I grew up in Hull in the 1970s. I became a sociologist largely because I wanted to understand the social changes I saw taking place around me and in particular the decline of key industries, the emergence of mass unemployment, and community breakdown. These social effects impacted upon my own family and the families of everybody I knew and have deeply influenced the way I understand society and think about sociology.
Research and scholarship
My research specialisms are social theory, critical theory, and psychoanalysis. I am a sociologist of utopias, dystopias, idealised social systems, and the sociological imagination. I recently published a research monograph on the sociological history of the concepts of utopia and dystopia, entitled Tocqueville’s Virus (Routledge), and am currently working on another study on the relationship between utopia and globalisation called Planet Utopia. This book will also be published on Routledge. Apart from my monograph work, I regularly publish articles in journals such as Journal of Cultural Research, Cultural Politics, Journal of Classical Sociology, theory, and Fast Capitalism. Beyond my own research I am Reviews Editor of the Sociological Review and Cultural Politics. I am also associate member of the Bauman Institute at Leeds University, UK.
I teach across the sociology programme and offer elective modules on race and class, globalisation, and utopias and dystopias. I also teach on the Media, Culture, Communication programme at Keele, where I run the core module on cultural analysis. I am also Programme Leader of the Masters programme in Urban Futures and Sustainable Communities.
Apart from teaching on the Sociology programme, I also contribute to the Media and Cultural Studies degree at Keele. My main contribution to this course is a module called Analysing Culture which considers the history of the idea of culture in social thought. Beyond my teaching at Keele, I am also Visiting Associate Professor at Ferris University, Yokohama, where I offer courses in British Sociology, Social and Political Thought, and Globalisation to both undergraduate and graduate students.
- SOC 20049 Contemporary Social Theory
- SOC 30034 Sex, Death, Desire: Psychoanalysis in Social Context - Module Leader
- MDS 20019 Analysing Culture
I am happy to supervise PhD students in the areas of:
- Social Theory
- Critical Theory
- Psycho-Social Studies
- Utopias and Dystopias
- The history of Sociology