Professor Sarah Irwin
Professor of Sociology
My research interests relate to family, parenting, education, youth transitions and socio-economic inequalities, and the reproduction of such inequalities across generations. I am also interested in lay perspectives on inequality.
I am Director of the Centre for Research on Families, the Life Course and Generations (FLaG).
My research relates to family life, parenting, youth transitions and educational pathways, and socio-economic inequalities. I have recently completed a qualitative longitudinal research project into parenting and family life, with a particular focus on parents’ values and practices as children grew up through their teenage years. I have a longstanding interest in transitions from youth to adulthood, and I am developing research into technical and vocational education and training. I am developing international comparative research work in areas relating to youth, transition and socio-economic inequalities. I have published work on subjective experiences, and perceptions, of inequality.
Another research theme of recent years has been developing secondary analytic methodological work, with a substantive focus on inequalities and routes to higher education, and issues in gender and work-family conflict. I directed the Secondary Analysis Project of ESRC Timescapes, a qualitative longitudinal study (‘Changing lives and times: relationships and identities through the life course’ 2007-12). As well as publications from the project there are various resources available – including QL and secondary analysis methods working papers – on the Timesapes website.
My main teaching interests reflect my research interests. I currently convene the level 3 module ‘Education, Culture and Society’, contribute to level 1 teaching on inequalities, and contribute guest lectures across levels, relating especially to research methods.
I have convened the new programme of staff student workshops through which we are further engaging our undergraduate and MA students with the research culture of the School as a whole. I have extensive MA and PhD supervision and examining experience.
I am interested in supervising PhD students in the following areas:
- Family / parenting / class related inequalities
- Educational inequalities; youth and young adult transitions
- Lay experiences and perceptions of inequality
Reshaping social life (Routledge, 2005), 208p,
Rights of Passage Social Change and the Transition from Youth to Adulthood (UCL Press, 1995),
‘Parenting teenagers as they grow up: values, practices and young people's pathways beyond school in England’, Sociological Review 2017,
DOI: 10.1177/0038026117691718, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/110397/
‘Class and comparison: Subjective social location and lay experiences of constraint and mobility’, British Journal of Sociology, 66.2 (2015), 259-281,
DOI: 10.1111/1468-4446.12121, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/90185/
‘Qualitative secondary data analysis: ethics, epistemology and context’, Progress in Development Studies, 13.4 (2013),
‘Parents' hopes and expectations for their children's future occupations’, Sociological Review, 61.1 (2013), 111-130,
‘Teenage expectations of going to university: the ebb and flow of influences from 14 to 18’, Journal of Youth Studies, 15.7 (2012),
‘Timescapes secondary analysis: comparison, context and working across data sets’, Qualitative Research, 12.1 (2012), 66-80,
‘Concerted cultivation? Parenting Values, Education and Class Diversity’, Sociology, 45.3 (2011), 480-495,
‘Family contexts, norms and young people's orientations: researching diversity’, Journal of Youth Studies, 12.4 (2009), 337-354,
‘Locating where the action is: quantitative and qualitative lenses on families, schooling and structures of social inequality’, Sociology, 43.6 (2009), 1123-1140,
‘The social patterning of values and rationalities: mothers' choices in combining caring and employment’, Social Policy and Society, 3.4 (2004), 391-399,
DOI: 10.1017/S1474746404002076, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/1295/
‘Interdependencies, values and the reshaping of difference: gender and generation at the birth of twentieth-century modernity’, British Journal of Sociology, 54.4 (2003), 565-584,
‘Locating difference: class, 'race' and gender, and the shaping of social inequalities’, SOCIOL REV, 51.4 (2003), 463-483,
‘Market Returns? Gender and Theories of Change in Employment Relations’, British Journal of Sociology, 51.2 (2000), 261-280,
‘Gender and work-family conflict: a secondary analysis of Timescapes data’, in Understanding families over time: research and policy, ed. by Holland J and Edwards, R (Palgrave, 2014),
‘Data analysis and interpretation: emergent issues in linking qualitative and quantitative evidence’, in Handbook of emergent methods in social research, ed. by Hesse-Biber S and Leavy P (Guilford Publications, 2008), 415-436,
Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/104662/