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 at York which runs a biannual international conference as well as being the lead editor of 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. She 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.

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.’

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 and corpses
  • 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+3 Award) Dying Inside: Natural Death in Prisons (Sept 2016)
  • Matthew Coward – Board Gaming Communities and Geek Culture (Sept 2016)
  • Peggy Lockwood-Lord – Transgressive Genders (Sept 2016)
  • Daniel Robins – The Value of Necrowaste (Jan 2017)



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