Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Research Student: James Beresford

Governing Equity: Narratives of the 2010 Equality Act

Photo of James Beresford

Situated at the intersection between Sociology and Social Policy, my research looks to enactments of ‘remembering’ and ‘forgetting' in Uk Equality Policy making, specifically the 2010 Equality Act. Marking a movement to a fully integrated equality bill, whereby it covered numerous areas of discrimination, the Act was the last major piece of equality legislation introduced in the UK and was positioned. It was narrated as a process of simplification, of making legislation more streamlined and easy to use for various collective and individual bodies. The project critiques ideas of a rationalised, disembodied state and moves towards looking at the relationalitites and interactions of actors in the enactment and becoming of policies through addressing the previously ignored importance of memory in policy. It examines how remembering previous anti-discrimination legislation in particular ways shapes the scope of what, in policy contexts, is seen as legitimately requiring and not requiring legislative address. In particular focus lies on the way certain power relations shape these and how this is situated within broader political geometries. This involves conducting textual analysis of legislation, parliamentary debates and media pieces, as well as interviews with policy practitioners including civil servants, lawyers, third sector bodies and activists, among others.  

My research interests therefore include:

  • Critical Memory Studies
  • Narrative
  • Policy Making and governance
  • Equity policies and the language of equity
  • Racism and Ethnicity Studies
  • Affect and emotion
  • Post-Structuralism and post-structural theory
  • Qualitative methods and methodologies, particularly ethnography and narrative techniques
  • Socio-legal studies


After completing an undergraduate degree at the university of Leeds (first class honours) I went on to study for an MA in Social Research at Goldsmiths College, University of London (Distinction).

I have experience as a teaching assistant on the following modules

  • SLSP1170 Understanding and Researching Contemporary Society (level 1)
  • SLSP1210 Formations of Modernity (level 1) 
  • SLSP1190 Identities, Inequalities and Policies in contemporary Society (level 1) 

I also work as a research assistant for the Inequalities and Social Policy research clusters, assisting in grant applications. As of April 2017 I will be a co-convenor of the British Sociological Association Post-graduate Forum.

What motivated me to undertake PhD study?

My experiences at undergraduate level and particularly at MA level instigated a real passion for conducting social research.

What makes me passionate about my subject?

The opportunity to shed light on areas there is little knowledge about.

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

I hope to continue in academia in a research positon.

Book reviews

LSE Review of books - Hsiao-Hung Pai (2016). Angry White People. Zed Books. <http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsereviewofbooks/2016/03/02/book-review-angry-white-people-coming-face-to-face-with-the-british-far-right-by-hsiao-hung-pai/>

The Sociological Review - Siobhan Kattago (2015). The Ashgate Research Companion to Memory Studies. Aldershot, Ashgate: <http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-954X.12411/full

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