Faculty of Social Sciences
The Department of Sociology is widely known for its innovative approach to both teaching and research. Its activities in both areas are characterised by a strong interest in culture, economy and society, identity, media and cultural industries, and innovation in sociological research methods.
Our modules are creative, cutting-edge and intellectually rigorous, yet are designed to provide even the most inexperienced students with open and accessible learning opportunities. We aim to ensure that students acquire a firm foundational knowledge of key issues in sociological theory and practice, while developing generic and practical skills that will aid employability and personal development in their lives beyond the University.
Sociology has also established itself as a centre of national and international excellence of research – indicated most strongly by the 2008 RAE where 55% of research submitted under Sociology Unit of Assessment (which reflected our interdisciplinary approach and comprised of OU staff from departments of Sociology, Psychology, POLIS and Social Policy & Criminology) was judged to be world-leading or internationally excellent. This grouping is one of the largest concentrations of interdisciplinary sociology research with a 'cultural' signature in the social science world. National and international research expertise has been primarily developed within two research centres: the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC) which operates in partnership with the University of Manchester, and the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG), an Open University Centre of Excellence.
Sociology of culture and economy, the cultural and creative industries, cultural work, values and practices, music, media and popular culture, cultural policy, cities.
Science and Technology Studies especially as applied to issues of health and medicine, Cost of Living.
Work, work organisations, and work related technologies; sociology of technology.
Urban cultures and government in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, histories of crime and policing, religious cultures and urban improvement.
Migration, ethnicity, gender and class, culture and representation, mothering and citizenship practices amongst migrant women.
Diaspora and nation; cosmopolitanism; collaborative ethnography; 'big data' analysis; the politics of security; audiences, publics and citizenship; international and multilingual broadcasting, social media and public diplomacy.
Gender, education. Teaching social sciences. New technologies and distance learning.
Visuality, visual culture and the act of seeing; conflict, war and aesthetics.
Science, technology and society, material semiotics, the social life and performativity of methods.
New media technologies, the co-construction of technology and culture.
Race, racism, migration and diaspora; Sociology and its engagements with publics and public policy; policing, diversity and race.
Psychoanalytically-informed sociology and cultural studies; heterosexual masculinities and masculinities and schooling. Co-editor Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society.
Social Connections and Divisions particularly gender and class; materials (objects/technologies) and social relations, particularly in the contemporary context of the home and family life, art objects and museums.
Authorship and creative labour in cultural production; race, music and the vexed nature of cosmopolitanism; critical realist social theory.
Race and gender, whiteness, history and politics of antiracism; 'Britishness', racism and diversity in the armed forces, the soldier-citizen migrant, militarisation; Public diplomacy, info-war.
Cities and water; Street Markets as sites of sociality, cultural practices and innovation; Religious Buildings, Spaces, Texts and Images, c.1800-2010.
Whitehall and the machinery of government, civil defence planning, nuclear deterrence strategy, the history of the intelligence services, and the projection of British foreign policy; BBC World Service.
Feminist theories, diversity and assemblages of embodied selves, feminist materialist critiques in the field of sport. PI on AHRC network grant on 'Being in the Zone'.