Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy


We address a wide range of substantive and methodological issues surrounding social inequalities.

In this Section:

Our research cluster addresses a wide range of substantive and methodological issues and conceptual debates surrounding social inequalities in contemporary society. We work at the intersections of sociology and social policy, and much of our work is interdisciplinary, with connections with colleagues from Business, Media and Communications, Education, Health, Geography, Law, and Politics. We have links with a wide range of practitioner groups and organisations, and activist communities. 

Our research is qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method research and is inclusive of a broad range of methods. Our current work focuses on issues related to: diversity, recognition and citizenship, class, cities and regeneration, disability, vulnerability, education, widening participation, embodiment, employment, families and generation, finance (particularly alternative methods of finance), gender, health, the home and domesticity, housing, labour relations and welfare, sexuality, and youth.

MSc Inequalities and Social Science     PhD

Or, view all masters programmes

Featured publications are shown below. For more information about individual staff members including journal entries please visit the People tab and review their staff page.

Mark Davis

Financial Innovation Today: Towards Economic Resilience

Mark Davis - Financial Innovation Today: Towards Economic Resilience

Liquid Sociology: Metaphor in Zygmunt Bauman's Analysis of Modernity

Mark Davis -  Liquid Sociology: Metaphor in Zygmunt Bauman's Analysis of Modernity

Sharon Elley

Understanding Sex and Relationship Education, Youth and Class

Sharon Elley - Understanding sex and relationship education, youth and class

Nick Emmel

Sampling and Choosing Cases in Qualitative Research: A Realist Approach

Nick Emmel - Sampling & Choosing Cases in Qualitative Research: A realist approach

Dr Kim Allen
University Academic Fellow – Urban Sociology (Youth and Inequality)
Tel: 0113 3439760
Email: k.allen1@leeds.ac.uk

Dr Lisa Buckner
Associate Professor of Social Statistics
Tel: 0113 343 7989
Email: l.j.buckner@leeds.ac.uk

Dr Mark Davis
Associate Professor of Sociology
Tel: 0113 343 7117
Email: m.e.davis@leeds.ac.uk

Dr Sharon Elley
Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy
Tel: 0113 343 4717
Email: s.t.elley@leeds.ac.uk

Dr Nick Emmel
Senior Lecturer
Tel: 0113 343 6958
Email: n.d.emmel@leeds.ac.uk

Ms Suzanne Hallam
Deputy Head of School
Tel: 0113 343 4455
Email: s.l.hallam@leeds.ac.uk

Professor Sally Hines
Professor of Sociology and Gender Identities
Tel: 0113 343 5208
Email: s.hines@leeds.ac.uk

Dr Kahryn Hughes
Senior Research Fellow
Tel: 0113 343 1161
Email: k.a.hughes@leeds.ac.uk

Professor Sarah Irwin
Professor of Sociology
Tel: 0113 343 4432
Email: s.irwin@leeds.ac.uk

Dr Alison Sheldon
Senior Teaching Fellow in Disability Studies
Tel: 0113 3434715
Email: a.sheldon@leeds.ac.uk

Dr Andrew Wallace
University Academic Fellow in Urban Sociology
Email: a.r.wallace@leeds.ac.uk

Here are some of the key projects for the Academic Area of Inequality:

Pregnant Men: An International Exploration of Trans Male Practices of Reproduction

An ESRC funded international project (including the UK, US, Australia, Italy and Poland) addressing the sociological and health care implications of the reproductive practices of people who become pregnant and/or give birth after transitioning from female to male

Other current or recent research projects include:

• Living Gender in Diverse Times: A UK based study of shifting meanings, understandings and practices of gender diversity amongst young people aged between the ages of 15-24 (Sally Hines, Sharon Elley, Kim Allen).
• Troubling ‘Lad Culture’: New Student Geographies, Mobilities and Methodologies (Sharon Elley, Polly Wilding, Alice O’Grady, David Bell, Matt Guy).
• Widening Participation Student’s Graduate Transitions: ‘Fractured Journeys?’ (Sharon Elley, Adam Formby).
• Celebrity Culture and Young People’s Classed and Gendered Aspirations (Kim Allen; ESRC)
• Gender, youth transitions and austerity (Kim Allen, ESRC)
• Portraying Poverty: media representations of poverty and welfare (Kim Allen)
• Canalscapes: reading the contemporary post-industrial canal (Andrew Wallace and Katy Wright)
• ‘Crafting’ the City: regeneration, class and place (Andrew Wallace)
• Urban Futures and Industrial Heritage (Andrew Wallace)
• Brexit, poverty and social class (Tracy Shildrick and Andrew Wallace)
• Poverty, inequality and ill health (Tracy Shildrick)
• Youth transitions in times of austerity (Tracy Shildrick, Andy Furlong, Glasgow and Geoff Haywood, Cambridge)
• 14-19 educational pathways, vocational and technical education (Sarah Irwin)
• Parenting and social inequalities (Sarah Irwin)
• Lay experiences and perceptions of inequality (Sarah Irwin)
• Evaluation of Medical Technologies Innovation—closing the early stage translation gap in Leeds City Region Nick Emmel and Joanna Greenhalgh (HEFCE)
• Sociology in Action - a partnership between students and local organisations to provide a valuable service to the wider community – Suzanne Hallam

Equality and Social Justice Lecture Series

This annual lecture series was established to celebrate scholars working at the intersection of academia and activism in the field of equality and social justice. The series provides a space for academic dialogue that transcends disciplinary boundaries and paradigms to address crosscutting questions and concerns at the global level.

The series enables activist researchers to engage with and contribute towards a multi-dimensional exploration of inequality in order to make sense of and move towards achieving social justice. In this spirit, the lecture series provides a platform for scholarly activists who not only seek to better understand, but also change, the social world we live in. 


Professor Tom Shakespeare, 2017

The first Equality and Social Justice lecture was delivered by Professor Tom Shakespeare on Thursday 9 November 2017. A world-leading expert in disability studies, medical sociology and the social and ethical dimensions of genetics, Professor Shakespeare has been highly influential in contributing towards the disabled people’s movement in the UK and internationally. Beyond this, Professor Shakespeare has had longstanding involvement in improving public understandings of disability, as well as the policies, institutions and practices that shape its experience. 

The title of Professor Shakespeare’s lecture was: “Levers of success; understanding the achievements of African people with disabilities”. Drawing on data from over 100 in-depth interviews with disabled people across rural and urban settings, Professor Shakespeare explored the category and experience of disability across four developing countries in Africa.

Professor Shakespeare argued that the barriers facing and opportunities of disabled people in developing contexts could only be effectively understood if questions concerning culture, religion, resilience and structural expectation are fully incorporated into mainstream debates and social action surrounding disability and development. Professor Shakespeare also highlighted the need to re-think the relationship between relative inequality and disability at a global level in light of the structural and institutional conditions faced within developing countries.

Watch Professor Shakespeare's lecture

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