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Dr Kath Bassett



Kath is a Lecturer who joined the Department of Sociology in September 2022. Before this, they were a Research Associate on Dr Liz McFall's ESRC-funded project 'Supporting local acceleration in Granton through inclusive, data driven and participatory engagement', which is associated with the Data Civics stream of the Edinburgh Futures Institute at the University of Edinburgh. Additionally, they have worked as a Lecturer in the Centre for Women’s Studies at the University of York and in the Department of Sociology at Pacific University.

Their research is concerned with and/or utilises:

  • Mobile Digital Technologies and Locative Media Platforms
  • Mobilities, Urban Economies and Touristic Development
  • Algorithmic Governance and Inequalities
  • Emotions, Affect and the Proliferation of the Psy Disciplines
  • ANT, Foucauldian and New Materialist Feminist Theories
  • Qualitative, Ethnographic and Digital Methods


  • PhD in Sociology, University of Edinburgh
  • MA in Social Research, University of York
  • BA in Sociology and Gender and Sexuality Studies, Pacific University

Departmental roles

Other roles

  • Member of the DACS steering committee
  • Member of the Social Science Faculty Futures working group

Learn more about Kath on their website



Kath’s sociological project is concerned with understanding (inter)relationships of power, and especially tracing the organisation, enactment, and social life of ‘governmentality’. Over the years this focus has informed projects on the role of: mental health practitioners in the transgender clinical encounter (2010-2012) and prisoner re-entry therapeutic encounter (2013-2015); and – in the case of their doctoral thesis and current research activities – digital platforms in urban, cultural-economic life and tourism (2016-present). 

Within these projects, they have forged an ANT, Foucauldian, and New Materialist Feminist-inspired approach to understanding privilege and marginality by attending to the ‘social ontologies’ (categorisations and prioritisations) mobilised by institutional gatekeepers and other important mediators which make a difference in the lifeworlds of classed, raced, and gendered bodies during their movement from one place to another (both figuratively and literally).

Their doctoral thesis examined how TripAdvisor governs placemaking via a three-year ethnography of tourism in Edinburgh. Their findings add to the growing body of work on how algorithmic infrastructures are reordering social and territorial space, offering insight into how algorithmic infrastructures shape hospitality work and facilitate touristic development.

The ethnographic approach and digital methods they developed within this project have also been adapted to and have helped develop the ‘COVID Arcadia’ project (funded by the Scottish Funding Council). As well as the ‘Granton Waterfront Development’ project (funded by the ESRC Local Acceleration Fund). The former project sought to understand the role that digital platforms played in cultural-economic recovery by independent businesses in Edinburgh during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the latter seeks to apply some of these insights to guide urban regeneration via attending to and developing community-based ‘tool kits’ meant to address the digital conditions associated with gentrification. 


Selected publications

BASSETT, K., DOYURAN, E.B., MCFALL, L., and MCGOWAN, A. (2024) ‘#CovidArcadia: The Pandemic Conditions of Emergene of Digital-Affective Atmospheres’ in Trompette, P. (ed.) Market Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

BASSETT, K. (2023) ‘TripAdvisor as a Geo-Pastoral Technology’. Tourism Geographies. doi:10.1080/14616688.2023.2275734.

BASSETT, K. (2023) ‘The Development of Edinburgh’s Harry Potter Tourism Scene and TripAdvisor as an Ordering Resource’. Mediapolis: A Journal of Cities and Culture, 8(1).

STEWART, E.A., NONHEBEL, A., MOLLER, C. and BASSETT, K. (2022) ‘Doing our bit: solidarity, inequality, and COVID-19 crowdfunding for the UK National Health Service’. Social Science & Medicine.

BASSETT, K. (2018) ‘Metagaming: Playing, competing, spectating, cheating, trading, making and breaking videogames’. New Media and Society, 20(6): 2226-2228.

WHITEHEAD, J.C., BASSETT, K., FRANCHINI, L. and IACOLUCCI, M. (2015) ‘The Proof is in the Pudding: How Mental Health Practitioners View the Power of ‘Sex Hormones’ in the Process of Transition’. Feminist Studies, 41(3): 623-650.

For other publications, you can view Kath's website or Kath's blog



  • SOC00039H - The Racial State


  • SOC00003M - Understanding Social Media
  • SOC00022M - Social Media, Data & Society
  • SOC00027M - Researching Digital Life
  • SOC00026M - Introduction to Qualitative Methods & Data Analysis

Other teaching

For previous modules taught, visit Kath’s website.

Contact details

Dr Kath Bassett
Department of Sociology LMB/234
Law and Sociology Building University of York
YO10 5GD

Tel: +44 (0) 749 867 3281