The Department of Sociology has a strong interdisciplinary orientation (being the umbrella department in the Faculty of Social Sciences’ Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 2008 and the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014, both of which were highly successful. It plays a leading role in shaping broad sociological agendas with the participation of staff in various research networks, in the editorship and/or editorial board membership of several leading academic journals in the UK and internationally.
The department has built a reputation for producing rigorous and innovative intellectual work in four main areas:
Markets, consumption and cultural economy
Multicultural life, citizenship, differences, political conflict and social divisions
Digital, material transformations and infrastructures
Psychoanalytic sociology and the psychosocial
Our work is marked by a serious commitment to active engagement in the world beyond the academy, publicly engaged with contributions to policy as well as theory. Our research culture is solid, intensive and flexible. The ESRC-funded highly successful research centre – Centre for Research in Socio-cultural Change (CRESC) – was based at The Open University and the University of Manchester (2004-2014). Over the last decade we have been the leading UK research centre for a very distinctive kind of sociology, based around theoretically informed, empirical case studies in interdisciplinary teams using innovative methods in order to tackle the complex dynamics of social and cultural change. We are currently developing post-CRESC activities funded by the University, running international research programmes and networks on religion, media and political violence; international broadcasting, social media and public diplomacy. Sociologists are also highly active in the OU Centre for Research on Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG), currently running two of its Research Programmes: ‘Digital Citizenship’ and ‘Migration and Belonging
’, as well as centrally contributing to theoretical and methodological innovation.
Students are valued members of the department, interacting with research-active academic staff and post-doctoral fellows based on campus in Milton Keynes, as well as with other staff and students in the Social Science Faculty and its associated research centres. We offer both degrees as Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master of Philosophy (MPhil). We welcome applications from students with interests in all the four main areas of work we engage with.