Dr Michael Shiner

Dr Michael Shiner

Associate Professor

Department of Social Policy

Key Expertise

About me

Michael Shiner is an Associate Professor who joined the Department of Social Policy in 2002. 

Michael has an interdisciplinary approach, which draws together his interests in history, sociology, criminology and psychoanalysis. He also has a strong grounding in social research methods and is comfortable working with quantitative and qualitative techniques, including mixed methods. Michael’s substantive research revolves around three related themes - deviance, crime control, and discrimination. Much of Michael’s work focuses on forms of behaviour that may be considered ‘deviant’, particularly drug use, and the meanings that are attached to them. Formal responses to rule-breaking provide a second key theme, pivoting around the distinction between ‘adaptive’ and ‘non-adaptive’ strategies. Studies of peer education, drug treatment and mentoring have been followed by a stronger focus on the coercive apparatus of the state, with particular reference to drug law enforcement and police stop and search. The regulation and reform of police powers, and concerns about the over-policing of minority communities feature prominently in this later work. A broader focus on ‘race’ and discrimination is evident in research looking at the provision of drug treatment services, entry into the legal professions, and access to higher education.

Michael’s work has been published in a range of journals including The British Journal of Criminology, Social Science and Medicine, the Journal of Social Policy, the International Journal of Drug Policy; and the British Journal of Sociology of Education. He has published several books, including Stop and Search: The Anatomy of a Police Power (co-edited with Rebekah Delsol,Palgrave MacMillan, 2015), Understanding Suicide: A Social Autopsy (co-authored with Ben Fincham, Susanne Langer, and Jonathan Scourfield, Palgrave MacMillan, 2011), and Drug Use and Social Change: The Distortion of History (Palgrave MacMillan, 2009). Michael co-authored The Numbers in Black and White: Ethnic Disparities in the Policing and Prosecution of Drug Offences in England and Wales (with Niamh Eastwood and Daniel Bear, Release, 2013) and produced a chapter for the report After the Drug Wars (LSE IDEAS 2016). He has also written for The Guardian newspaper and blog sites such as British Politics and Policy, Shifting Grounds and Left Foot Forward.

Michael is a consultant to the Fair and Effective Policing Project at the Open Society Justice Initiative; sits on the National Stop and Search Advisory Group; and is a Trustee of StopWatch.

After 20 years as a member of the Department of Social Policy at LSE, Dr Michael Shiner will be moving on to new and exciting challenges following a period of research leave. He will subsequently be appointed Emeritus Associate Professor (Reader) of Social Policy in recognition and appreciation of his services to the Department, the School, and his subject.


Recent work:
The Colour of injustice: 'Race', drugs and law enforcement in England and Wales. Read here.

Recent media coverage:
Is racial bias in police stop and search getting worse? Channel 4 news report. View here.

Expertise Details

criminology; psychoanalysis; drug use and drug policy; policing; research methods; stop and search; suicide; ‘race’ and inequality