Dr Ruth Penfold-Mounce



Ruth studied for a BA in Sociology at the University of Lancaster between 1997 and 2000.

Following her undergraduate studies (2000-2001) she was awarded an ESRC Quota Award Scholarship at the University of Leeds Law School to study for an MA in Criminal Justice Studies. The resulting Masters dissertation led to an interest in the notion of celebrities as victims and from this her ESRC funded PhD thesis ‘Celebrated Criminality’ emerged.

Following her PhD (2001-2005) Ruth worked in the Leeds Metropolitan University Law School as a Senior Lecturer in Criminal Justice before coming to the University of York in April 2008 as a Lecturer in Criminology.


Departmental roles

  1. Admissions Liaison Officer
  2. Programme Leader for both BA in Criminology and BA in Sociology with Criminology
  3. Convenor of the Peer Support for Teaching (PST) Group for Curriculum and Module Design and Development



Ruth has a broad interest in the cultural and sociological aspects of celebrity, crime and deviance, and death and is keen to supervise PhD students who wish to conduct research in areas that overlap with her key research interests:

  • Fame, celebrity and stardom
  • Death, corpses and dark tourism
  • Popular culture, the media and visual culture
  • Cultural and Theoretical Criminology


She already supervises the following PhD students:

Jack Denham (ESRC 1+3 Award) - Crime, celebrity and fandom: the seductiveness of notoriety (Sept 2013)

Anais Duong-Pedica - Representation of suicide and suicidal behaviour in contemporary society (Sept 2014)

Rosie Smith – Spectacular Criminality and Justice: The case against Foucault’s panoptic privatisation theory of justice (Sept 2015)

Alex Lewington – Exploring the Communication of Otherness in Shonen Manga (Feb 2015)


Ruth has organised funded events:

  • Death and Culture Conference, 1st-3rd September 2016 www.york.ac.uk/death-and-culture
  • Bowie and me…and me and me and me, February 2016
  • Marginal Death Research: Doing Edgework, December 2015
  • The Jim Matthews Public Lecture by Nick Hardwick, HM Chief Inspector of Prison, October 2014
  • Negotiating Morbid Spaces Symposium, January 2014


She has been an invited speaker at:

  • ‘Forensic Science on Display’, Centre for Criminological Research, University of Sheffield, April 2016
  • Celebrity Death and Grieving, Before I Die Festival, Public Workshop, May 2016
  • ‘Celebrity Dead’, Encountering Corpses Public Lecture Series, Manchester Metropolitan University, March 2016
  • ‘End of an Era? 15 Years of CSI’, Roundtable Participant, CSI Television Workshop, October 2015
  • ‘Consuming the Criminal Dead’, Sociology of Death and Dying Conference, Festival of Death and Dying, May 2014


Millington, G., Penfold-Mounce, R. and Toerien, M. (2014-2016), Widening Participation Initiative Fund, University of York

‘Learning From Experience: A Scoping Study Aimed at Improving Recruitment, Retention and Experience of Sociology Students from Low Income Households’


Editorial Duties

Ruth is a member of the editorial board for Celebrity Studies. She is also an active reviewer of books for various journals and book proposals and manuscripts for academic publishers.



  • Sociology of Crime and Deviance
  • Popular Culture
  • Theoretical Criminology
  • Morbidity, Culture and Corpses (co-convenor)


  • Critical Perspectives on Criminal Justice System (convenor)


Selected publications


Journal Articles

  • Penfold-Mounce, R. (2015) Corpses, Popular Culture and Forensic Science: Public Obsession with Death, Mortality
  • Penfold-Mounce, R., Beer, D. and Burrows, R. (2011) ‘The Wire as Social Science Fiction?’ Sociology, vol.45 (1), pp. 152-167.
  • Penfold-Mounce, R (2010) ‘Consuming Criminal Corpses’ Mortality, vol.15 (3), pp. 250-265.
  • Beer, D. and Penfold-Mounce, R. (2010) Researching glossy topics: the case of the academic study of celebrity, Celebrity Studies, vol.1 (3), pp. 360-365.
  • Beer, D. and Penfold-Mounce, R. (2009) ‘Celebrity Gossip and the Melodramatic Imagination’, Sociological Review Online, vol.14 (2/3) 
  • Penfold, R. (2004) ‘The Star, Victimization and Celebrity Culture’ Punishment and Society, vol.6 (3), pp.289-302

Books/Book Chapters

  • Reed, D. and Penfold-Mounce, R., (2014) ‘The Walking Dead as Social Science Fiction’, in Hubner, L., Leaning, M. and Manning, P. (eds.) Zombie Renaissance, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Penfold-Mounce, R. (2009) Celebrity Culture and Crime: The Joy of Transgression, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Other Publications

Also published in the Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/hatton-garden-heist-why-we-are-so-fascinated-by-crime-capers-a6817226.html

Contact details

Dr Ruth Penfold-Mounce
Department of Sociology
University of York
Wentworth College
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 323045