Mary Daly is Professor of Sociology and Social Policy and within the department is the course director for the Master’s programmes in Comparative Social Policy. She is a Fellow of Green Templeton College and a former College Academic Tutor.
Mary Daly’s research interests and expertise are international in scope, focused on the analysis of social policy with a particular interest in family, gender, care/social care and poverty. Most of her work is comparative, in a European and international context, and interdisciplinary. Mary Daly’s research has been supported by a wide range of funders, including the Economic and Social Research Council, the EU, Council of Europe, the ILO, UN, UN Women and UNICEF.
In July 2017 Professor Daly was elected as fellow to the British Academy. She was previously elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences (2016) and to Membership of the Royal Irish Academy (2010). She was the Deputy Chair of the Sociology Sub-panel in both the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) and 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). She is also a member of the Social Policy, Social Work and Criminology sub-panel for REF2021. She is an editor of the journal Social Politics and an advisory board member of a number of other journals including Social Policy & Administration and European Societies. She has served on numerous national and international funding and peer review panels, including for the ESRC, the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy, the Academy of Finland, the Norwegian Research Council, the Qatari Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and Ministry of Science and Technology, Portugal.
Mary Daly researches the following social policy areas:
- family policy, including parenting, policies for children and the governance of family life
- care systems, quality and provision
- poverty and welfare
- comparative social policy development
- EU social policy.
Mary is taking forward her work in these and other areas in three main ways. First, she is researching the persistence of gender inequality, comparing developments in a range of fields but especially highlighting the role of social policy in terms of its aims and the way it politicises issues. The questions that she is exploring here include why gender inequality has fallen down the policy hierarchy and why countries vary in how they prioritise it?
Secondly, she is extending her research on family and public policy, being especially interested in the increasing tendency for social policy to go ‘inside’ the family to influence the practice and texture of family life In this work she is analysing parenting policies, child-related policies, work-life balance, care provision for older people. She applies a comparative lens to these subjects, opening up the question of what it is about the family that matters most to policy today and how does the complex relationship between family and policy change over time. A related interest is in how families respond to policies and create their own systems of meaning and practice within the context of the prevailing policy and public opinion worlds.
A third strand to her work is EU social policy, especially from the perspective of the underlying social policy models and approaches and the significance of the changing political constitution of Europe for European social policy. This includes work on the social policy significance of Brexit for example. But beyond this, she continues to research the development of social policy under Europe 2020, carrying out theoretical and empirical work on the guiding concepts of social policy reform in the EU and the implications for individuals, families, states and societies.
Mary Daly is the founder of the Care Initiative at Green Templeton College which brings together people from different disciplinary and professional backgrounds to engage in informed debate and research around the complex issues involved in caring for and with older people. www.gtc.ox.ac.uk/academic/research-centres/care-initiative.html.
Mary Daly’s latest book, published in February 2015 by Policy Press and co-authored with Grace Kelly, is entitled: Families and Poverty: Everyday Life on a Low Income. Her previous books include: Welfare (Polity Press, 2011); Gender and the Welfare State (Polity Press 2003); The Gender Division of Welfare (Cambridge University Press 2000). She has many published articles in top journals such as Journal of European Social Policy, Journal of Social Policy, Sociology, Theory and Society, British Journal of Sociology, Social Policy and Society, European Societies, Policy and Politics, Journal of Common Market Studies, Social Politics. Social Policy & Administration. She has also published in numerous edited volumes, and completed policy reports for a wide range of governmental and non-governmental organisations.