus's scholarship and contribution to equity research and ethnographic methodology have been internationally significant. He has a record of using ethnographic research to pursue questions about the embeddedness of social and cultural norms and equity relations in institutional structures, social attitudes and conventional practices. This work has contributed to rethinking theoretical presuppositions and policy directions in relation to organisational change, disadvantage and equality of opportunity. The approach has enabled him to make important contributions to numerous areas of social and educational thought and practice including theories of institutionalism in education, school and community relationships, leadership and organisational culture, school restructuring and educational disadvantage.

The common thread in his research is a focus on issues of equity and disadvantage. This focus has required an emphasis on social contexts, the nature of community, the nature of participation, identity and equity. He endeavours to challenge conventional and theoretical presuppositions about social relations, power, disadvantage and equality of opportunity by drawing upon critical social science and organisational theory perspectives. These are applied to the analysis of attitudes and institutions, as sites of social and cultural formation, within their social and political contexts. He emphasises the interactive processes by which institutional and community norms are constructed, contested and transformed. In all of these areas, he explicitly connects issues of disadvantage, social formation, identity, culture and equity.Ethnographic research

Lawrie's work on developments in ethnographic research is regularly cited and drawn upon in survey papers such as Professor G. Anderson's seminal article, 'Critical ethnography in education: origins, current status and new directions' in Review of Educational Research (vol 59, no 3), and in the state-of-the-art entry on 'Critical ethnography' in the Encyclopedia of Language and Education (1997, Kluwer Academic). Among the reviews of his institutional ethnography on Continuity and Change in Catholic Education was the following:

"There is no equal to this sustained treatment of a wide range of issues confronting a prominent Catholic college." (Australian Educational Researcher, vol 16, no. 2)

Reviews of his book, Education, Inequality and Social Identity, indicate the extent of its contribution to the conceptualisation of theoretically informed ethnographic projects. For example:

"This is strong stuff ... There is much in Education, Inequality and Social Identity to make British readers in their turn think and reflect upon issues in British cultures ... In sum, this is a stimulating book." (British Journal of Educational Studies, vol 42, no 1.)

"[Angus] presents a 'state of the art' overview of critical ethnography." (Journal of Education Policy, vol 9, no. 2).

Recent funded research (large grants)

  • ARC Large Discovery Grant (Chief Investigator with Professor J Smyth): 'Individual, institutional and community 'capacity building' in a cluster of disadvantaged schools and their community'
  • ARC Large Linkage Grant (Chief Investigator with Dr Caroline Taylor, Professor Alison Young and A/P Peter Rush): 'Policing Just Outcomes'
  • ARC Linkage Grant (Chief Investigator): 'Universal access playgrounds: Can purpose-built playgrounds for children with disabilities provide opportunities for play that enhance cognitive and social development'
  • ARC Large Grant (Chief Investigator with Professor Terri Seddon): 'The Social Organisation of Educational Practice'
  • National Centre for Vocational Education Research (Chief Investigator with Dr Stephen Billet, Griffith University): 'Evaluating the contribution of competency-based training and assessment to Australian Vocational Education and Training'
  • Australian National University (Chief Investigator with Professor Terri Seddon): 'Reshaping Australian Institutions Project: Reshaping Education: From Federation to its Centenary and Beyond'.

Areas of expertise

  • Ethnographic research
  • Critical approaches to educational leadership and management
  • Educational and social policy analysis
  • Educational reform and restructuring
  • Globalisation and localism
  • Social justice and educational change


  • The literacy practices of Kunibidji children: text, technology and transformation
  • The dialects of management and care: the managed care phenomenon in Victorian health administration
  • Traversing the great divide: preparing social work and welfare students for rural practice in Australia
  • Decentralisation of educational management and curriculum development: a comparative study
  • Parental involvement in home and school education
  • After the blitzkrieg: the personal and education impact of Voluntary Departure Packages in Victoria
  • Politics of educational policy production in Indonesia
  • Cultural reconstruction and societal transformation: an ethnographic study of higher education reform in China
  • An anatomy of educational change: a study of government intervention in the reshaping of education policy
  • Identification of problem solving strategies adopted by nurses in procedural care-giving
  • Researcher subjectivity, reflexiveness and the 'empowerment' of the 'at risk'
  • The meaning of caring and its implications for nursing and nurse education
  • Decision-making in nursing education and practice
  • Administering women's education in a Muslim tribal community of Pakistan
  • Adaptation and identity: Chinese girls in Australia
  • Administrative decentralisation and educational program implementation in Sri Lanka
  • Managing Salesian schools in an era of crisis
  • Homeless students, schools and the policy process



Angus, L. (with Smyth, J., Down, B., & McInerney. P.) Activist and Socially Critical School and Community Renewal: Social Justice in Exploitative Times. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers, (in press) 2009

Angus, L. (with Smyth, J., Down, B., & McInerney. P.) Critically Engaged Learning: Connecting to Young Lives. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2008 Book chapters

Angus, L. (2008) The politics of community renewal and educational reform: school improvement in areas of social disadvantage (pp. 204-220), in E. Samier (Ed) Political Approaches to Educational Administration and Leadership, New York: Routledge.

Angus, L. (2007) Implications for social inequality in internet use for educational policies and programs, in Kompetenzzentrum Informelle Bildung KIB (Ed) Grenzenlose Cyberwelt? Zum Verh??ltnis digitaler Ungleichheit und neuen Bildungszug??ngen f??r Jugendliche (pp. 15-30) Wiesbaden: VS Verlag.

Angus, L. (2006) Globalisation and the reshaping of teacher professional culture: do we train competent technicians or informed players in the policy process? in T. Townsend and R. Bates (Eds), Handbook of Teacher Education: Globalization, standards and professionalism in times of change, Springer)

Angus, L (2005). New methodologies and the politics of research: Re-visiting the lessons of critical ethnography, in Geoffrey Walford and Geoff Troman (Eds), Methodological issues and practices in ethnography. London, Elsevier-JAI Press.

Angus, L., Snyder, I. & Sutherland-Smith, W. (2004). ICT's and educational disadvantage: cultural resources and the digital divide, in G. Troman, R. Jeffrey & G. Walford (eds) Ethnographies of educational and cultural conflicts: Strategies and resources, London, Elsevier-JAI Press.

Snyder, I., Angus, L. and Sutherland-Smith, W. (2004) Literacy technology and disadvantage in home and school settings. In I. Snyder & C. Beavis (eds), Doing literacy online: Teaching, learning and playing in an electronic world. New Jersey: Hampton Press

Angus, L., Snyder, I. & Sutherland-Smith, W. (2003). ICTs and education policy: cultural lessons from families, in G. Walford (Ed.), Investigating educational policy through ethnography (pp. 63-91). London: Elsevier-JAI Press.

Refereed journal articles

Smyth, J., Angus, L., Down, B. & McInerney, P. (2006) Critical ethnography for school and community renewal around social class differences affecting learning. Journal of Learning Communities International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, 3, pp. 121-152

Angus, L. (2006) Educational leadership and the imperative of including student voices, student interests, and students' lives in the mainstream, International Journal of Leadership in Education, 9(4), pp. 369-379.

Angus, L. (2006) Transcending educational inequalities across multiple divides: schools and communities building equitable and literate futures, Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, 3

Angus, L. (2004) (Invited contribution, published in Mandarin) Educational policy and management and Cultural analysis: The importance of sociological traditions, Journal of East China Normal University (educational sciences), No.3, pp-31-43.

Angus, L (2004) Globalization and educational change: bringing about the reshaping and re-norming of practice. Journal of education policy, 19(1), pp23-42.

Angus, L., Sutherland-Smith, W. & Snyder, I. (2004) ICT and educational (dis)advantage: families, computers, and contemporary social and educational inequalities. British Journal of Sociology of Education 3(4), pp. 3-18.

Sutherland-Smith, W., Snyder, I. & Angus, L. (2003) The digital divide: Differences in computer use between home and school in low socio-economic households. L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature 3, 31- 45.

Angus, L., Snyder, I. And Sutherland-Smith, W. (2003) Families, cultural resources and the digital divide: ICTs and educational (dis)advantage in the e-society. Australian Journal of Education 47, 1, 18-39

Snyder, I., Angus, L. and Sutherland-Smith, W. (2002) Building equitable literate futures: Home and school computer-mediated literacy practices and disadvantage. Cambridge Journal of Education 32, 3, 368-383 Seminar presentations

Lawrie has been invited to present numerous seminars and colloquia at various academic institutions. For example, he has presented seminars as Visiting Scholar or invited speaker at such institutions as the London Institute of Education; Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Centre for Educational Research, King's College London; Department of Policy Studies, University of London; Education Department, Keele University, School of Education, Charles Sturt University; School of Education, Macquarie University; Centre for Teaching and Change, Flinders University; Department of Education, University of Western Ontario; School of Education, Deakin University; Graduate Institute of Education, Washington University; Centre for Instructional Research and Curriculum Evaluation, University of Illinois; Department of Education, University of Illinois; Department of Education and Policy, Pennsylvania State University; School of Anthropology, University of San Diego.


Professor Angus maintains a number of professional memberships, including membership of the Australian Association for Research in Education, the American Educational Research Association, and the Australian Curriculum Studies Association. He is Australasian editor for the journal Ethnography and Education, and on the editorial board for the official journal of the Australian Council for Educational Administration, Leading and Managing, and also conducts editorial reviews for a number of other journals including Journal of European Social Policy, Australian Journal of Education, Journal of Education Policy, The Australian Administrator, Curriculum Inquiry, Discourse, Journal of Curriculum Studies, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Australian Educational Researcher, Leading and Managing, International Journal of Educational Leadership, Journal of Intercultural Studies, Journal of Educational Administration and History.