Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Professor Fiona Williams OBE

Professor of Social Policy; International Professorial Research Fellow

Fiona is Emeritus Professor of Social Policy. Her previous roles at Leeds have been Director of the ESRC CAVA Research Group on Care, Values and the Future of Welfare and Co-Director of CIRCLE  where she is now International Professorial Research Fellow.

Fiona is a co-editor of Social Politics, a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, and a member of the Academy of Learned Societies in the Social Sciences. She also holds a part-time position at the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. She was a member of the the Social Policy subpanel in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, and from 2006 to 2010 a member of the ESRC's Strategic Research Board.  She was awarded an OBE in 2004. 

Research Interests

Fiona has written widely on gender, 'race' and ethnicity in social policy, and is currently researching the employment of migrant care workers in Europe. A key concern is about the place of care in contemporary society and the possibilities for a political ethic of care. Her work is informed by an attempt to understand how individuals, groups and social movements articulate their needs and how policy responds to this.  A full list of her publications and current public lectures can be found in the CIRCLE webpages.

Fiona is a member of a number of international research networks, a member of the Timescapes research team and of the Australian Research Council funded project on how parents on low incomes make decisions about work and care.

Key Publications


Lister, R.; Williams, F.; Antonnen, A., Bussemaker,  M.; Gerhard, U.; Heinen, J.; Johansson, S.; Leira, A.; Siim, B.; Tobio,  C.; with Gavanas, A. (2007) Gendering citizenship in western Europe: new challenges for citizenship research in a cross-national context, The Policy Press.

Williams, F (2004) Rethinking Families, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, London.

Williams, F. J. Popay and A. Oakley eds. (1999) Welfare Research : A Critical Review, UCL Press, London.

Williams, F (1989) Social Policy: A Critical Introduction. Issues of Race, Gender and Class, Polity Press, Cambridge, pp.236


Claiming and Framing in the Making of Care Polices: the recognition and the redistribution of care, (2009) United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Geneva. 

Chapters in Books

Williams, F. (2011 in press) ‘Towards the Transnational Political Economy of Care’ in R. Mahon and F. Robinson The Global Political Economy of Care: Integrating Ethics and Social Politics, Vancouver, UBC Press

Williams, F. (2011 in press) ‘Claims and Frames in the Making of Care Policies’ in Eds. S. Razavi and S. Staab  Political and Social Economy of Care: Rethinking Care in a Development Context, Geneva, UNRISD

Williams, F. (2011 in press) ‘Migration and Care in Western Welfare States’ in Hanne Marlene Dahl and Anne Kovalainen (eds) Complexities of Care: Globalisation, Europeanization and Other Strange Words, Palgrave: Basingstoke.

Williams, F. (2011 in press) ‘Recognition, Rights and the Redistribution of Care in Europe: Political Tensions and Spaces’ in Majda Hrženjak (ed) Symposium: the Changing Social Organisation of Care, Peace Institute: Ljubljana.

Williams, F. and A. Gavanas (2008) 'The intersection of child care regimes and migration regimes: a three–country study', in: H. Lutz (ed) Migration and Domestic Work: a European perspective on a global theme, Routledge.

Williams, F. (2008) ‘Empowering parents’ in Anning, A. and Ball, M. Learning from the Sure Start: Improving Services for Children and Families, London, Sage ISBN 978-1-4129-4822-7.

Williams, F. (2008) ‘Culture and Nationhood’ in Alcock, P., Erskine, A., May, M. and K.Rowlingson, The Students Companion to Social Policy, Third Edition, Oxford, Blackwell, pp 146-152, ISBN 978-1-4051-6901-1.

Williams, F. (2003) Contesting 'race' and gender in the European Union: a multi-layered recognition struggle, in: B. Hobson (ed) Recognition Struggles and Social Movements: Contested Identities, Power and Agency, Cambridge University Press.

Journal Articles

Williams, F. (2011 in press) ‘Markets and Migrants in the Care Economy’ in Soundings: a journal of politics and culture, Issue 47

Williams, F. (2010) ‘Themes and Concepts in Migration, Gender and Care’ in Social Policy and Society, Vol.9, No. 3 pp.385-396

Williams, F. Tobio, C. and Gavanas, A. (2009)  ‘Migration et garde des enfants à  domicile en Europe : questions de citoyenneté’, Cahiers du Genre (France), May, No. 47, pp.20.

Williams, F. (2005) ‘A good enough life: developing a political ethic of care’ in Surroundings: a journal of politics and culture Issue 30, Summer 2005, pp 17-32

Williams, F. and S. Roseneil (2004)  ‘Public Values of Parenting and Partnering:  Voluntary Organisations and Welfare Politics in New Labour’s Britain’ in Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society, 1(2) pp. 181-216

Williams, F. (2004) ‘What matters is who works: commentary on the Green Paper Every Child Matters’, Critical Social Policy 24 (3) pp. 406-427

Williams , F. (2001) 'In and beyond New Labour: towards a new political ethic of care'. Critical Social Policy, 21(4) pp.467-493.
Journal Editorship

Williams, F. co-editor of Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, Oxford University Press.

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