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Prof Victoria Robinson
Professor of Sociology/Director of the Centre for Women's Studies



BA Modern English Studies, MA Women’s Studies, PGCE, PhD Sociology (University of Manchester).

In 1984, whilst a student on the MA Women’s Studies at Sheffield Hallam University (the second such programme in the UK, after the University of Kent), I approached what was then the Adult Continuing Education Department at the University of Sheffield, offering classes in Women’s Studies, to which the response was that such a class would not be viable in attracting students. I returned in 1985 and persuaded the University to put on just one course to which around 60 students came. My own institutional and theoretical history, then and now, coincided with what can only be termed one of the most radical epistemological and methodological transformations of academia nationally and internationally, not least because of Women’s Studies’ activist roots, and the subsequent developments of Gender and Masculinity Studies.

In the early 1990’s, I was responsible for setting up one of the first degrees in Women’s Studies in the UK, at the University of Sheffield. In 1999, I moved to the University of Manchester, where I was Lecturer in Sociology/Director of the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies till 2002, then became Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Newcastle, and after that, returned in 2004 to the University of Sheffield becoming Reader and Director of the Centre for Gender Research, which I co-founded. I was appointed as Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Women’s Studies, University of York, in 2016. My PhD, awarded by the Department of Sociology, University of Manchester and entitled: ‘Everyday Heterosexualities and Everyday Masculinities’, informs much of my previous and current research interests. Fundamental to all my research is a critical engagement with feminist theory and method underpinned by a way of working with staff and students which is both feminist and collaborative.

I was a founder member, in the 1990s, of the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association (UK and Ireland).

I have been Visiting Professor at three European Universities, the University of Bielefeld, Germany, University of Karlstad, Sweden and the University of Turin, Italy, working in the areas of men, masculinities and gender relations, heterosexualities and fashion and footwear cultures.

I have also been European and Middle Eastern Editor, Women’s Studies International Forum Journal and Associate Editor, Journal of Gender Studies and I am currently on the editorial boards of Women’s Studies International Forum, Studies on Women and Gender Abstracts, Journal of Gender Studies and NORMA: International Journal of Masculinity Studies. I am an International Advisory Editor, Journal of Men and Masculinities.

I am co-editor, with Professor Diane Richardson, of Palgrave Macmillan’s international book series ‘Genders and Sexualities in the Social Sciences’:



My specific interests are broadly conceived with the general frameworks of women’s, gender and masculinity studies and a cultural sociology of the everyday, specifically in the areas of feminist theory, gender and sexualities (especially heterosexualities), men and masculinities, fashion and footwear cultures, risk sports, debates in women’s, gender and masculinity studies in the academy, feminist sociology of everyday life.

I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students in my research areas as broadly interpreted.

Key Research Funding:

I have held three ESRC research grants, with Emeritus Professor Jenny Hockey, University of Sheffield.

2010-2013 ‘If the Shoe Fits, Footwear, Identification and Transition’ £385K

2003-2006 ‘Masculinities in Transition: Identity, Home and Workplace’ £164K

2001-2003 ’A Cross Generational Investigation of the Making of Heterosexual Relationships’ £85K


Current funded research includes working with Dr Seán Williams, University of Sheffield and Professor Giselinde Kuipers, University of Amsterdam through the WUN universities network. The formation of an international network through this visiting scholar programme, via two colloquia, will establish a gateway for future collaborative research between York, and the universities of Sheffield and Amsterdam. Initial research is centred around the concept of “aesthetic labour” with reference to the beauty industry: the model, the hairdresser, and the shoe-designer – and these collaborative exchanges will help form interdisciplinary institution-wide research exchanges about beauty and the body from comparative cultural and literary and humanities-based cultural studies and cultural sociology perspectives.

Developing my previous ESRC funded work on footwear, identification and transition, I was recently awarded £25K under the University of Sheffield’s Innovation, Impact and Knowledge Exchange (IIKE) scheme. In 2015, a project with external partners Professor Wesley Vernon OBE, Head of Podiatry at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Dr Lisa Farndon, produced a tool kit for use in the training of NHS and private sector podiatrists, using social science theories of identity, gendered, ethnic and class differences and qualitative research methodologies. See:

I am now working with Dr Lisa Farndon, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Dr Emily Nicholls, University of Portsmouth on a bid for NIHR funding to expand and develop the toolkit, focusing on specific groups of patients and their everyday footwear practices, in which aspects of femininity, gender and aging will be central.

In 2016, a senior Visiting Fellow to the Centre for Women’s Studies from the University of Turin, Dr Raffaella Ferrero Camoletto collaborated with myself, Dr Sharron Hinchliff, University of Sheffield and Chiara Bertone, University of Eastern Piedmont  on a research funding bid on the medicalisation of masculinity and sexuality in a cross cultural context. This will be submitted to the Wellcome Trust in 2016.


Selected publications


Robinson, V. and Richardson, D. (eds) (2015) Introducing Gender and Women’s Studies (4th edition). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 347

Robinson, V. (2013) Rock Climbing. (International Series on Extreme Sports, D. Booth, University of Otago, New Zealand and H. Thorpe, University of Waikato, New Zealand, series editors)Connecticut: Greenwood Press, pp.165.

Robinson, V. and Hockey, J. (2011) Masculinities in Transition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 221

Robinson, V. (2008) Everyday Masculinities and Extreme Sport: Male Identity and Rock Climbing. Oxford: Berg, pp. 183

Hockey, J., Meah, A. and Robinson, V. (2007) Mundane Heterosexualities: From Theory to Practices. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp.206


Journal special issues

Robinson, V. and Meah, A. (eds) (2009), special issue of Journal of Gender Studies, ‘Men and Masculinities’, pp. 321-438

Robinson, V. (ed.) (2007) special edition of Sheffield Online Papers in Social Research, ‘Masculinities and the Extreme Sport of Rock Climbing’, Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield, August, No. 10


Journal articles

Robinson, V. (2015, ‘Reconceptualising the mundane and the extraordinary: A lens through which to explore transformation within women’s everyday footwear practices’, Sociology, vol. 49, no.5, pp. 903-918.

Dilley, R., Hockey, J., Robinson, V. and Sherlock, A. (2015) ‘‘There’s not just trainers or non-trainers, there’s like degrees of trainers’: Commoditisation, singularisation and identity’, Journal of Material Culture, vol. 20, no. 1, pp.21-42

Dilley, R., Hockey, J., Robinson, V. and Sherlock, A. (2015) ‘Occasions and non-occasions: Identity, femininity and high-heeled shoes’, European Journal of Women's Studies, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 143-58

Robinson, V. (2014) 'Risky footwear practices: Masculinity, identity and crisis', NORMA: International Journal of Masculinity Studies, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 1-15, doi:10.1080/18902138.2014.950501 Print version forthcoming.

Hockey, J., Dilley, R., Robinson, V. and Sherlock, A. (2014) ‘The temporal landscape of shoes: a life course perspective’,The Sociological Review, vol. 62, no. 2, pp. 255–275

Camoletto, R., Espinosa, A., Robinson,V. and Ruspini, E. (2013) ‘Perspectives on Gender Studies in Europe’, Rivista internazionale di studi di genere, vol. 2, no.4, pp. 231-252-J (Re-printed in special issue ‘Global Future Perspectives in Gender Studies in Europe’, in 2015.)

Dilley, R., Hockey, J., Robinson, V. and Sherlock, A. (2013) ‘Worn Shoes: Identity, Memory and Footwear’, Sociological Research Online, vol. 18, no.1, (On British Sociological Association short list for best journal article published in 2013.)

Robinson, V., Hall, A. and Hockey, J. (2011) ‘Masculinities, Sexualities and the Limits of Subversion: Being a Man in Hairdressing’, Journal of Men and Masculinities, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 31-50

Meah, A., Hockey, J. and Robinson, V. (2011) ‘’’I’m a sex kitten, aren't I...": RelocatingAgency and Pleasure in Older Women's Narratives About Sex’, Journal of Australian Feminist Studies, vol. 26, no. 67, pp. 57-71

Robinson, V. (2010) ‘Researching everyday sporting masculinities: Thoughts from a (critical) distance’, Journal of Gender Studies, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 309-313

Hockey, J., Meah, A. and Robinson, V. (2009) ‘Fast Girls, Foreigners and GIs: An Exploration of the Discursive Strategies Through Which the Status of Pre-Marital (Hetero)sexual Ignorance and Restraint Was Upheld During the Second World War’, Sociological Research Online  vol. 14, no. 5, (

Robinson, V. and Meah, A. (2009) ‘Men and Masculinities’, Journal of Gender Studies, vol. 18, no.4, pp. 321-324

Hockey, J., Robinson, V. and Hall, A. (2009) ‘The Life Course Anticipated: Gender and Chronologisation Among Young People’, Journal of Youth Studies, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 227-241

Meah, A., Hockey, J. and Robinson, V. (2008) ‘What’s Sex Got to do With It? A Family Based Investigation of Growing up Heterosexual During the Twentieth Century’, The Sociological Review, vol. 56, no. 3, pp. 454-473

Hall, A., Hockey, J. and Robinson, V. (2008) ‘Occupational Cultures and the Embodiment of Masculinity: Hairdressing, Estate Agency and Fire-fighting’, Gender, Work and Organization, vol. 14, no. 6, pp. 534-551

Robinson, V., Meah, A. and Hockey, J. (2007) ‘Representing “Sex” in the Research Process’, International Journal of Social Research Methods, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 181-194

Hockey, J., Meah, A. and Robinson, V. (2004) ‘A Heterosexual Life’, Journal of Gender Studies, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 227-238 (Reprinted in 2011.)

Robinson, V., Hockey, J. and Meah, A. (2004)‘“What I did… on my mother’s settee”: Spatialising Heterosexuality’, Gender, Place and Culture, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 417-435

Robinson, V. (2003) ‘Radical Re-visionings?: The Theorising of Masculinities and (Radical) Feminist Theory’, Women’s Studies International Forum, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 129-137

Robinson, V. (2003) ‘Marriage and Intimacy: Problematic Proposals', Journal of Feminism and Psychology, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 437-441

Hockey, J., Robinson, V. and Meah, A. (2002) '"For Better or Worse?”: Heterosexuality Reinvented', Sociological Research Online, vol. 7, no. 2

Robinson, V. ‘Masculinities at Work’ (1998) (review article) Work, Employment and Society, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 379-81

Robinson, V. (1997) ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me: Feminism, Heterosexuality and Non-Monogamy’, Journal of Gender Studies, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 143-157 (Reprinted in 2011.)

Richardson, D. and Robinson, V. (1994) ‘Theorizing Women’s Studies, Gender Studies and Masculinity: The Politics of Naming’, European Journal of Women’s Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 11-27

Robinson, V. and Richardson, D. (1994) ‘Publishing Feminism: Redefining the Women’s Studies Discourse’, Journal of Gender Studies, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 87-94

Robinson, V. (1993) ‘Heterosexuality: Beginnings and Connections’, Journal of Feminism and Psychology, vol. 3, pp. 80-82


Book chapters

Robinson, V. (2015) ‘Masculinity Studies, Feminism and Gender Relations’ in V. Robinson and D. Richardson (eds.) Introducing Gender and Women’s Studies, 4th edition, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 58-75

Robinson, V. (2013) ‘Ongoing Methodological Problematics: Masculinities and Male Rock Climbers’, in B. Pini and B. Peace (eds) Men, Masculinities and Methodologies, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 129-141

Robinson, V. (2013) ‘Extreme Leisure: The Case of Extreme Sporting Activities’, in T. Blackshaw (ed.) Routledge International Handbook of Leisure Studies, London: Routledge, pp. 506-20

Hockey, J., Robinson, V. and Hall, A. (2009) ‘Chronologising Adulthood/Configuring Masculinity’, in J. Burnett (ed.) The Problem of Contemporary Adulthood: Calendars, Cartographies, and Constructions, Milton Keynes: The Open University Press, pp.88-103

Robinson, V. (2009) ‘Extreme sports: Gendered risk and adventure’, in J. Hearn and V. Burr (eds),The Sexuality of Wounding: The Erotics of Breaking Skin and Injuring Bodies, London: Sage, pp. 88-102

Robinson, V. (2008) ‘Masculinity Theory and Feminism: Future Directions’, in D. Richardson and V. Robinson (eds), Introducing Gender and Women’s Studies: Feminist Theory and Practice, 3rd edition, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, and New York: New York University Press, pp. 55-70

Robinson, V., Hockey, J. and Hall, A. (2007) ‘Mobile Masculinities: Home/Work Transitions Among Male Hairdressers’, in M. Macey, C. Beckett and O. Heathcote (eds) Negotiating Boundaries?: Identities, Sexualities, Diversities, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press, pp.71-84

Robinson, V. (2006) ‘Internal and External Shifts and Constraints on Women’s Studies and Gender Studies: Implications for the “Canon’”’, in M. Bidwell-Steiner and K.S Wozonig (eds) A Canon of Our Own? Kanonkritik und Kanonbildung in den Gender Studies, Vienna: Studienverlag, pp. 217-27

Robinson, V. (2004) ‘Taking Risks: Masculinities and Rock Climbing’, in B. Wheaton (ed.) Understanding Life Style Sports: Consumption, Identity and Difference, London: Routledge, pp. 113-30

Meah, A., Hockey, J. and Robinson, V. (2004) ‘Narrating Heterosexual Identities: Recollections, Omissions and Contradictions’, in D. Robinson, C. Horrocks, N. Kelly and B. Roberts (eds.) Narrative, Memory and Identity: Theoretical & Methodological Issues, Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield Press, pp. 85-94

Robinson, V. (2004) ‘“A Place at the Table?” The Representation of Feminist Thought in Contemporary Masculinity Theory’, in L. Stoneham (ed.) Advances in Sociology Research, New York: Nova Science Publishers, pp. 119-33.Reprinted in: M. Thorne (ed.) (2005) Women in Society: Achievements, Risks and Challenges, New York: Nova Science Publishers, pp. 1-15

Robinson, V. (1997) ‘Introducing Women’s Studies: Part Two’, in V. Robinson and D. Richardson (eds) Introducing Women’s Studies:  Feminist Theory and Practice, 2nd edition, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan and New York: New York University Press, pp. 1-26. (Reprinted in: J. Raiskin (ed.) (1998) Placing Women’s Studies, Highstown, NJ: Primis Custom Publishing: McGraw Hill)

Robinson, V. and Richardson, D. (1996) ‘Repackaging Women and Feminism: Taking the Heat Off Patriarchy’, in D. Bell and R. Klein (eds) Radically Speaking: Feminism Reclaimed  Melbourne: Spinifex Press and London: Zed, pp. 179-87

Robinson, V. (1996) ‘Heterosexuality and Masculinity: theorising male power or the male wounded psyche?, in D. Richardson (ed.) Theorizing Heterosexuality: Telling It Straight, Buckingham: Open University Press, pp. 109-24

Robinson, V. (1993) ‘Introducing Women’s Studies’, in D. Richardson and V. Robinson (eds)Introducing Women’s Studies: Feminist Theory and Practice, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan and New York: The Guildford Press, pp. 1-26

Robinson, V. and Richardson, D. (1993) ‘Shifting the Focus?: Women’s Studies, Gender Studies and Masculinity’, in K. Lazarus (ed.) Gender Studies Towards The Year 2000, Athens: KEGME/Unesco, pp. 1-9 –J Reprinted  in: J. L. Sussman (ed.) (1994) Gender Studies Towards the Year 2000, New York: Brandon House, pp. 62-76


Other selected publications in print

Robinson, V. (2007) ‘Heterosexuality’, in K. Pringle, et al. (eds) The Routledge International Encyclopaedia of Men and Masculinities. London: Routledge.

Robinson, V. (2002) ‘Men, Masculinities and Rock Climbing’, Pavis Papers in Social and Cultural Research, Milton Keynes: The Open University, pp. 1-22.

Robinson, V. (2002) ‘Men’s Studies’, in C. Kramarae and D. Spender (eds) The Routledge International Encyclopaedia of Women’s Studies. London: Routledge.

Contact details

Professor Victoria Robinson
Professor of Sociology/Director of the Centre for Women's Studies
Centre for Women's Studies
University of York