Professor Michaela Benson

Professor in Public Sociology

Research Overview

Michaela Benson is a sociologist with expertise in migration, citizenship and identity. She is particularly known for her research on lifestyle migration, the middle classes, and Britain's relationship to its emigrants and overseas citizens (with a particular focus on Hong Kong) at moments of major political transformation including Brexit and decolonisation. An ethnographer, she has conducted fieldwork in France, Ireland, Panama and the UK.

Her research funded by the ESRC has included projects on self-build housing; Brexit and British citizens in the EU; and her current research Rebordering Britain and Britons after Brexit (MIGZEN). From 2020-21 she held a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship for her research into Britain and its overseas citizens.

She has published several academic monographs including The British in Rural France (Manchester University Press, 2011), and Lifestyle Migration and Colonial Traces in Malaysia and Panama (co-authored with Karen O’Reilly; Palgrave, 2018) and journal articles in leading sociology, geography and migration studies journals.

In recent years, she has developed a profile as a public social science communicator, with a portfolio that includes freelance writing for major outlets, public speaking, and podcasting.