Inequalities and diversities

We investigate the role of structural inequalities, discrimination and exclusion in contemporary societies. Work covers a range of aspects of division and diversity, including communities and exclusion, gender, sex and sexualities and race and migration.

Several members of the group are involved in the interdisciplinary Sex, Gender and Sexualities research centre

Research Areas

Enhancement of community amidst inequalities forms a key part of Kate Burningham, Sue Venn and Anastasia Loukianov’s work on ‘Situated understandings of the good life’, which explores how understandings of what makes for a good life in specific localities in the UK are informed by locally relevant dimensions of inequality and difference. The CYCLES project involves research in Lambeth on how age, gender, class and race inform young people’s experiences and aspirations for living well.

Community and inequality form a key facet of Kirsty Lohman’s work on prefigurative community building, particularly in relation to arts/culture and queer community activism. They also figure strongly in Venetia Evergeti’s research on under-examined border minority communities in relation to Muslim minorities in Greece, identities of Muslims in Britain and the role of British Muslim ‘elites’ in the UK.

Questions of identity and exclusion are key to Jon Garland’s extensive research into hate crime, particularly the nature, frequency and impact of victimisation and how criminal justice agencies deal with incidents. He has also examined the targeted victimisation of alternative subcultures.  

Maria Adams, Vicki Harman and Jon Garland are currently involved in two projects relating to the significance of food for identity and community in women’s prisons: ‘Doing Porridge: Understanding Women's Experiences of Food in Prison’ (ESRC) and Food, families and visiting rooms in a women's prison (British Academy).

Andrew King’s work on LGBTQ+ social housing includes the ‘HomeSAFE’ study and the development of the HouseProud Pledge Scheme, co-produced with HouseProud, Stonewall Housing, Tonic Housing, the Greater London Authority, social housing providers and LGBTQ+ social housing residents. A knowledge exchange project tracked progress on the scheme and raised awareness.

Debates about community, identity and exclusion are central to Peter Hemming’s work on religion and spirituality, which has included studies on religious diversity and citizenship in educational settings, the role of faith schools in urban and rural communities, and the nature and social significance of the contemporary mindfulness ‘movement’ in the UK.

Questions of inequality, exclusion and community also connect to Katherine Hubbard's research on feminist identity and community within Psychology and David Griffiths' work with intersex communities on the effects of medicalisation and pathologisation.

Migration, race and ethnicity are central to Venetia Evergeti’s ethnographic studies of migrant communities in the UK and Greece. Her AHRC funded project on Islam in Greece was the first study of its kind to compare indigenous and migrant Muslim communities, exploring the important intersections of ethnicity, religion and citizenship. Evergeti’s work also explores migrant families, looking at transformations in family life in a transnational context and intergenerational care, including transnational grandparenting.

Jon Garland has investigated the activities, impact and membership of far-right groups such as the English Defence League, as well as racism in rural and isolated areas of England, policing, and racism, anti-racism and disorder in football.

As part of her work, Kirsty Lohman researches decolonial subcultural practices, and interrogates whiteness in subcultural and sexual communities.

Maria Adams and Daniel McCarthy’s work on the relationships between family life and prison includes an emphasis on the role race can play in the case of the families of incarcerated young people and reflections by Adams on the experiences of researching prisons as a BME female researcher.

The intersections of migration, motherhood and mental health form a key component of Ranjana Das' work on South Asian mothers, health communication and perinatal wellbeing.

Nathalie Weidhase's work on politics and celebrity culture explores the ways in which race shapes gendered discourses of Brexit.

Research on gender, sex and sexuality forms a growing strength of the Department and colleagues are centrally involved in the interdisciplinary Sex, Gender and Sexualities research centre.

Work on the past present and future of sex and sexuality forms a key strand.

Futuresex is a multidisciplinary academic/activist initiative focused on the histories and futures of sex, gender and sexuality, run by David Griffiths, Katherine Hubbard and Kirsty Lohman, alongside other staff from across the University.

David Griffiths’ research on intersex in the UK combines queer theory with feminist science studies, and cultural histories of science and medicine. Collaborative work between Griffiths and Katherine Hubbard focuses on the medical and legal histories of sex, gender and sexuality. Katherine Hubbard also has carried out broader work on queer feminist histories in Britain, relating to activism, queer women’s communities, and Psychology. Kirsty Lohman works on contemporary and recent histories of queer and/or trans cultural participation and social activism – and she conducts critical feminist research on the production and valuing of knowledge and of culture.

The relationship between life transitions and sexualities is a further area of expertise.

This includes Andrew King’s collaborative CILIA-LGBTQI+ project, which provides a cross-cultural investigation of the impact of inequalities experienced by LGBTQI+ people during youth, mid-life and transitions into retirement.

It also involves several projects by Emily Setty, including on the impacts of lockdown on young people’s uses of digital media in relationships; experiences of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) among young people involved in online sexual behaviours; and applied policy projects to co-design resources to support healthy and safe youth culture in schools, and to evaluate innovative new resources for RSE on sex and consent.

Robyn Muir’s research on the images of femininity within the Disney Princess Phenomenon widens our understanding of the Disney Princesses in girl culture, focusing on film, merchandising and consumer experiences as ways for audiences to make meaning.

Gender forms a central part of the work of a variety of colleagues, many of whom are connected to the Families and Lifecourse research group. Examples include Venetia Evergeti’s work on the gendered organisation and negotiation of care responsibilities and family relations across borders and Maria Adams’ research on family relationships during the imprisonment of a family member and mothering in the context of having a son in prison. See the  Families and Lifecourse research group for more detail.

Nathalie Weidhase's research is situated within the field of feminist media studies, with an intersectional focus on embodiments and formations of feminism and postfeminism in popular culture and media.