Dr Matthew Cooper



Matthew joins the department from the Institute for Employment Research at the University of Warwick where he was a PhD researcher.

His PhD entitled Conditionality then and now? Moral ordering and the young unemployed: policy lessons from the 1930s was completed in 2018. This was a historical comparative analysis of the treatment of youth in the UK benefit system post 2008 and in the depression of the 1930s, which examined how policy makers assessed the claims of diverse social groups for benefit, what rights were granted and upon what was the receipt of benefit then made conditional.

Prior to PhD study Matthew worked as a policy researcher for Citizens Advice, working on a range of research projects on the impact of ‘welfare reform’.



Matthew's doctoral research was a historical comparative analysis of unemployment benefits in the UK under the post 2010 programme of ‘welfare reform’ with the welfare benefit system during the great depression of the 1930s. It made interventions into debates on benefit conditionality and disciplinary welfare, interpreting welfare conditionality as a form of social control. The research focussed particularly on the problem of youth unemployment, how it was interpreted in both periods of time, and what measures and solutions follow from policy maker’s understandings. This research although primarily sociological, was interdisciplinary, engaged with debates in Social Policy, Politics, and History.

He has a broad interest in sociological theory. He has an MRes in Social and Political Theory from Birkbeck College University of London. Research interests include:

  • Social Security
  • Welfare reform
  • Historical sociology
  • Governmentality
  • Sociological theory

Contact details

Dr Matthew Cooper
Teaching Associate
Department of Sociology
University of York
North Yorkshire
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 32 4074