Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Dr Mark Davis

Associate Professor of Sociology; Director of Building Sustainable Societies

I am the founder and Director of the Bauman Institute, an international research and teaching centre dedicated to analysing major social change around the world. Inspired by the sociological imagination of Leeds' Emeritus Professor, Zygmunt Bauman, our primary research interests are: consumerism, ethics, new technologies, and power within the age of 'liquid modernity'

On 18 November 2010, I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) in recognition of my role in establishing the Bauman Institute at the University of Leeds.

Research Interests

My primary research focus is on the social and political consequences of consumerism in a global age, specifically how individual freedom and choice 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 projects, examples of which include:

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

I am Principal Investigator for the CRISES project, which will explore 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, we will focus on the promotion within the community resilience agenda of new forms of democratic finance, in this case 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’. Typically through social media, this innovation seeks to harness the connectivity of individual networks in order to generate collective solutions to shared social and economic problems. At the same time, our everyday experience of money is being radically altered through the increasing adoption of social media and smartphones that de-materialise the experience of money in day-to-day exchange.

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 policy issues with think tanks in the UK, including New Economics Foundation, Compass, and more recently ResPublica. This work has involved examining the concept of resilience as a basis for models of the ‘Big Society’ and ‘Good Society’, as well as exploring the possibilities of web 2.0 social media and communications technologies as a basis for new forms of citizenship.


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 (module leader)
MA Liquid Sociology

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

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 (2009-)
  • Permanently Temping? Youth Labour Markets and Consumer Lifestyles in West Yorkshire, Laura Baldwin (2010-)
  • Is there a space for ‘love’ within discussions of intimate citizenship?, Natasha Barnes
  • The Role of the Art School in Liquid Modernity, Benjamin Hirst. (2013-)

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

  • Consumerism
  • Sociology of Money
  • Social Media/New Technology
  • Political Sociology

Key Publications


  • Davis, Mark (forthcoming) Consumer Culture and Society: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge
  • Davis, Mark (ed.) (forthcoming) 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 (forthcoming) ‘Hurried Life: Rethinking Time and Technology in the Consumer Society’, Thesis Eleven
  • 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

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

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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