Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Professor Ian Law

Professor of Racism and Ethnicity Studies

I have been research-active in racism and ethnicity studies since 1978 when I began my PhD on racism and housing in Liverpool. Since then, I have worked in community relations, local government and higher education settings producing theoretically-informed, empirically-based policy-relevant research output. I am the founding director of the Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies, a centre established at the University of Leeds in 1998.

Research Interests

My primary research focus is global racism studies, building on the long tradition of critical race theory from W.E.B. Du Bois onwards. This involves the development of a new theory of the racialisation of the planet, polyracism, and associated geo-regional mapping of under-researched contexts. I am currently over half way through my primary research project of writing 10 books in 10 years, which will culminate with a synthesis of this new theory.


I teach racism and ethnicity studies at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I have also developed the MA in Racism and Ethnicity Studies, for which I am responsible.

PhD Supervision

I have supervised a wide range of PhD students in my field of racism and ethnicity. Topics have included the following, the English Defence League, Zainichi Koreans in Japan, refugees in Finland, Sikh/Muslim conflict, Chinese children, contemporary Black music, Sri Lankans in Britain, Greek diasporic identities, Pakistanis and crime, ethnicity and nationalism in Malaysia and African-Caribbean elders.

Key Publications


  • Law IG; Kovats M (2016) Rethinking Roma. London: Palgrave Macmillan. [Accepted]

  • Law IG; Zakharov N (2016) Post-Soviet Racisms. London: Palgrave Macmillan. [Accepted]

  • Law IG; Jacobs A; Kaj N; Pagano S; Sojka-Koirala B (2014) Mediterranean Racisms. Mapping Global Racisms. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

    This book is unique in identifying and engaging with an analysis of racism in Mediterranean contexts, including Southern Europe, North Africa, Turkey, the Middle East and Malta. The volume contributes to an empirically based theoretical re-framing of both the racialization of the globe and evaluation of the prospects for anti-racism and the post-racial. The Arab Spring and its aftermath, the hardening of racist exclusions, evictions and exploitation in Southern Europe and the accelerating migration of African people across this area all provide a highly dynamic context urging a re-assessment of the ways in which contemporary processes of racialization are working. This book introduces a new theory of polyracism, which is explored further in forthcoming books in this series, and includes new research on racism in Morocco, Lebanon and Cyprus and on the Roma in Italy. Reorienting accounts of racism in Europe through a Mediterranean lens provides a new platform for re-theorizing global racialization and brings into contemporary debates locations of racialization which are under-researched and frequently ignored.

  • Law IG; Sian K; Sayyid S (2013) Racism, Governance and Social Policy, beyond human rights. Routledge Advances in Sociology Series. London: Routledge.

  • Law IG (2012) Red Racisms, racism in communist and post-communist contexts. Mapping Global Racisms. Basingstoke: Palgrave/Macmillan.

  • Law IG; Swann S (2011) Ethnicity and education in England and Europe, Gangstas, Geeks and Gorjas,. Studies in Migration and Diaspora. Farnham: Ashgate.

  • Law IG (2010) Racism and Ethnicity: global debates, dilemmas, directions. London: London: Pearson Books.

  • Law I; Huggan G (2009) Racism, Postcolonialism, Europe. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

  • Law IG; Phillips DA; Turney LJ (2004) Institutional Racism in Higher Education. Trentham.

  • Law IG (2002) Race in the news. Palgrave, Basingstoke.

  • Law IG (1996) Racism, Ethnicity and Social Policy. Contemporary Social Policy. Prentice Hall - Harvester Wheatsheaf.

  • Law I; Butcher, H.; Leach, R.; Mullard, M. (1990) Local Government and Thatcherism. London: Routledge.

  • Law I; Ben-Tovim, G.; Gabriel, J.; Stredder, K. (1986) The Local Politics of Race. London: Macmillan.

  • Law I (1981) A History of Race and Racism in Liverpool, 1660-1950. Liverpool: Merseyside CRC.

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