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After leaving school, I worked as a civil servant and as an insurance clerk before going to Liverpool University to do a degree in sociology. After graduating, I did a PhD (a study of the mother-daughter relationship) at Lancaster University. I joined the sociology department at York in 2014 after posts at Lancaster, Durham and Newcastle.
From the start, my research has been concerned with social inequalities and social identities, particularly those of class, gender and generation. I have tried to explore the ways in which identity and inequality are interrelated through, for example, the conferring or the denial of value (if people are considered to be stupid or ignorant, how will their claims or demands be listened to?). ‘Identity’ is of course a contested and contentious term but I have been concerned to analyse it, not primarily in terms of the categories it produces, but in terms of how it is socially produced and how it socially circulates: in other words, I have asked how identity as such is possible, how it is made and re-made, and why it occupies such a privileged (yet often untheorized) position in the social imaginary.
More recently, I have been working – with Pete Steggals and Ruth Graham (Newcastle University) on a Wellcome Trust funded project on non-suicidal self-injury.
I am happy to discuss PhD supervision on identity, class, gender, self-injury, and /or using psychosocial perspectives, or the theoretical work of Bourdieu or Goffman.