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Research at LSE Sociology

Welcome to the LSE Sociology research pages. Research in the Department embraces a fundamentally international sociology critically interrogating theoretical claims about the relationships between economic, political, social, spatial and cultural change. We focus our energies through concerns with escalating inequalities and injustices across the globe, informed by sustained fieldwork and empirical inquiry in numerous nations. We also keep sight out of our own situated position within London, the UK, and Europe. We have wide ranging expertise straddling the economic, political, social and cultural challenges of our times. Our colleagues share direct research experience drawn from studies on every continent of the world, and we have conducted fieldwork in Argentina, Australia, Colombia, India, South Africa, and other parts of Africa, the US and the Caribbean as well as the UK.

We prize our methodological expertise and are committed to developing this further. We have built upon our international reputation for pioneering sociological approaches to ethnography, historical sociology, comparative and survey approaches to social mobility and employment. More recent and emergent methodological strands include visual methods, spatial and morphological analysis, the analysis of digital data sources, and action research. Research in many areas of substantive scholarship is associated with an MSc programme and with an overlapping cohort of doctoral students. LSE Sociology has one the largest PhD programmes in the UK, proportionate to staff size.

In the Research Excellence Framework 2014, the quality of publications by LSE Sociology colleagues has been rated as amongst the top in the UK, with the Department ranked second in the UK for the percentage of its research receiving the very highest world-leading grade (4*).

The Department is committed to a strong public as well as academic presence. Many of the recent books produced by our colleagues, such as by Nigel Dodd, Judy Wajcman, Lisa McKenzie and Sam Friedman have attracted major public interest and have been widely debated in the media. Mike Savage – who co-directed the BBC’s Great British Class Survey which has attracted huge public interest – has become one of the co-Directors of LSE’s new International Inequalities Institute which has been awarded 15 doctoral studentships by the Leverhulme Trust. These interests in inequality cross-fertilise with the new Departmental Research Unit on ‘Inequalities, Culture and Expertise’.

Our new Urban Sociology cluster builds further links between LSE Cities and other urban researchers in the Department, as well as the LSE more generally through the School's urban@lse network. The Department continues to be a major stronghold of research on politics and human rights, with the Centre for the Study of Human Rights including a major public engagement platform. The LSE have transferred the management of the British Journal of Sociology to the Department and we are excited to be pushing forward on a major relauch under the BJS Editor in Chief, Nigel Dodd. Colleagues are currently in receipt of major research grants from the ESRC, Wellcome, EU and other private sources and we plan major funding bids in the future.


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