Dr Ruth Penfold-Mounce
Senior Lecturer



Ruth is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology in the Sociology Department 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 has established the Death and Culture Network (DaCNet) at York. This network runs a biannual international conference as well the Emerald Book Series in Death and Culture. She is also on the editorial board for Mortality and Celebrity Studies as well as the advisory board for Cultivate a postgraduate-led journal based in the Centre for Women’s Studies.

Ruth is regularly asked to speak at academic events and also does much public engagement work particularly through the annual York Dead Good Festival and York Festival of Ideas. She has also filmed with the BBC’s Hairy Bikers, and BBC4 as well as recording with Radio 4 as well as writing for award nominated blogs and scholarly sites such as The Conversation.



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:

  • Celebrity Culture and fame
  • Death, mortality and corpses
  • Popular culture, the media and visual culture
  • Cultural and Theoretical Criminology

Ruth was nominated by her doctoral students for the YUSU Excellence Awards as PhD Supervisor of the Year (2017) gaining second place and was ‘Highly Commended’. Her doctoral students nominated her saying:

‘Embarking on a PhD with Ruth is like taking an apprenticeship in all things academic, and she always shows boundless faith and belief in the abilities of her students, even when they are at their most doubtful.’




  • 1st Year: Sociology of Crime and Deviance
  • 3rd Year: Theoretical Criminology
  • 3rd Year: Morbidity, Culture and Corpses (co-convenor)
  • 3rd Year: Sociology and Criminology Dissertation Convenor


Postgraduate (MA)

  • Critical Perspectives on Criminal Justice System (convenor)


Selected publications


Books/Book Chapters

  • Penfold-Mounce (forthcoming) ‘Mortality and culture. Do death matters matter?’ in Holmberg, T., Jonsson, A. and Palm, F. (eds.) Death Matters: Cultural Sociology of Mortal Life, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Penfold-Mounce, R. (2018) Death, the Dead and Popular Culture, Bingley: Emerald Publishing.
  • 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.

Journal Articles

  • Manning, N., Penfold-Mounce, R., Loader, B.D., Vromen, A. and Xenos, M (2017) ‘Politicians, celebrities and social media: a case of informalisation?’ Journal of Youth Studies, 20(2), pp.127-144.
  • Penfold-Mounce, R. (2016) Corpses, popular culture and forensic science: Public obsession with death. Mortality, 21(1), pp.19-35.
  • Penfold-Mounce, R. (2015) Conducting frivolous research in neoliberal universities: what is the value of glossy topics?. Celebrity studies, 6(2), pp.254-257.
  • 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

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