Identities, diversities and the life course

The research of the members of this group can be understood as broadly focusing on contemporary social life and personal lives. Interest in the cultural, economic, spatial and social diversities of these connects the research of the sociologists in this group.

Research interests

In particular group members have expertise in one or more of the following fields:

  • Childhood
  • Community and belonging
  • Environmental practices
  • Ethnicities, race and migrations
  • Gender
  • Generation and transition
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Later life and ageing
  • Sexual identities
  • Sociology of sleep
  • Student identities
  • Youth sub-cultures.

Research projects

Past projects

Dates

Start date: 1 October 2015
End date: 30 September 2017

Summary

Phillip Leverhulme Prizes recognise the achievement of early career researchers across a range of academic disciplines. The prize scheme makes up to thirty awards of £100,000 a year, a small number of which went this year to Sociology. Victoria Redclift was one of the 2014 winners on the basis of her research into the shaping of political identities in South Asia and the UK, which brings together sociology and history to understand the spatial and temporal politics of citizenship. With support from the prize she will begin a new project which develops the concept of ‘transnational political space’, examining the extent to which political identities which cross borders inform political identities within borders and drawing on a comparative analysis of Bangladesh-origin Muslims in London and Los Angeles. The research will consider how different histories of settlement, different population profiles and different local conditions/constraints affect the political identities possible in each new setting. The international comparative analysis helps capture the dynamic interactions of history and space in the shaping of political subjectivity. The project will begin in October 2015 for a period of two years.

Funding

Leverhulme Trust

Investigator

Victoria Redclift

Dates

Start date: 1 August 2007
End date: 31 July 2008

Summary

This project examined the motivations and experiences of UK students and graduates who had pursued, or intended to pursue, education overseas for the whole of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree. The sample comprised 40 sixth-formers and undergraduates who were seriously considering studying abroad, and 45 graduates who had completed an undergraduate or postgraduate degree abroad. The research was informed by a number of current debates around the internationalisation of education, an emergent ‘choice’ agenda, and the consequences of credential inflation, resulting in a growing need to secure ‘positional advantage’ within graduate labour markets in the UK and elsewhere.

Funding

British Academy

Investigator

Rachel Brooks

Minding the Knowledge Gap

Dates

Start date: 1 February 2013
End date: 31 January 2015

Summary

This series involves six themed seminars followed by a final conference, aimed at exploring gaps in knowledge and research about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Ageing. The series will identify ways to address those gaps. Seminars are planned on the following topics: Older Bisexual Lives; Intergenerational Issues; Trans Ageing; Race, Ethnicity and Religion; Retirement, Resources and Social Networks; Health and Social Care. Each seminar involves a combination of invited speakers and facilitated work groups. The series will bring together academics, policy-makers, service providers, third-sector organisations, LGBT activists and advocacy groups and older LGBT people themselves.

Funding

ESRC

Investigator

Dr A King

Dates

Start date: 1 November 2010
End date: 31 October 2011

Summary

The aim of this knowledge transfer follow-on project is to enable the findings of earlier research (2008) conducted by the applicants for Tower Hamlets Borough Council to further influence policy initiatives and practices that will improve the services used by older (fifty years of age and over) lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) residents within the borough and beyond. It will disseminate the recommendations of the report and lessons learned from the initial study will be shared with a wider audience of academics and practitioners to encourage further research, policy initiatives and knowledge transfer.

Funding

ESRC Knowledge Transfer Fund/Tower Hamlets Borough Council

Investigators

  • Dr Andrew King
  • Dr Ann Cronin

Dates

Start date: 1 November 2010
End date: 31 October 2011

Summary

During its time in office, the UK’s Labour government gave a strong message that having caring responsibilities for a young child should not be seen as a barrier to engaging in education and training. Nevertheless, despite this policy focus, there have been relatively few studies of the experiences of ‘student parents’ within higher education. This project explored the ways in which such students make a decision to embark upon a degree, their experiences during their time at university and the ways in which they are affected by institutional policies and practices. Moreover, by comparing the experiences of student parents in two European countries with considerably different higher education systems and ‘welfare regimes’ (the UK and Denmark), it highlighted the influence of the wider social and political environment.

Funding

Nuffield Foundation

Investigator

Rachel Brooks

Dates

Start date: 25 September 2012
End date: 31 December 2013

Summary

The role of students’ unions has undergone significant change over recent years. In large part, this is due to wider changes in the higher education sector which have tended to emphasise the role of prospective students as active choosers within a marketplace and encourage higher education institutions (HEIs) to place more emphasis on student engagement and representation as a means of improving the quality of the learning experience. Students’ unions have come to assume an increasingly important place within this new landscape. Nevertheless, to date there has been little research on the role of student leadership within UK HEIs. The proposed research is intended to address this gap. It will address the following themes: (i) the nature of the student leadership role (focussing on the perceptions of both students and staff); (ii) the extent to which changes in the relationship between students’ leaders and senior managers within HEIs represent a genuine partnership; (iii) the impact of students’ unions on policy and practice within HEIs; and (iv) the social characteristics of students who assume leadership roles.

Funding

The Leadership Foundation For Higher Education

Investigator

Prof R Brooks