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Owen Abbott

Lecturer in Sociology


I joined York's sociology department in May 2021, having previously lectured at the University of Manchester since completing my PhD in Sociology at the University of Exeter in September 2017. My research predominantly focuses on the sociology of morality (with a particular emphasis on everyday practice), sociologies of the self, and relational sociology. Most recently, my research has culminated in the completion of a book entitled 'The Self, Relational Sociology, and Morality in Practice', published in 2019. This book won the BSA Philip Abrams Memorial Prize 2020 for best first and sole-authored book.

My second book, Theorists of the Sociology of Morality, has recently been commissioned by Palgrave MacMillan. This book will provide a collection of critical essays on key social theorists whose work has informed sociological approaches to morality, with each essay setting out what the theorist’s contribution to sociological understandings of morality is, how they have been used in sociology and adjacent disciplines, and what the limitations of their arguments might be from the perspective of contemporary sociological understandings of morality.


  • Abbott, O. (2019) The Self, Relational Sociology, and Morality in Practice. Cham: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Abbott, O. (2020). ‘The Self as the Locus of Morality: A Comparison between Charles Taylor and George Herbert Mead’s Theories of the Moral Constitution of the Self’. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour. 50: 4. 516-533.
  • Balmer, A., Meckin, R., and Abbott, O. (2020) ‘The Temporal Uses of Moral Things: Manifesting, Anchoring and Conserving Caring Relations within the Sensorium’. Sociology. 55: 3. 619-640.
  • Abbott, O. (2016). Posthumanist Perspectives and the Chernobyl Disaster: Dances of Agency, Temporal Emergence, and Disaster Risk Management. The Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters. 34: 2. 231-249.
  • Abbott, O. (2015). ‘The Self and Morality in Mead: The Problems with the ‘I’ and the ‘me’’. Journal of Philosophy and its Cultural Context, (1). 84–102.
  • Abbott, O. ‘The work of George Herbert Mead as a Basis for the Sociology of Morality in Practice’. Under review with Sociological Theory.
  • Abbott, O. (Forthcoming) ‘Between Durkheim and Bauman: A Relational Sociology of Morality in Practice’. in Where is the Good in the World? Ethical life between Social Theory and Philosophy. Edited by Strhan, A., Henig, D., and Robbins, J. Oxford: Berghahn.


Next year I will be teaching on Introduction to Sociological Theory, Cultivating a Sociological Imagination, and Advanced Social Theory.

Overview research and research interests

My research interests centre on the sociology of morality, contemporary social theory (with an emphasis on relational sociology, pragmatism, and theories of the self). I also have a strong interest in sociologies of everyday and interpersonal life. In particular I will soon be starting a research project into forgiveness in personal relationships.

Contact details

Dr Owen Abbott
Lecturer in Sociology
Department of Sociology
University of York