A vibrant new centre will build on Lancaster University Sociology Department’s track record of studying and teaching about social inequalities.
The new Social Inequalities Research Centre will be launched in September.
It will enhance the department’s expertise in understanding social inequalities, enabling it to forge stronger links with existing Lancaster research clusters, including Health Inequalities research, the Health Innovation Campus, the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies, the innovative design solutions driven by Imagination Lancaster, the Data Science Institute, Security Lancaster (Violence and Society Stream) and more.
Ten new academic appointments and three postdoctoral fellows will be in post shortly.
“This investment in social inequalities enables us to build on and develop existing areas of strength in teaching and research across the department and wider University," said Head of Department Dr Chris Grover.
“We are looking towards new research projects, adding new dimensions to teaching programmes and we are particularly keen to advance new opportunities through public engagement locally, nationally and globally.”
The centre, to be led by Professor Bev Skeggs, will focus on the social and cultural dimensions of inequalities.
It will also examine larger structures that shape this experience: how inequalities are represented and reproduced, how moral decisions shape economic organisation, how inequalities can be contested, and links between inequality and challenges such as climate change.
Said Professor Skeggs: “Lancaster has the capacity and agility in its thinking and structure to make it best placed to pursue a holistic understanding of inequalities.
"By making a major investment in the key issue of our times the University has demonstrated its commitment to developing solutions that enable people to flourish rather than be diminished.
"As the super-rich become wealthier and policies of austerity and structural adjustment bite hard, as platform capitalism monetises so many areas of our life, we need to come up with new solutions to challenge inequality. We intend to draw on all the incredible energy in the University to point to a better future for all.”
Professor Skeggs joins Lancaster from LSE and Goldsmiths. She is one of the foremost sociologists in the world, and will bring to Lancaster a wealth of experience addressing the multi-dimensional nature of inequality.
She has always studied inequalities in various formations, both through global structures and intimate experiences. Her current research focuses on the financialization of everyday life; care; and the significance of the digital in shaping new inequalities. She will be joined by a leading field of experts in the study of inequalities.
Dr Ala Sirriyeh joins from Liverpool University. Ala studies migration, refugees, activism, and young people. Her research centres on questions of citizenship, inequality and social justice.
Dr Francesca Coin is leaving Venice to join Lancaster. Francesca studies money as a lens to understand how racial and gender inequalities underpin economic violence in the global economy.
Dr Stefanie Doebler joins from Liverpool University, and will be working as part of Professor Karen Broadhurst’s Nuffield-funded Centre for Child and Family Justice Research, as well as developing quantitative methods research and teaching in the Department and wider University.
Professor Helen Wood joins from Leicester University, where she recently completed a 3-year term as Head of the School of Media, Communication and Sociology. Helen’s research focus is on social injustice in the media and cultural industries; representations of inequality; feminist futures and a politics of care post #MeToo.
Dr Emma Fraser was recently awarded a PhD in Sociology from the University of Manchester. Emma joins Lancaster to develop her research and teaching on video games, gender inequalities in relation to technology, and sites of urban shrinkage and decay.
Dr Eva Cheuk-Yin Li was recently awarded a PhD in Gender, Media, and Culture from King’s College, London and will pursue research and teaching in areas of Asian popular culture and queer politics, digital fandom and audience reception in global and transnational contexts.
Dr Lisa Morriss is a qualified social worker who joins from Birmingham University, where she previously worked as a researcher. Her research interests include: mental health, motherhood, stigma and child protection.
Dr Jadwiga Leigh is a qualified social worker, joining us from the University of Sheffield. Her research interests centre on: the impact of blame on social work practice; how professional social workers construct their identity; and models of child protection.
Dr Michael Lambert is a social historian and social policy scholar, joining us from the University of Liverpool as a three year postdoctoral fellow to support the setting up of the inequalities research centre and pursue his research on the social history of inequalities.
Dr Gwyneth Lonergan, joins from Sheffield University to take up a position as a three-year Wellcome Trust funded postdoctoral research fellowship working on migrant women’s experiences of maternity care in England. Gwyneth will be mentored by Professor Imogen Tyler, and will be leading on the future development of the cross-Faculty migrancy research group.
Dr Laura Clancy, a recent graduate of Lancaster Sociology, has been awarded a prestigious ESRC North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership postdoctoral fellowship to further develop her research on aristocracy and elites (mentored by Professor Helen Wood), which will sit in the new centre.
Other new appointments include Professor Ted Schatzki, a former Senior Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Kentucky. Ted will join us for a term per year working with Professor Elizabeth Shove and colleagues in developing 'practice-theory' approaches to social research.
The Department has also been successful in securing 6 ESRC and one University funded PhD scholarships this year, many of whom will be linked to the new centre.
From September, Professor Imogen Tyler will become the new Head of Department. Imogen has always worked on agenda setting issues on inequalities and will lead this vibrant new research and teaching culture, committed to interrogating and challenging the inequalities that shape lives.