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Research at LSE Sociology

We focus our energies through concerns with escalating inequalities and injustices across the globe, informed by sustained fieldwork and empirical inquiry in numerous nations

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 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.

 Find out more about our research activities below:

Overview

We have wide-ranging expertise with particular expertise in key areas of current debate covering science and technology studies, finance and economic change; urbanisation; the cultural dimensions of social stratification; and new cosmopolitan political agendas around human rights and social conflict. Our colleagues share direct research experience drawn from studies on every continent of the world, and we have conducted fieldwork on Argentina, Australia, Colombia, India, South Africa and other parts of Africa, the US and the Caribbean, as well as the UK.

A ‘triad’ of concerns – with theory, method and empirics – informs every strategic decision within the Department, shapes our relationship with the discipline more broadly, and frames the discussions we have with each other, with our students, and the wider LSE community. We see ourselves very strongly as a ‘mixed methods’ department, with expertise in both quantitative and qualitative methods informing our work in four research clusters: Economic Sociology; Politics and Human Rights; Social Inequalities; and Urban Sociology.

In the Research Excellence Framework 2014, the quality of publications by LSE Sociology colleagues was 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. Recent books by our colleagues, such as Ayça Çubukçu, Nigel Dodd, Sam Friedman, Bridget Hutter, David Madden, Mike Savage (who co-directed the BBC’s Great British Class Survey) and Judy Wajcman, have attracted major public interest and been widely debated in the media.

The Department continues to be a major stronghold of research on cities, politics and human rights. 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.

Research clusters

Our research clusters showcase those areas where we have key concentrations of research and graduate teaching and where we have a distinctive LSE presence and identity. They embrace an international vision of sociology and are concerned to address the major challenges the world faces. Each cluster encourages inter-disciplinary debate and engagement at the same time as nurturing the resources of sociology as a discipline, and all embrace methodological and theoretical excellence.

Find out more about the work of each research cluster:

Economic Sociology

Politics and Human Rights

Social Inequalities

Urban Sociology

Research projects

Our faculty are currently working on a wide range of research projects, individually and with co-researchers from LSE and elsewhere.  Projects are diverse - from the evolution of animal care within biomedical research to the changing relationship between Britain's 'top' private schools and recruitment into the elite to the 'forensic turn' in humanitarianism - yet each is explored from a sociological perspective and aims to add to our understanding of complex and constantly evolving social issues and the ways in which they are connected in the UK and around the world.

Find out more about our current research: Research projects

Publications

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New book:

Underwater: Loss, Flood Insurance, and the Moral Economy of Climate Change in the United States

Rebecca Elliott, Columbia University Press (2021)

In Underwater, Rebecca Elliott explores how families, communities, and governments confront problems of loss as the climate changes. She offers the first in-depth account of the politics and social effects of the U.S. National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which provides flood insurance protection for virtually all homes and small businesses that require it. 

See selected recent books by our faculty here.

New articles:

Managing racism? Race equality and decolonial educational futures

Suki Ali. International Inequalities Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science (July 2020).

White Extinction: Metaphysical Elements of Contemporary Western Fascism

Chetan Bhatt. Theory, Culture and Society (June 2020).

Cultures of care? Animals and science in Britain

Carrie Friese. British Journal of Sociology (November 2019).

Fathers' involvement with their children in the United Kingdom: Recent trends and class differences.

Ursula Henz. Demographic Research (April 2019).

Race and ethnicity in the UK film industry: an analysis of the BFI diversity standards

Clive James Nwonka. London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK (July 2020).

Involved in something (involucrado en algo )”: Denial and stigmatization in Mexico’s “war on drugs". 

Claire Moon with Javier Treviño‐Rangel. British Journal of Sociology (April 2020)

Making space for ‘the social’: connecting sociology and professional practices in urban lighting design

Don Slater with Joanne Entwistle. British Journal of Sociology (March 2019).

See more articles by our faculty here.

You can find many journal articles, book chapters, books, working papers, conference papers and other publications by our faculty and other sociologists on LSE Research Online.

Research seminars

Our Sociology Research Seminar is the main venue for scholars from around the world to present work in progress. The series strives to feature innovative sociological research from a variety of perspectives.To find out more, please follow this link to the webpage: Research Seminar Series.

Research students

LSE Sociology welcomes postgraduate researchers from around the world to undertake the MPhil/PhD Sociology, and also offers the MPhil/PhD Cities for interdisciplinary graduate research on cities, space and urbanism. Find out more from our Study pages.

A list of our current PhD students and their research topics can be found under People.

Find completed PhD theses here: LSE Theses Online

Research funding

The Research Committee welcomes applications from all staff and PhD students for funds to support any research-related activity. Find out more about research funding here.

Academic visitors

The Sociology Department welcomes applications from a wide range of individuals. Visitors to the Department come under three main categories:

1. Visiting Fellows: academics at Assistant Professor level, early career researchers, or non-academic practitioners of equivalent standing.

2. Visiting Senior Fellows: academics at Associate Professor level, or non-academic practitioners of equivalent standing.

3. Visiting Professors: Full Professors, or non-academics who have achieved prominence in public life or attained distinction in their profession.

To find out more about academic visitors and how to apply if you would like to join us please follow the link to Academic Visitors

We also welcome research students from other universities to spend from one term up to one academic year at LSE as a Visiting Research Student (VRS).

Cambridge LSE International Studies Book Series

Cambridge LSE International Studies Book Series is a joint venture between the Centre for International Studies and Cambridge University Press. It is an exciting series which publishes work that is transdisciplinary, international in scope and relevant to contemporary political and sociological challenges.

Learn more