My work focuses on how to understand and address division and uncertainty, alongside how governments and other bodies can support households and communities in dealing with these problems. In particular, this involves examining the role of belonging and integration socially, economically and politically, and how welfare state institutions can best support people and help people support one another.
Previously I was a Research Fellow on the FP7 funded project, RESCuE, which examined socio-economic household resilience in 9 European countries in the wake of the financial crisis, looking at how households could make ends meet, the practices they employed to do so, and the support they received (or didn't) from their governments. My PhD (Oxford Brookes) examined New Labour's approach to Community Cohesion and how it related to the party's welfare reform agenda.
I have expertise in a range of qualitative methods, particularly household and expert interviews, focus groups, and various forms of documentary analysis (e.g. content anlaysis and discourse analysis).
My research draws inspiration from political economy, political sociology, and critical/interpretive policy studies. My fundamental interest lies in the nature and dynamics of citizenship, particularly regarding social citizenship and integration and the institutions that sustain them in the context of deep uncertainty and overlapping political and economic crises. This includes research on the politics of social/community cohesion, the future of European welfare settlements in the post-crisis and (post-) Brexit landscape, and the use of resilience as a social policy strategy.
I am happy to talk to students interested in carrying out research in these areas.
Gritty Citizens? Exploring the Logic and Limits of Resilience in UK Social Policy During Times of Socio-Material Insecurity
Critical Social Policy
When rhetoric does not translate to reality: hardship, empowerment and the third sector in Austerity Localism
The Sociological Review
Back to the future of community cohesion? Learning from New Labour
Social Policy Review 30: Analysis and debate in social policy 2018
New Labour developed an ambitious programme to address what it saw as increasing social divisions in British society caused, primarily, by ethnic and cultural difference. Developed in 2001, community cohesion became embedded in many other social policy areas, especially regarding social inclusion, a commitment to empowering both individuals and communities, and developing a sense of British identity compatible with a rapidly globalising world. Though it was marginalised during the Coalition and Conservative governments, rising uncertainty and increasing division in the current period warrants a re-assessment of the utility of a discrete social cohesion policy framework. This chapter assesses New Labour’s approach to community cohesion, drawing out lessons from its use in the New Labour years and asks whether policymakers should return to a focus on social cohesion and what, if anything, should be done differently in a uncertain political and social landscape.
social cohesion, New Labour, Integration, Ethnicity, Inequality
Beyond Hegemony: Elaborating on the Use of Gramscian Concepts in Critical Discourse Analysis for Political Studies
party politics, policy impact, methodology, Gramsci, subaltern citizens
Resilience, Agency and Coping with Hardship: Evidence from Europe during the Great Recession