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, and elected as a Fellow of the British Academy in 2016.

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 JF, Antonnen A, Bussemaker M, Gerhard U, Heinen J, Johansson S, Leira A, Siim B, Tobio C, Gendering citizenship in Western Europe: new challenges for citizenship research in a cross-national context (The Policy Press, 2007), iv, 210p

  • Williams JF, Rethinking families (London : Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 2004), 96p

  • Williams JF, Popay J, Oakley A, Welfare Research: A Critical Review (UCL Press, London, 1999), 216p

  • Williams JF, Social Policy: A Critical Introduction (Polity Press, Cambridge, 1989), 236p

Journal articles

  • Williams JF, ‘Converging Variations in Migrant Care Work in Europe’, Journal of European Social Policy, 20.4 (2012), 363-376
    DOI: 10.1177/0958928712449771

  • Williams JF, ‘Care relations and public policy: social justice claims and social investment frames’, Families, Relationships and Societies, 1.1 (2012)

  • Williams JF, ‘Markets and Migrants in the Care Economy’, Soundings, 47 (2011), 22-33
    DOI: 10.3898/136266211795427576

  • Williams JF, ‘Themes and Concepts in Migration, Gender and Care’, Social Policy and Society, 9.3 (2010), 385-396
    DOI: 10.1017/S1474746410000102

  • Williams JF, Tobio C, Gavanas A, ‘Migration et garde des enfants a domicile en Europe: questions de citoyennete’, Cahiers du Genre, 47 (2009), 47-46


  • Williams JF, ‘Towards the Transnational Political Economy of Care and a Global Ethic of Care’, in Feminist Ethnics and Social Policy: Towards a New Global Political Economy of Care, ed. by Mahon R and Robinson F (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2011), 21-38

  • williams JFIONA, ‘Recognition, Rights and the Redistribution of Care in Europe: Political Tensions and Spaces’, in Changing Social Organization of Care and its Implications for Social Politics, ed. by Hrženjak M (The Peace Institute, 2011)

  • Williams J, ‘Culture and Nationhood’, in The Students Companion to Social Policy, Third Edition, ed. by Alcock P and others (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008), 146-152

  • Williams J, ‘The intersection of child care regimes and migration regimes: a three-country study’, in Migration and Domestic Work: a European perspective on a global theme, ed. by Lutz H (Routledge, 2008), 13-28

  • Williams JF, ‘Empowering Parents’, in From Sure Start to Children's Centres:Improving Services for Young Children and their Families, ed. by Anning A and Ball M (Sage, 2007)

  • Williams JF, ‘Contesting "race" and gender in the European Union: a multi-layered recognition struggle for voice and visibility’, in Recognition struggles and social movements: contested identities, agency and power, ed. by Hobson B (Cambridge University Press, 2003), 121-144


  • Williams J, Claiming and Framing in the Making of Care Policies: the Recognition and Redistribution, (Geneva: [n.pub.] 2009)

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