Dr Ruth Penfold-Mounce



Ruth is a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of York. Her background in Sociology is united with an interest in crime and deviance, death and corpses and popular culture and celebrity. Ruth regularly organises events in the Department of Sociology relating to her research interests such as Death and Culture (Sept 2016) and Marginal Death Research: Doing Edgework (Dec 2015). She has been an invited speaker to various conferences and seminar series both public and academic including St Barts Pathology Museum (London) and Encountering Corpses (Manchester) and Inclusive Societies ESRC Festival of Social Sciences (Sheffield).

Ruth does much public engagement work and has worked with the BBC’s Hairy Bikers and Radio 4 as well as writing for award nominated blogs such Death and the Maiden as well as Women are Boring and CelebYouth. She also writes for The Conversation and Discover Society. Ruth has also been an annual contributor to the York Before I Die Festival and has contributed to the York Festival of Ideas.

Follow Ruth on Twitter @RuthPenfoldMoun



Ruth has a broad interest in the cultural and sociological aspects of celebrity, crime and deviance, and death and is keen to supervise PhD students who wish to conduct research in areas that overlap with her key research interests:

  • Fame, celebrity and stardom
  • Death, corpses and dark tourism
  • Popular culture, the media and visual culture
  • Cultural and Theoretical Criminology


She already supervises the following PhD students:

  • Jack Denham (ESRC 1+3 Award) - Crime, celebrity and fandom: the seductiveness of notoriety (Sept 2013)
  • Anais Duong-Pedica - Representation of suicide and suicidal behaviour in contemporary society (Sept 2014)
  • Rosie Smith – Spectacular Criminality and Justice: The case against Foucault’s panoptic privatisation theory of justice (Sept 2015)
  • Alex Lewington – Exploring the Communication of Otherness in Shonen Manga (Feb 2015)
  • Carol Robinson – (ESRC Award) Natural Death in Prisons (Sept 2016)
  • Peggy Lockwood-Lord – Transgressive Genders (Sept 2016)



  • Sociology of Crime and Deviance
  • Popular Culture
  • Theoretical Criminology
  • Morbidity, Culture and Corpses (co-convenor)


  • Critical Perspectives on Criminal Justice System (convenor)


Selected publications


Journal Articles

  • Penfold-Mounce, R. (2015) Corpses, Popular Culture and Forensic Science: Public Obsession with Death, Mortality
  • Penfold-Mounce, R., Beer, D. and Burrows, R. (2011) ‘The Wire as Social Science Fiction?’ Sociology, vol.45 (1), pp. 152-167.
  • Penfold-Mounce, R (2010) ‘Consuming Criminal Corpses’ Mortality, vol.15 (3), pp. 250-265.
  • Beer, D. and Penfold-Mounce, R. (2010) Researching glossy topics: the case of the academic study of celebrity, Celebrity Studies, vol.1 (3), pp. 360-365.
  • Beer, D. and Penfold-Mounce, R. (2009) ‘Celebrity Gossip and the Melodramatic Imagination’, Sociological Review Online, vol.14 (2/3) 
  • Penfold, R. (2004) ‘The Star, Victimization and Celebrity Culture’ Punishment and Society, vol.6 (3), pp.289-302

Books/Book Chapters

  • Reed, D. and Penfold-Mounce, R., (2014) ‘The Walking Dead as Social Science Fiction’, in Hubner, L., Leaning, M. and Manning, P. (eds.) Zombie Renaissance, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Penfold-Mounce, R. (2009) Celebrity Culture and Crime: The Joy of Transgression, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Other Publications

Also published in the Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/hatton-garden-heist-why-we-are-so-fascinated-by-crime-capers-a6817226.html

Contact details

Dr Ruth Penfold-Mounce
Department of Sociology
University of York
Wentworth College
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 323045