Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Dr Mark Davis

Associate Professor of Sociology

I am Founding Director of the Bauman Institute and also Director of Building Sustainable Societies, one of the University’s flagship Transformation Fund Projects.

I worked as an Expert Advisor to the Council of Europe (2008-2011) to develop the Charter of Shared Social Responsibilities, launched with Members of the European Parliament in Brussels in March 2011, and work as a consultant on conceptual and policy issues with think tanks in the UK, including New Economics Foundation and Compass.

On 18 November 2010, I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA).

Research Interests

My primary research focus is on the social and political consequences of consumerism and marketization in neoliberal societies. I am interested in the capture and translation of the social world into economic interests, specifically how individual freedom is reduced to market choice and how this can be reconciled with the challenge of creating fairer, more resilient, and more sustainable societies around the world.

I am currently working on a number of related research projects, examples of which include:

CRISES - Community Resilience: Investigating Social and Economic Sustainability (2013-2015)

Working with Dr Katy Wright, I am Principal Investigator for the CRISES project, which explores the concept of ‘community resilience’ at three levels: i) theoretically, ii) as an emerging policy framework and iii) as it is experienced ‘on the ground’, which we will explore through ethnographic fieldwork. In particular, this research has focused upon the role of corporate actors in the promotion and potential realisation of community resilience, in this case through observing the public engagement strategy of a renewable energy infrastructure in the Swansea Bay area of South Wales.

The Social Life of Money

This developing research project aims to provide unique sociological insights into innovative responses to the global financial crisis from within the business community, specifically ‘democratic finance’. If the crisis of the 1930s was resolved through an increased role for the State, and the crisis of the 1970s through an increased role for the market, does the recent crisis of 2007 require an increased role for democratically engaged communities ‘beyond State and Market’? And what are the opportunities and obstacles for ‘democratic finance’ to offer a genuine alternative to the current neoliberal model?


The teaching I offer at Leeds is research-led and blends theoretical enquiry with the practical analysis of everyday life. I am Programme Manager for the two postgraduate courses offered by the Bauman Institute: MA Social and Political Thought and MA International Social Transformation Below are the specific modules I offer at different levels:

Postgraduate Courses
MA Contemporary Social Thought
MA Liquid Sociology

Undergraduate Courses
Sociology of Consumerism (Level Three)
Sociological Thinking (Level One)

I also offer guest lectures across the curriculum in my areas of research interest.

PhD Supervision

I am currently involved in supervising the following research projects:

  • The Role of Romantic Nationalist Myth in Modern Genocide, Jasna Balorda (Passed, 2014)
  • Towards a Genealogy of Sustainable Consumption, David Wingate (2013-)
  • Genocide and Modernity in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, Jack Palmer (2013-)
  • The Role of the Art School in Liquid Modernity, Benjamin Hirst. (2013-)
  • Permanently Temping? Youth Labour Markets and Consumer Lifestyles in West Yorkshire, Laura Baldwin (2010-)
  • Is there a space for ‘love’ in intimate citizenship?, Natasha Barnes

I am keen to receive applications from promising research students in any of the following broad areas:

  • Sociology Consumerism and Marketization
  • Sociology of Finance/Money
  • Sociology of Neoliberalism
  • Sociology of Zygmunt Bauman

Key Publications


  • Davis, Mark (forthcoming) Consumer Culture and Society: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge.
  • Davis, Mark (ed.) (2013) Liquid Sociology: Metaphor in the Writings of Zygmunt Bauman’s Sociology. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
  • Davis, Mark & Tester, Keith (eds) (2010) Bauman’s Challenge: Sociological Issues for the Twenty-First Century. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Davis, Mark (2008) Freedom and Consumerism: A Critique of Zygmunt Bauman’s Sociology. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Ltd. Reviewed in the Times Higher.

Journal Articles

  • Davis, Mark (2013) ‘Hurried Life: Rethinking Time and Technology in the Consumer Society’, Thesis Eleven, 118, 1: 7-18.
  • Davis, Mark (2011) ‘Bauman’s Compass: Navigating the current interregnum’, Acta Sociologica, 54, 2: 183-194.
  • Davis, Mark (2010) ‘For Zygmunt: Three Notes', Theory, Culture & Society Online.

Chapters in Books

  • Davis, Mark (2008) ‘Bauman on Globalisation: The Human Consequences of a Liquid World’, in Michael Hviid Jacobsen & Poul Poder (eds) The Sociology of Zygmunt Bauman: Challenges and Critique. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, pp. 137-153.

Major Reports

  • Davis, Mark (2011) ‘Shared social responsibility as a key-concept in managing the current interregnum’, Towards a Europe of shared social responsibilities: challenges and strategies, Trends in Social Cohesion, No. 23. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing, pp. 81-101.
  • Davis, Mark (2011) ‘From Individualism to Interdependence: A Basis for Shared Social Responsibility’, Towards a Europe of shared social responsibilities: challenges and strategies, Trends in Social Cohesion, No. 23. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing, pp. 103-113.

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