Bridget Hutter Obituary

Bridget Hutter: 1956 - 2023

Colleagues at the Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR) were greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Bridget Hutter on April 10th.  Bridget was latterly Professor of Risk Regulation in the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics until her retirement. Besides being an esteemed colleague and friend, Bridget will be most well-known for her major role in the founding and development of CARR, being its Co-director from 2000-2005 and sole Director thereafter until 2010.  During this period of leadership she established CARR as a major international centre for the study of risk management and regulation in organizational and institutional settings. Her own work made major contributions to this agenda.  At the same time in the early 2000s she also supported the field of sociology as general editor of the British Journal of Sociology. Beyond her leadership of CARR, she also was a dedicated and committed mentor and supervisor.

Bridget Hutter achieved first class honours in Sociology at Bedford College London before undertaking a DPhil at Nuffield College, Oxford.  A subsequent year at LSE as Morris Ginsberg Fellow in Sociology was followed by an extensive association with the Centre for Socio-Legal studies at Oxford.  Bridget was a fellow of Jesus College, Oxford from 1987-1995 during which time she was awarded a British Academy Fellowship and conducted important socio-legal work on compliance in the fields of environmental and health and safety regulation.  These studies involved painstaking, theoretically-astute empirical work in the field and provided the intellectual foundation for her later role as Director of CARR at LSE, which she re-joined in 1995. Of particular note was her 2001 monograph on occupational health and safety on the railways, which set an agenda for a genre of work by her and colleagues at CARR.  Together with others, she blazed the trail for regulation scholarship that emphasised the negotiated characteristics of compliance and advanced the academic study of risk regulation.

With a strong background in the methods and orientation of socio-legal studies, Bridget went on to publish a leading monograph on food regulation. More recently, she co-authored Regulatory Crisis (with Sally Lloyd-Bostock). Next to these books and numerous journal articles, she was also involved in the publication of important edited volumes and handbooks, including Anticipating Risks and Organising Risk Regulation and Organizational Encounters with Risk (with Mike Power). At the time of her passing, she was working on how householders experience flood risk. She was an academic who addressed major regulatory and policy issues and often gave advice to a wide variety of regulators and policy-makers.  In this respect she helped to establish CARR not only as a centre for research excellence but also as a valued source of policy advice which continues today.

We are thinking of her family and friends at this difficult time. We remember Bridget for her enormous contribution to the field of risk and regulation studies, the many joyful shared memories, and for her kindness and generosity.