Skip to content The Open University
Matthew Cole

Profile summary

  • Visiting Informal Academic
  • Honorary Associate
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Hist, Rel St, Soc, SP&C
  • Sociology

Professional biography

I joined The Open University as an Associate Lecturer in 2009, and was appointed an Honorary Associate in 2014. I currently tutor in the East Midlands and the South West regions. Before/alongside my work for The Open University I worked in a variety of posts as a researcher and lecturer at the University of Bristol, Cardiff University and the University of Derby.


PhD Sociology (University of Bristol)
MA Sociology with special reference to Qualitative Research (Goldsmiths College)
BSc Sociology (Hons) (University of Bristol)

Professional affiliations

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Research interests

My research centres on Critical Animal Studies and the sociology of human-nonhuman animal relations, especially childhood socialization, cultural reproduction and intersections between intra-human and inter-species relations (for example, affinities between sexism, racism and speciesism). I recently published my first book: Our Children and Other Animals: The Cultural Construction of Human-Animal Relations in Childhood, co-written with Dr Kate Stewart, about how children are socialized into accepting and reproducing the human domination of other animals:

I am also interested in the largely untapped potential of ‘classical’ and contemporary sociological theory to enhance our understanding of the human domination of other animals, and thereby to equip social movements for other animals with effective tactics for challenging that domination. I have also researched and written on the cultural representation of vegans and veganism, the genealogy of modern veganism and the sociology of unemployment.

Recent publications


Almiron, N., Cole, M. & Freeman, C.P. (eds) (forthcoming 2015) Critical Animal and Media Studies, Routledge.

Cole, M. & Stewart, K. (2014) Our Children and Other Animals: The Cultural Construction of Human-Animal Interaction in Childhood, Ashgate

Journal articles

Cole, M. & Morgan, K. (2013) ‘Engineering Freedom? A Critique of Biotechnological Routes to ‘Animal Liberation’’, Configurations 21 (2): 201-229 (invited contribution to special issue)

Cole, M. & Morgan, K. (2011) ‘Veganism contra speciesism: Beyond debate’, The Brock Review, 12 (1): 144-163 (Special Issue: Animals in Human Societies)

Cole, M. & Morgan, K. (2011) ‘Vegaphobia: Derogatory discourses of veganism and the reproduction of speciesism in UK national newspapers’, British Journal of Sociology, 61 (1): 134-153

Cole, M. (2011) ‘From ‘animal machines’ to ‘happy meat’? Foucault’s ideas of disciplinary and pastoral power applied to ‘animal-centred’ welfare discourse’, Animals 1 (1): 83-101

Stewart, K. & Cole, M. (2009) ‘The conceptual separation of food and animals in childhood’, Food, Culture and Society, 12 (4): 457-476

Cole, M., Miele, M., Hines, P., Zokaei, K., Evans, B. & Beale, J. (2009) ‘Animal foods and climate change:  Shadowing eating practices’, International Journal of Consumer Studies, 33 (2): 162-167

Cole, M. (2008) Asceticism and hedonism in research discourses of veg*anism’, British Food Journal, 110 (7): 706-716

Cole, M. (2008) ‘Sociology contra Thatcherism? The contest for the meaning of unemployment in UK policy debates’, Work, Employment and Society, 22 (1): 27-43

Cole, M. (2007) ‘From employment exchange to Jobcentre Plus: The changing institutional context of unemployment’, History of the Human Sciences, 20 (4): 129-146

Cole, M. (2007) ‘Rethinking unemployment: a challenge to the legacy of Jahoda et al.’, Sociology, 41 (6): 1133-1149

Book chapters

Cole, M. & Stewart, K. (forthcoming 2015) ‘‘I need fish fingers and custard’: The irruption and suppression of vegan ethics in Doctor Who’, in A. Potts (ed) Critical Perspectives on Meat Culture, Brill Publishing.

Cole, M. (2014) ‘‘The Greatest Cause on Earth’: The historical formation of veganism as an ethical practice’, in N. Taylor & R. Twine (eds) The Rise of Critical Animal Studies – From the Margins to the Centre, London: Routledge

Morgan, K. & Cole, M. (2011) ‘The discursive representation of nonhuman animals in a culture of denial’, in R. Carter & N. Charles (eds) Humans and Other Animals: Critical Perspectives,London: Palgrave, pp. 112-132

Teaching interests

Associate Lecturer: DD102 ‘Understanding the Social Sciences’, DD206: ‘The Uses of Social Science’, DD308: ‘Making Social Worlds’