Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Contact Details

Professor Tracy Shildrick

Professor of Sociology and Social Policy

I joined Leeds as Professor of Sociology and Social Policy in 2013 having previously worked at Teesside University. I have specialist research interests in poverty, young people and social exclusion. I teach on the Sociology and Social Policy programmes in areas around welfare, poverty and social exclusion.

Research Interests

My research interests span youth transitions, worklessness, poverty and social exclusion. Recent projects include two studies for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation looking at the ‘low pay, no pay cycle’ and the idea of ‘intergenerational cultures of worklessness’. I also recently undertook work for the Webb Memorial Trust looking at myths about poverty. Most recently, I completed a review of the literature on ‘Poverty and Social Theory’ for the Joseph Rowntee Foundation, to be published early 2015, as part of their on-going anti- poverty strategy development.  I am Deputy Editor of Journal of Youth Studies and Co-Editor of Journal of Poverty and Social Justice. I regularly deliver keynote speeches and invited talks both nationally and internationally. I recently attended the First Global Youth Policy Forum in Baku, Azerbaijan as an invited expert (October 2014). I have been the organizer and co-organizer of several national and international conferences, including the forthcoming Routledge and Journal of Youth Studies international conference, to be held in Copenhagen in March 2015.


I teach across sociology and social policy and have particular interests in youth transitions to adulthood and poverty and welfare.

PhD Supervision

I supervise PHD students in the following areas: youth transitions, youth cultures and identity, social exclusion, poverty and worklessness, the sociology of labour markets, the changing nature of economic and social life, community studies and the contemporary significance of social class.

Key Publications

Journal articles

  • Shildrick T, MacDonald R, Furlong A, ‘Benefit street' & the myth of workless communities’, Sociological Research Online, 19.3 (2014)
    DOI: 10.5153/sro.3438

  • Shildrick T, MacDonald R, ‘Poverty talk: how people experiencing poverty deny their poverty and why they blame 'the poor’, The Sociological Review, 61.2 (2013), 285-303
    DOI: 10.1111/1467-954X.12018

  • MacDonald R, Shildrick T, ‘Youth and well-being: experiencing bereavement and ill health in marginalised young people's transitions’, The Sociology of Health and Illness, 35.1 (2013), 147-161
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2012.01488.x

  • MacDonald R, Shildrick T, Furlong R, ‘In search of 'intergenerational cultures of worklessness': hunting the Yeti and shooting Zombies’, Critical Social Policy 2013
    DOI: 10.1177/0261018313501825


  • Shildrick T, Rucell J, Sociological perspectives on poverty, (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2015)

  • Shildrick T, Macdonald R, In work and in poverty, (New Statesman, 2013)

  • Shildrick T, Macdonald R, The reality for low income households, (Child Poverty Action Group, 2013)

  • Shildrick T, MacDonald R, Furlong A, Roden J, Crow R, Are 'cultures of worklessness' passed down the generations?, (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2012)

  • Shildrick T, Low pay, no pay churning: the hidden story of work and worklessness, (Child Poverty Action Group, 2012)

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