Accessibility statement

Barry Sandywell
Honorary Fellow



  • BA, BPhil (York)
  • PhD (London)

Barry has taught in the Department of Sociology, Kingston Polytechnic and in the Department of Sociology, University of York, York, UK.



  • Sociological theory
  • Sociology of philosophy
  • (Post)modern social thought
  • Contemporary European philosophy and social theory
  • Reflexive social science

Barry's main research interests lie in the field of social theory, focusing particularly on the history and institutions of reflexive thinking and the relationships between reflection, philosophy and social thought. This research led to the publications of a three-volume work on the history of self-reflection, Logological Investigations.

Other areas of interest include postmodern social thought, European sociology, the sociology of classical culture, critical theory, the postmodernization of society, and debates concerning the digitization of society and culture.

Recent projects include book-length studies of the history of visual language in Western culture, everyday life and theoretical traditions (with the working title, Terms of Vision), co-editing a forthcoming anthology of original writings with the title Handbook of Visual Studies, and the exploration of transdisciplinary problematics interrelating the human sciences, ethics, and politics.

His teaching in the department reflects these interests and has included courses on Phenomenology and Reflexivity, Hermeneutics, Critical Theory (Marx and Marxism), Modern European Social Thought (phenomenology, hermeneutics, semiotics, poststructuralism, etc.), and topics relating to Postmodernism and Postmodernity.


Dr. Sandywell has supervised PhD students in the following areas:

  • Autobiography and autobiographical thought
  • Art and Social Thought
  • Critical Theory
  • The Digitisation of Contemporary Society and Culture
  • Philosophy of the Social Sciences
  • Postmodernity and Postmodern Culture
  • Reflexive Social Thought
  • European Social Theory


Selected publications

  • Barry Sandywell and Ian Heywood (Eds.) The Handbook of Visual Culture (Bloomsbury Design Library collection, 2018) Bloomsbury Design Library trailer
  • Barry Sandywell, Dictionary of Visual Discourse: A Dialectical Lexicon of Terms (Routledge, 2017).
  • Barry Sandywell, 'Dialectic, Indebtedness, Ambivalence, and the Pursuit of Analytic Speech: revisiting On the Beginning of Social Inquiry’, in S. Raffel and B. Sandywell, eds., The Reflexive Initiative: On the Grounds and Prospects of Analytic Theorizing (London: Routledge, 2016), pp. 19-93
  • Stanley Raffel and Barry Sandywell, eds., The Reflexive Initiative: On the Grounds and Prospects of Analytic Theorizing (London: Routledge, 2016)
  • Barry Sandywell (and Ian Heywood), eds., The Handbook of Visual Culture (Berg,2012)
  • Barry Sandywell, Dictionary of Visual Discourse. A Dialectical Lexicon of Terms (Ashgate, 2011)
  • On the globalisation of crime: the Internet and new criminality', in Yvonne Jewkes and Majid Yar, eds., Handbook of Internet Crime (Cullompton, Devon: Willan Publishing, 2010), pp. 38-66.
  • B. Sandywell, Logological Investigations, Volume 1, Reflexivity and the Crisis of Western Reason (London: Routledge, 1996)
  • B. Sandywell, Logological Investigations, Volume 2, The Beginnings of European Theorizing: Reflexivity in the Archaic Age (London: Routledge, 1996)
  • B. Sandywell, Logological Investigations, Volume 3, Presocratic Reflexivity: The Construction of Philosophical Discourse c. 600-450 BC (London: Routledge, 1996)
  • B. Sandywell, `The Shock of the Old: Mikhail Bakhtin’s Contributions to the Theory of Temporality and Alterity’, in Michael Mayerfeld Bell and Michael Gardiner, eds., Bakhtin and the Human Sciences (London: Sage, 1998), 196-213
  • B. Sandywell and Ian Heywood, eds., Interpreting Visual Culture: Explorations in the Hermeneutics of the Visual (London and New York: Routledge, 1999)
  • B. Sandywell, `Specular Grammar: the Visual Rhetoric of Modernity’, in Barry Sandywell and Ian Heywood, eds., Interpreting Visual Culture: Explorations in the Hermeneutics of the Visual (London and New York: Routledge, 1999), pp. 30-56
  • B. Sandywell, `Memories of Nature in Bakhtin and Benjamin’, in Craig Brandist and Galin Tihanov, eds., Materializing Bakhtin: The Bakhtin Circle and Social Theory (London and New York: Macmillan and St. Martin’s Press, 1999)
  • B. Sandywell, `The Agonistic Ethic and the Spirit of Inquiry: On the Greek Origins of Theorizing’, in M. Kusch, ed., The Sociology of Philosophical Knowledge ( Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2000), pp. 93-123
  • B. Sandywell (with M. Hand), `E-Topia as Cosmopolis or Citadel. On the Democratizing and De-democratizing Logics of the Internet, or, Towards a Critique of the New Technological Fetishism’, in Theory, Culture and Society, London: Sage, Vol. 19 (1-2), 2002: 197-225
  • B. Sandywell, `Metacritique of Information’, in Theory, Culture and Society, London: Sage, Volume 20 (1), 2003: 109-122
  • B. Sandywell, `The Myth of Everyday Life: Toward a Heterology of the Ordinary’, in Michael E. Gardiner and Gregory J. Seigworth, eds., Rethinking Everyday Life: And Then Nothing Turns Itself Inside Out, London: Routledge,18 (2/3), 2004, pp.
  • B. Sandywell, `Monsters in Cyberspace: Cyberphobia and Cultural Panic in the Information Age’, Information, Communication & Society, Volume 9, No.1, February 2006, pp. 39-61

External activities

Editorial duties

Bloomsbury Design Library collection

I have been involved in Bloomsbury Design Library  project.

'The Bloomsbury Design Library gives comprehensive global coverage of the history, theory and practice of crafts and design, from prehistoric times to the present day.' 

Watch the trailer video and find out more. 

As part of this project I co-edited a book called, The Handbook of Visual Culture which is now available in the Bloomsbury Design Library collection. 



Contact details

Dr Barry Sandywell
Honorary Fellow
Department of Sociology
University of York