Prof Nik Brown



  • PhD (Lancaster)
  • MA (Lancaster)
  • BA(Liverpool)

Nik graduated from Liverpool in 1991. The following year, the ESRC were kind enough to fund his MA in Contemporary Sociology at the University of Lancaster where he went on to undertake his PhD. His thesis was a sociological and anthropological account of new developments in biotechnology.

He joined the Department of Sociology at the University of York in 1999 becoming Deputy Director of the Science and Technology Studies Unit (SATSU). He was appointed Senior Lecturer in 2007 and Reader in 2010.

Nik's current research interests focus on culturally intriguing developments in the biosciences like cloning, transpecies transplantation, hybrids, chimeras, stem cells, and biobanking. He is interested in the social management of the boundaries between life and death, the human and the animal, the biologically mundane and the exotic, the public and the private. He is particularly interested in the politics, regulation and governance of novel biological developments and reproduction. He has also written extensively on the sociology of hope, expectations and futurity. In recent years he has undertaken extensive research into the international bioeconomies in blood and blood products.

He has published widely in journals related to Science and Technology Studies (STS), Sociology of Health and Illness and the Sociology of Risk, and has been involved in a wide range of research projects funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the European Commission and other bodies.



Main research interests relate to sociological critique of the health and life sciences, broadly grouped as follows:


Selected publications

Recent Selected Publications

  • Beynon-Jones, S. and Brown, N. (2013 in press) Where the wild things are: the EU regulation of transpecies bioscience, In Farrell, A-N.,Flear, M., Hervey, T. and Murphy, T. (eds) European Law and New Health Technologies, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Brown, N. (2013) Contradictions of value: between use and exchange in cord blood bioeconomy, Sociology of Health and Illness, 35, 1, 97-112
  • Machin, L., Brown, N. and McLeod, D. (2012) ‘Two’s company-Three’s a crowd’: The collection of umbilical cord blood for commercial stem cell banks in England and the midwifery profession, Midwifery Jun;28(3):358-365
  • Machin, L., Brown, N. and McLeod, D. (2012) Giving to Receive? The right to donate in umbilical cord blood banking for stem cell therapies, Health Policy, 104, 3, 296-303
  • Brown, N. and Beynon-Jones, S. (2012) Reflex Regulation: an anatomy of promissory science governance, Health, Risk and Society, 14, 3, 223-240
  • Beynon-Jones, S. and Brown, N. (2011) Time, timing and narrative at the interface between science, policy and citizenship, Science and Public Policy, 38, 8, 639-648
  • Brown, N., Machin, L. and McLeod, C. (2011) Immunitary Bioeconomy: the economization of life in the international cord blood market, Social Science and Medicine, 72, 7, 1115-22
  • Tamminen, S. and Brown, N. (2011) Nativitas: Capitalising Genetic Nationhood, New Genetics and Society, 30, 1, 73-99
  • Brown, N. (2009) Beasting the Embryo: The metrics of humanness in the transpecies embryo debate, Biosocieties, 4, 147-163

Contact details

Prof. Nik Brown
Department of Sociology
University of York
Wentworth College
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 324741