Accessibility statement

Professor Nick Ellison

  • Professor of Social Policy

Visit Professor Nick Ellison's profile on the York Research Database to see a full list of publications and browse his research related activities.


Areas of expertise

  • Contemporary UK social policy
  • The nature and impact of globalization and the changing politics of welfare regimes
  • Citizenship in theory and practice
  • The impact of social media on local democracy

Academic biography

I joined the Department of Social Policy and Social Work in September 2013.  Prior to coming to York, I worked in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds (2007-13) where I was Head of School (2006-11) – and before that in the School of Applied Social Science at Durham University. My current research interests focus around citizen participation and social media, theories of citizenship and the comparative politics of social policy – including the impact of globalization on welfare systems in economically developed countries. I have, for many years, been active in the UK Social Policy Association and am currently Chair of the SPA. 

Professional activities

  • Chair, REF Sub-Panel 20, Social Work and Social Policy, 2018-22
  • Chair of the UK Social Policy Association, 2012-16
  • Vice Chair of the UK Social Policy Association, 2006-9
  • Chair, Editorial Board Journal of Social Policy, 2012-16
  • Member, REF sub-panel 22, Social Policy and Social Work, 2011-14


Current research interests and projects

  • Social media and local government with particular reference to emerging forms of citizen participation at local level.
  • Theories of citizenship and belonging with a particular interest in forms of online participation.
  • The comparative politics of social policy, including the impact of global economic pressures on developed welfare systems.

PhD supervision

Supervision interests:

  • Social citizenship and social rights in developed welfare systems
  • Forms of citizen participation
  • Social media and (local) governance
  • Labour market and pensions policies in developed welfare systems
  • The impact of global economic pressures on welfare states

PhD students:

  • Barry Kew on animal rights
  • Maria Griffin on Direct payments and welfare governance
  • Ali Hajighasemi on The Swedish welfare state
  • Kevin Caraher on the Malaysian pensions system
  • Mark Edwards on evolutionary theories of citizenship
  • Ruth Patrick on the lived experience of welfare reform
  • Dan Edmiston on individuals' understandings of social citizenship

Recent publications


Ellison, N. and Haux, T. (eds.) (2020) Handbook on Society and Social Policy, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. 

Ellison, N. (2006). The Transformation of Welfare States? London: Routledge.

Burrows, R. and Ellison, N. and Woods, B. (2005). Neighbourhoods on the Net:
The Nature and Impact of Internet-based Neighbourhood Information Systems, Bristol, the Policy Press/Joseph Rowntree.

Ellison, N. and Pierson, C. (eds.) (2003). Developments in British Social Policy 2, Basingstoke: Palgrave.


N. Ellison (2020) 'The Socio-Economic Context of Social Policy' in H. Bochel and G. Daly (eds.), Social Policy, Abingdon: Routledge

N. Ellison (2019) ‘Personal and Community Factors as Predictors of Different Types of Community Engagement’, Journal of Community Psychology, July 2019 (21pp), (With L. Zanbar).

N. Ellison (2018) ‘The Whys and Wherefores of Brexit’, in J. Hudson, C. Needham and E. Heins (eds.) Social Policy Review 29: 3-22
N. Ellison (2017) ‘Power, Politics and Policy Transfer’, Journal of East Asian Public Policy, 10 (1): 8-24, 2017.
N. Ellison (2015) ‘Assessing the Evidence Base for Health, Employability and the Labour Market: Lessons for Activation in the UK’, Social Policy and Administration, 49 (2): 143-60, 2015. (with C. Lindsay, B. Greve, C. Cabras and S. Kellett).

Ellison, N. (2013). Citizenship, Space and Time: Engagement, Identity and Belonging in a Connected World, Thesis Eleven, 118 (1): 48-63.

Ellison, N. and Hardey, M. (2013). Developing Political Conversations? Social Media and English Local Authorities. Information, Communication and Society, 16 (6): 78-98.

Ellison, N. and Hardey, M. (2013). Social Media and Local Government: Citizenship, Consumption and Democracy, Local Government Studies, published online July 2013.

Beckett, A. E., Barrett, S., Ellison, N. and Shah, S. (2010). Away With the Fairies: Disability within primary- age children's literature, Disability and Society, 25 (3): 373-86.

Dwyer, P. and Ellison, N. (2009). ‘We Nicked Stuff From All Over the Place’: Policy Transfer or Muddling Through?, Policy and Politics, 37 (3) 3: 389-407.

Ellison, N. and Burrows, R. (2007). New Spaces of (Dis)engagement? Social Politics, Urban Technologies and the Rezoning of the City, Housing Studies, 22 (3): 295-312.

Ellison, N. and Ellison, S. (2006). 'Opportunity for All'?: New Labour, New Localism and the Opportunity Society’, Social Policy and Society 5 (3): 337-48.

Ellison, N. and Burrows, R. (2004). Sorting Places Out? Towards a Social Politics of Neighbourhood Informatization, Information, Communication and Society, 7 (3): 321-336.

Ellison, N. (2000). Proactive and Defensive Engagement: Social Citizenship in a Changing Public Sphere, Sociological Research Online, 5 (4): 15.

Ellison, N. (1999). Beyond Universalism and Particularism: Rethinking Contemporary Welfare Theory, Critical Social Policy, 19 (1): 57-87.

Ellison, N. (1997). Towards a New Social Politics: Citizenship and Reflexivity in Late Modernity, Sociology, 31 (4): 697-717.

Book Chapters

N. Ellison (2020) 'Introduction to the Handbook on Society and Social Policy', in N. Ellison and T. Haux (eds.) Handbook on Society and Social Policy, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. (with Tina Haux).
N. Ellison (2020) 'The Socio-Economic Context of Social Policy' in H. Bochel and G. Daly (eds.), Social Policy, Abingdon: Routledge
N. Ellison (2018) 'Public Policy in Practice', in G. Craig (ed.) Handbook on Global Social Justice, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
N. Ellison (2015) 'The Coalition Government and Social Spending', in H. Bochel and M. Powell (eds.), The Coalition Government and Social Policy, Bristol: Policy Press, 2015.

Ellison, N. (2012). 'Neo-liberalism', in P. Alcock, M. May and S. Wright (eds.), The Student's Companion to Social Policy, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Ellison, N. (2011). 'The Conservative Party and the Big Society', in C. Holden, M. Kilkey, and G. Ramia (eds.), Social Policy Review 23, Bristol: The Policy Press.

Ellison, N. (2011). 'The Conservative Party and Public Spending', in H. Bochel (ed.), The Conservative Party and Social Policy, Bristol: The Policy Press.

Dwyer, P. and Ellison, N. (2009). 'Work and Welfare: the Rights and Responsibilities of Unemployment in the UK', in M. Giugni and P. Statham (eds), The Politics of Unemployment in Europe: Policy Issues and Collective Action, Aldershot: Ashgate.

Ellison, N. (2000). 'Labour and Welfare Politics', in B. Brivati and R. Heffernan (eds), Labour's Century, Macmillan.

Contact details

Professor Nick Ellison
Professor of Social Policy
School for Business and Society

Tel: 01904 32 1265