Dr Melissa Lovell

Honorary Research Fellow

Ph.D. (The Australian National University)
B. Arts (Hons) (University of Queensland)
B. Social Science (University of Queensland)

E melissa.lovell@anu.edu.au


Dr Melissa Lovell joined NCIS as an Honorary Research Fellow in January 2016. She is a political scientist with expertise in the fields of Indigenous Affairs governance, social policy, and political ideology.

Melissa’s research aligns with a number of NCIS research themes including: Human rights, social justice and governance; Policy, development and engagement; Representation, discourse and identity.


Melissa was awarded a Ph.D. by the School of Politics and International Studies, The Australian National University, in 2012. She completed her undergraduate education in policy and political science at the University of Queensland.

Melissa was employed as a research officer by NCIS from 2014 to 2015 and contributed to a range of projects including research on: Deficit Discourses in Indigenous Education; Indigenous incarceration; the Learning of Country program; and the history, effects and opportunities of repatriation of Indigenous remains from museums and other institutions.

Before her employment at NCIS, Melissa taught courses in political ideas, social policy, political theory and introductory political science at the Australian National University and the University of Canberra.

Scholarly interests

Melissa writes primarily in the fields of social policy and Indigenous Affairs governance. Her research focuses on the manner in which political agents frame political problems and possibilities. The framing of political problems plays an influential role on the development of policy goals. It also affects the views of politicians, policy-makers, stakeholders and the general community on the viability and legitimacy of proposed policy programs and political agendas.

Melissa has a particular interest in the role that ideas about risk, vulnerability and capability play in contemporary political debates about Indigenous peoples. Her research draws on examples from a wide range of policy fields – including welfare, criminal justice, education and employment – to demonstrate that there is considerable similarity in the way that Indigenous people are represented as ‘problems’ in policy framing. For instance, her research shows that Indigenous people are routinely described as lacking crucial capabilities for self-governance. Such assumptions have important implications for policy practice. In particular, they contribute to the exclusion of Indigenous people from decision-making while simultaneously normalising the view that Indigenous communities are an appropriate site for intensive intervention by government agencies, community organisations and corporate entities.

Research outputs: most recent

  • Simpson, Paul; Guthrie, Jill; Lovell, Melissa; Doyle, Michael; Butler, Tony, 'Assessing the public’s views on prison and prison alternatives: Findings from public deliberation research in three Australian cities', Journal of Public Deliberation, Vol.11, Iss.2, 2015, pp:1-26. JOURNAL ARTICLE.
  • Lovell, Melissa, 'Are policy-makers influenced by the outcomes of deliberative processes? A case study of the policy translation process from three citizens juries on criminal justice', presented at the Australian Political Studies Association (APSA) Annual Conference on 28 September 2015. University of Canberra, Canberra ACT. CONFERENCE PAPER.
  • Fogarty, William; Lovell, Melissa; Dodson, Mick, 'A view beyond review: Challenging assumptions in Indigenous education development', UNESCO Observatory Multi-disciplinary Journal in the Arts, The University of Melbourne Early Learning Centre, Vol.4, Iss.2, 2015, pp:1-21. JOURNAL ARTICLE.
  • Lovell, Melissa, 'Submission to: ‘Academic perspectives on The Forrest review: creating parity’', CAEPR Topical Issue No. 2, CAEPR, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, 2014, pp:8-9. CAEPR RESEARCH MONOGRAPH.
  • Lovell, Melissa, 'Colonial ambivalence and the production of responsible citizens: An examination of Australia’s income management regime', presented at the 2014 New Zealand Political Studies Association (NZPSA) conference on 2 December 2014. University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. CONFERENCE PAPER.
  • Simpson, Paul; Guthrie, Jill; Lovell, Melissa; Walsh, Corinne; Butler, Tony, 'Views on alternatives to imprisonment: A Citizens Jury approach', The Lowitja Institute, Carlton South, Victoria, 2014. 48 pages. WORKING/TECHNICAL PAPER.
  • Lovell, Melissa, 'Languages of neoliberal critique: The production of coercive government in the Northern Territory intervention', in: J. Uhr and R. Walter (eds.), Studies in Australian political rhetoric, ANU E Press, Canberra, ACT, 2014, pp:221-240. BOOK CHAPTER.
  • Lovell, Melissa, 'The politics of ‘real jobs’: Producing exclusionary and assimilatory discourses in Aboriginal affairs governance', presented at the the Engaging Indigenous Economy: Debating Diverse Approaches conference on 5 September 2014. Canberra, ACT. CONFERENCE PAPER.
  • Guthrie, Jill; Lovell, Melissa, 'Justice: spend – and save', The Canberra Times, 31 May 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2014. ONLINE CONTENT.
  • Guthrie, Jill; Lovell, Melissa, 'Future-proofing the ACT justice system', Sydney Morning Herald, 29 May 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014. ONLINE CONTENT.

» view/search Melissa Lovell's research outputs; download selected documents from the NCIS database

» view/search Melissa Lovell's research outputs on academia.edu

Online media

Melissa regularly updates her research publications on her Academia.edu site. You can also follow her on Twitter , or connect with her via LinkedIn. Melissa is an administrator of the Australian Political Studies Association (APSA) Women’s Caucus Facebook page.

Updated:  20 May 2016/ Responsible Officer:  NCIS Project Coordinator/ Page Contact:  NCIS Administrative Officer