Student Profiles

Jonathan Ablitt

Jonathan Ablitt
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
PCSOs as ‘the State on the street’: the rhythm of ‘the beat’ and the effects of the politics of urban repair on ‘alternative publics’ in urban spaces. (Working title)
Research Supervisor:
Dr Robin Smith, Dr Tom Hall
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

This ethnographic study of Police Community Support Officers aims to draw upon participant observation of the street-level interaction between state actors and ‘alternative publics’ (homeless people, sex workers, etc.) in urban spaces in Cardiff, UK. It will build on the notion of ‘alternative publics’ as an obstruction to the accepted and encouraged (consumer) mobilities in Cardiff city centre, and consider how their existence has constructed particular street care rhythms. As such, it explores how the consumptive processes of the city marginalise said ‘alternative publics’. In sum, it intends to analyse how the urban rhythms of ‘beat’ patrol can be considered an exercise of ‘street-level politics’, and how this affects the mobilities of urban publics.

Josie Austin

Start date:
October 2011
Research Topic:
Exploring the relationship between young people’s gendered bodies, their sexual practices and their sexual subjectivities – A participatory study
Research Supervisor:
Dr E Renold and Dr Sara MacBride-Stewart
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The aim of this project is to explore the relationship between young people’s gendered bodies, their sexual practices and their sexual subjectivities in South Wales in its current ‘era of sexualisation’. ‘Gendered bodies’ are in this context understood to be bodies existing in and emerging from gendered discursive frames, in which hegemonic notions of masculinity and femininity have materialised and in which an automatisation of ‘gender-appropriate’ perfomativity has occurred (Butler, 1990). Since female bodies have been theorised to be more often objectified and ‘othered’, while male ones have been theorised to more often be presented as subjects and agents (Gill, 2008), this may include the extent to which young people’s bodies are lived and experienced as subjects or objects. ‘Sexual practices’ are in this context understood to be sexual behaviours young people engage in; and ‘sexual subjectivities’ are understood as the way young people understand themselves as sexual beings, and how they experience and make sense of sex, given the confines of their social worlds.

Although an open mind will be kept with regards to the nature of the relationship between young people’s gendered bodies, their sexual practices and their sexual subjectivities, two aspects will be foregrounded in the conduct and the analysis of the study. Firstly it will be emphasised what role the gendered body plays in determining young people’s sexual practices and sexual subjectivities, especially in relation to the accessibility and their experience of sexual pleasure. Accumulating knowledge as to how embodied notions of masculinity and femininity can have detrimental impacts on young people’s sexual experiences, including their sexual pleasure, will be beneficial in challenging such notions and working towards a society in which all young people are given the opportunity to enjoy their sexuality freely. Secondly it is of particular interest what role the sexual practices young people engage in play in reinforcing and subverting the process of the gendering of the body, as this may, as well as giving insight into the maintenance of the gendered body, present an opportunity for young people to work towards social and personal change should this be desired.

The project will take a participatory approach in which young people between the ages of 16 and 18 years, who will have often only just begun to engage in sexual practices with other people and are hence very much in a process of negotiating their changing subject positions, are given the opportunity to contribute to the design of the study and to express their thoughts and feelings in a variety of ways. The project will begin by carrying out focus groups with young people, in which the research questions will be addressed and the further conduct of the study will be discussed. Possible further steps include individual interviews, a range of creative methods such as diaries and collages, and a survey.

Talwyn Baudu

Talwyn Baudu
Start date:
September 2016
Research Topic:
Education languages and identity amongst young Breton and Quechua speakers in Brittany and Ecuador
Research Supervisor:
Elin Royles and Rhys Jones
Supervising school:
Department of International Politics,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

In what way, does school and civil society encourage pupils’ understanding of their indigenous identity, language ideology and cultural ownership?

There is increasing evidence of indigenous youth having multiple language varieties and multiple language use to perform certain identities to position themselves when interacting in peer-groups, classrooms, family homes, and outside of school. These varieties of identities are the day-to-day beliefs and language ideologies which young people co-construct according to the various challenges and opportunities they face. Indeed, by excluding beliefs and language ideologies of young people in school and society, there remains a strong distinction in the use of heritage languages within and outside the school gates.

Consequently, knowledge remains limited on how civil society and education negotiate a normative indigenous identity and language ideological space in its direct relation to shaping and/or neglecting a space for young people to negotiate their own distinctive one. This thesis will be focussing on two case studies where empirical fundamental differences lie in the curriculum and in the understanding of indigenous society. .

Netta Chachamu

Start date:
October 2013
Research Topic:
Equality and diversity training: An ethnographic approach
Research Supervisor:
Prof Valerie Walkerdine Dr Michael Arribas-Ayllon
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

I intend to study equality and diversity training in workplaces using participant-observation and interviews. I am particularly interested in the political implications of E&D training and in the interactions that take place during training.

Selected Recent Publications

Duschinsky, R. and Chachamu, N. 2014 Abnormality, Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology
Duschinsky, R. and Chachamu, N. 2013 Sexual dysfunction and paraphilias in the DSM-5: Pathology, heterogeneity, and gender. Feminism and Psychology 23: 49-55

Peter Davies

Peter Davies
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
A comparative ethnography of coal and steel communities: the social significance of literary representations
Research Supervisor:
Dr Eva Elliott and Professor Kate Pahl
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My project aims to examine how former coal and steel mining areas in South Wales and Yorkshire are represented in literature, film and other media and how these representations affect communities. The genre of the industrial novel has contributed to an image which can be perceived as one-sided, and in certain, circumstances, stigmatising. Academic and media reports of South Wales and Yorkshire can also present a negative perspective. This study will examine how literary and film projects and other meaning-making structures could counter these representations; and also how places like the South Wales’ valleys and South Yorkshire can become storied differently. The approach will be conceptualised through the suggestion that literacy practices are not independent of social context but are situated in an ideological framework in which reading and writing are intertwined with cultural and power structures. This project is linked to the WISERD Civil Society research centre and will contribute to two projects in the AHRC’s Connected Communities Programme: Representing communities: developing the creative power of people to improve health and well-being and Imagine: connecting communities through research.

Recent Publications

Norms and Values in Defining a Sense of Place in the University of Wales Trinity Saint David magazine The Student Researcher, 2 (2), pp. 49-58, May 2013

Oliver Ellis

Oliver Ellis
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
Investigating the mobilisation of national identity in the digital age: Comparing the digital practices of nationalist movements
Research Supervisor:
Prof William Housley and Adam Edwards
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

In recent times the persistence of nationalist politics has been evident across Europe – of both stateless nations, e.g. Scotland, Catalonia, and of nation-states, e.g. Front National in France or UKIP in Britain. With the emergence of digital media networks provoking accounts of the enhanced agency of political actors and movements, this research will look to map the field of digital activity of nationalist movements situated in the UK. It will explore the structure and organisation of nationalist, but also broader civic, networks in the emerging digital public spaces of social media, the prominent modes and methods of social media usage by actors as well as prominent nationalist discourses and counter-discourses deployed and contested in these spaces. However, this will also be supplemented by investigating how such online activity is situated within broader offline strategies. This will involve conducting various event-based case studies, with the EU referendum anticipated as a prominent case where national identities are to be mobilised.

Daniel Gray

Daniel Gray
Start date:
October 2014
Research Topic:
Misogynistic Discourses on Social Media
Research Supervisor:
Dr. Steven Stanley, Dr. Matthew Williams
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Investigation into misogynistic hate speech found on Twitter and other social media, employing big data collection and critical discourse analysis.

Kyle Richard Henry

Kyle Richard Henry
Start date:
October 2014
Research Topic:
Variations and Developments in the Use of ‘Zero-Hours Contracts’: The Case of Higher Education
Research Supervisor:
Professor Alan Felstead & Dr Surhan Cam
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Where once a colloquial term for some forms of casual employment (BIS 2013), the term ‘Zero-Hour Contracts’ (or No-Guaranteed Hours Contracts) has emerged as descriptive shorthand that encompasses a vast spectrum of employment forms. Despite this, much the of debate around ZHCs continues to pivot on a general “assumption that there is such a thing as a unitary notion of the Zero-Hours Contract – both in terms of a legal category of personal work relations, and as a clearly measurable statistical phenomenon” (Adams et al 2014: 3). Such assumptions have not been sufficiently challenged by the existing body of research (e.g. Brinkley 2013; CIPD 2013). There remains no systematic and context specific research into varieties of employment forms now included under the label. Similarly, there is no attempt to ground the concept of ZHCs – and the varieties of forms it covers – in relation to existing employment frames and ongoing processes of flexibilisation.

My research attempts to provide this clarity through institutional case studies in the Higher Education sector. Fieldwork involves qualitative analysis of formal employment contracts alongside interviews with HR personnel, managerial staff, trade unions, and employees.  It is hoped that my research will improve our understanding of ZHCs as a labour market phenomenon. It should also help to provide a necessary level of detail for balanced and effective policy making (BIS 2013).

Miriam Hunt

Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
Achieving meaningful community engagement in the museum
Research Supervisor:
Professor Bella Dicks and Dr Kate Moles
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Museum studies and policy, and museums themselves, are increasingly concerned with contributing positively to the sort of concerns usually reserved for more traditional social policy interventions. The purview of the museum is no longer solely to hold historical artefacts in trust and offer educational programs and events to the public: they are now considered to have an important role in matters of social regeneration by supporting strong, healthy communities. I am interested in finding out what sort of community engagement is happening at present, and what opportunities there are for new modes of engagement – and, importantly, what works.

Zoe John

Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
Violence
Research Supervisor:
Dr Robin Smith and Professor Emma Renold
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The PhD will explore the production and management of violent situations and identities, drawing from thinkers such as Erving Goffman and Randall Collins. Using the case of mixed martial arts fighting (MMA – a sport combined of practices such as kickboxing, Wrestling and Brazilian jiu jitsu) to elicit this topic, the study consists of three interrelating themes.

The first theme will focus on the strips of interaction in MMA’s ‘ethnographic places’ to elicit how ‘definitions of the situation’ relating to violence is organised and sustained. The second theme, the ‘fighting self’, takes interest in the strips of interaction through which being an MMA fighter are ‘done’, but also how they situate their self as violent, or not. The third aim draws upon the management and performance of the gendered sporting self, but also how the gendered body affects ‘doing’ fighter.

The research design is qualitative and ethnographic and will consist of several methods including participant observation, individual interviews, and analysis of online videos and comments. The sample will be gender balanced between men and women involved in MMA’s spaces, including coaches, competitive MMA fighters with varying skill status (amateur to professional), as well as non-competitive members of the MMA clubs.

ResearchGate:
Zoe_John

Eleanor Johnson

Eleanor Johnson
Start date:
October 2011
Research Topic:
The Business of Care
Research Supervisor:
Dr Finn Bowring and Professor Ralph Fevre
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The starting point for my Master’s research was the increasing privatisation and marketisation of residential care for the elderly in the UK. Anxiety over the ability of the residential care sector to promote elders’ quality of life has been expressed by the public, the media and within academia. The research reflected upon this anxiety in terms of wider literature concerning morality, emotion and work, considering whether declining conditions of service in the sector could be seen to rest upon a wider conflict between economic rationality and morality.

The research was conducted using a case study design which focused on one residential home, employing document analyses, participant observation and in-depth interviewing. An examination of the company’s discursive attempts to construct, manage and demarcate its employees’ emotional labour was carried out alongside an exploration of the carers’ own interpretations of, and enrolment in, the care-giving role. A consideration of the potential economic and emotional consequences of these occurrences was a key focus of the inquiry.

The study found that carers, encouraged by the company, naturalised their emotional labour. This had widespread consequences – from justifying the economic devaluation of the carer’s work to leaving her vulnerable to emotional over-involvement and client aggression. One positive consequence, however, was that the carer’s sincere identification with the care-giving role allowed her to uphold the rights of those within her care, even when these were in conflict with the economic motivations of her employers.

My PhD research intends to examine the care sector in greater depth, principally focussing on what it is that makes a residential home work to provide care which is socially valuable to both carers and the cared-for. By means of ethnographic research in several private residential homes, in-depth interviewing with carers and document analyses, I aim to consider the impact which factors such as training, institutional ethos, staff turnover, supervision, shift organisation, cost of care, engagement and reward, and physical layout have upon care-giving.

Scott Kerpen

Scott Kerpen
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
Post-industrial young sexualities in South Wales
Research Supervisor:
Matthew Williams and Valarie Walkerdine
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

I am interested in looking at how young sexualities in post-industrial South Wales are liberated and restricted by the webs of relations from which they emerge. I want to move away from social constructionist notions of free-floating individuals, who freely negotiate their position in the social world, by considering how forces beyond our experience and control may restrict or liberate our possibilities of becoming-other. By taking a post-humanist approach, I wish to develop an understanding of sexuality that decentres the human-subject by accounting for how both human and non-human actors work together to unfold possibilities of becoming-sexual. I will be interested in how place, space, materiality and technology shape the possible negotiations of sexual positions.

Julie Latchem

Julie Latchem
Start date:
October 2013
Research Topic:
Futures in brain injury rehabilitation
Research Supervisor:
Professor Joanna Latimer, Dr Sara MacBride-Stewart
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Brain injuries can cause catastrophic impairments which leave profound implications for patients, their families, health and social care. Many people with brain injuries undergo a period of rehabilitation, a future orientated process which looks to maximize function, physically, cognitively and socially whilst minimising medical complications.
Positive relationships between patients, families and health care professionals are fundamental to good care. These relationships however can become extremely strained during rehabilitation as efforts to control the future, to influence the outcome of injury, and to shape the identity and care of a patient with brain injury has to be negotiated within a situation of extreme medical uncertainty.

Using the concept of `futures’ as a lens this research explores the challenges in negotiating the triad of patient, family and professional relationships generated by the `not yet’ (Adam and Grove 2007) but imminent aspects of care and treatment in the present.

This research seeks to answer:
How are the futures of people with severe brain injury, their families and HCPs shaped and negotiated during rehabilitation through:
a) Day to day interaction
b) Organisational process and practice
c) Policy
What constitutes positive relationships in brain injury rehabilitation?
What challenges and tensions arise in the relationships between patients, their families and HCPs during the rehabilitative process, what causes them, and how are they resolved?

Selected Recent Publications:

Latchem, J. & Greenhalgh, J. (2014). The role of reading on the health and wellbeing of people with neurological conditions: A systematic review.  Aging and Mental Health. Early online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2013.875125

Latchem, J. & Kitzinger, J. (2012). What is important to residents with neurological conditions and their relatives in long-term neurological care settings. [Online]
Available at: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/jomec/resources/Long_Term_Care.pdf

Latchem, J., Kitzinger, J. & Kitzinger, C. (2015). Physiotherapy for vegetative and minimally conscious state patients: family perceptions and experiences. Disability and Rehabilitation. Early Online pp. 1-8 http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/09638288.2015.1005759

Latchem, J. & Kitzinger, J. (2015). Breaking down barriers: the importance of good relationships. Nursing and Residential Care 16(12), pp. 512-514.

Christina Nascimento

nascimentoc@cardiff.ac.uk
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
What types of poverty and disadvantage exist in older households experiencing fuel poverty in Wales?
Research Supervisor:
Dr Rod Hick, Professor Ian Rees Jones and Rhys Davies
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Fuel poverty affects around 30% of households in Wales, over a third of which contain an older person aged 65 years and over. Older people are particularly susceptible to fuel poverty and are disproportionately affected by its consequences especially in terms of respiratory illness, cardiovascular events, and excess winter deaths. As well as its negative effects on health, fuel poverty can severely impact on many aspects of quality of life.

My research aims to explore the types of poverty and disadvantage that may exist in older households experiencing fuel poverty in Wales. I am particularly interested in food poverty, benefit uptake, and cognitive function in these households.

Adam Pierce

Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
The relationship between the Welsh language and Higher Education participation
Research Supervisor:
Prof. Chris Taylor and Prof. Gareth Rees
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The commitment to the expansion of Welsh-medium education has been a key policy agenda for the Welsh Government, highlighted most recently in their Welsh Medium Education Strategy (WAG 2010).

There is no doubt that Welsh Medium education has played a crucial role in the successful revitalization efforts of the Welsh language, particularly across the compulsory education sector (primary and secondary phases). Yet, the progression of WM education and provision availability has not been as successful, and remains very limited across the Higher Education sector.

The establishment of Y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol in 2011 has attempted to tackle this issue by its commitment to develop and increase WM opportunities to students across all universities in Wales, and thus seeks to increase the number of students who undertake their degree courses, partly or entirely through the medium of Welsh.

However, the lack of literature and research that focuses exclusively on the relationship between the Welsh language and HE and HE participation clearly justifies the need to further explore this under-researched and under-developed field. As of yet the demand for Welsh medium higher education has not been systematically investigated, and so this PhD will aim to address this deficit.

I am particularly interested in exploring the linguistic progression of Welsh-speaking students from the secondary phase to the HE sector – and more crucially to identify and explore the key factors that might influence students’ decisions to study their HE courses through the medium of Welsh.

The investigation will comprise of a mixed-method approach:

  • Quantitative secondary data analysis of large-scale datasets including the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and the National Pupil Database (NPD).
  • Longitudinal qualitative research by following a sample of Welsh speaking sixth form students as they make their decisions regarding HE and Welsh Medium Higher Education.

Focus Groups/Interviews with Welsh-speaking university students undertaking their degree, either partly or entirely through the medium of Welsh, and those who are studying through the medium of English.

Chiara Poletti

Chiara Poletti
Start date:
October 2014
Research Topic:
Civil society and civil issues within Internet Governance
Research Supervisor:
Prof William Housley and Adam Edwards
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The first part of this study aims at understanding the interactions and communications processes through which civic issues such as hate speech and freedom of speech are framed online.

Rhian Powell

Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
A sociological exploration of bequest giving
Research Supervisor:
Professor Sally Power and Professor Chris Taylor
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

As household income and home ownership rates increase, more people are having to decide how their assets will be distributed following their deaths. The focus of this research project is to explore the dilemmas which arise when people think about leaving an inheritance. The research is about the ways in which testators seek to balance competing rights and obligations between the self, the family, charitable organisations and the state. This research will be an intra-generational study which will explore whether potential dilemmas are approached differently depending on the testator’s gender, ethnicity and religion. This study should provide an insight into how the relationship between civil society, the state and the individual is regarded.

Simon Read

Simon Read
Start date:
October 2012
Research Topic:
The Cultural Representation of Older People: Cultural Ageism in the Health Care Sector
Research Supervisor:
Professor Adam Hedgecoe, Doctor Luke Sloan
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My research examines how older people are portrayed in popular discourse, particularly television, radio and online / printed media, and whether this cultural representation extends any influence on the attitudes and behaviours of health care staff. The study uses a mixed methods approach incorporating a quantitative media consumption survey and qualitative semi-structured interviews with NHS and social care staff, as well as discourse analysis of cultural texts that health care staff commonly engage with. It is expected that the study will provide critical insight into the social and cultural influences that may explain the delivery of quality care or the lack of dignified care in the health sector, as well as assessing the potential to accommodate messages from the media discourse of older people into more effective dignity training or campaigns.

Selected Recent Publications

  • Hillman A., Tadd W., Calnan S., Calnan M., Bayer A. and Read S., Risk, governance and the experience of care. 2013, Sociology of Health and Illness [In press]
  • Tadd W, Hillman S , Calnan S, Calnan M, Bayer A and Read S., From right place – wrong person, to right place – right person: dignified care for older people. 2012 HSRN/SDO supplement of the Journal of Health Services and Research Policy [In press]
  • Calnan,M, Tadd, W, Calnan, S, Hillman, A, Bayer A and Read S ‘I often worry about the older person being in that system because often they – they’ve got more needs, are more vulnerable’: Providing dignified care for older people in acute hospitals Ageing & Society. [Accepted for publication]
  • Tadd, W; Hillman, A; Calnan, S; Calnan, M; Bayer, A; Read, S. Right place – wrong person: dignity in the acute care of older people. Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, 2011; 12(1): 33- 43

Erin Roberts

Start date:
October 2011
Research Topic:
Reducing Energy Consumption in Everyday Life: A study of landscapes of energy consumption in rural households and communities in North Wales
Research Supervisor:
Professor K Henwood, Professor N Pidgeon
Supervising school:
School of Psychology, ; School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

This study aims to understand those complex social practices that shape energy consumption; how they are emplaced in geographical settings, and how they’ve evolved through time (both through individual life-courses and generational time), informed by sunk investments in domestic infrastructures, and habitual behaviours. I will be employing innovative (narrative, longitudinal and visual) research methods to aid people to think reflexively about the ways they use energy.

This study is linked to the ‘Energy Biographies Project’, and is sponsored by the Welsh Government (Climate Change and Water Division) and Cardiff University’s Sustainable Places Institute. As I am a Welsh speaker, and I will be conducting my fieldwork in North-West Wales, information about my research will be available in both Welsh and English.

Hannah Scott

Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
Social class and living well with dementia
Research Supervisor:
Professor Ian Rees Jones, Dr Alexandra Hillman
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

I am interested in the mental health and wellbeing of older adults, and the factors that influence this. My PhD will examine how social class impacts on the ability of people with dementia and their carers to live well. I aim to use a qualitative research methodology, which will include in-depth interviews and a potential ethnographic approach. The PhD will form part of the IDEAL study (Improving the Experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life), a longitudinal study spanning several UK universities, charities and clinical research networks.

Hyo Eun Shin

Hyo Eun Shin
Start date:
October 2013
Research Topic:
Migrants and globalising cities: A comparative ethnography of cosmopolitan place-making in Cardiff and Seoul
Research Supervisor:
Prof Bella Dicks, Dr Robin Smith
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

I am interested in the multiple ways in which migrants as both local and transnational actors participate in and contribute to the (re)production of cosmopolitan cities as part of global restructuring processes. The research project is inspired by an emerging research agenda in migration studies which draws on sociological and anthropological studies of migration and transnationalism as well as discussions of urban transformations and spatialities in human geography and urban studies. With its comparative perspective, the project seeks to contribute to an empirically grounded understanding of the varying and dynamic relationships between international migrants and the cities of their (temporary) sojourn in a multiply connected but unequal world.

During my fieldwork in Seoul (2015/16) I am affiliated with the Institute of Globalization and Multicultural Studies, Hanyang University (ERICA campus, http://multiculture.hanyang.ac.kr).

Selected Recent Publications

Yi, H. and Shin, H. 2014. Conclusion: Border crossers as potentialities in globalising societies [German]. In Chang-Gusko, Y. et al. eds. Unknown diversity – Insights into the history of Korean migration to Germany [German]. Cologne: DoMiD Documentation Centre and Museum of Migration in Germany. 

Scheffer, T. and Shin, H. 2010. The case in the case-system. In Scheffer, T. Adversarial Case-Making – An Ethnography of English Crown Court Procedure. Leiden: BRILL Academic Publishers, pp. 219-249.

Scheffer, T. and Shin, H. 2008. Book Review – Fighting for Political Freedom. Law and Politics Book Review 18(10), pp. 871-876.

Rhiannon Jane Stevens

Rhiannon Stevens
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
Young People’s Access to employment in disadvantaged communities in Wales.
Research Supervisor:
Professor Bella Dicks & Professor Valerie Walkerdine
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My research will investigate how young people from unskilled households fare in gaining employment in local contexts of poor work and job shortages. The aim of this research is to evaluate different projects run by the People in Work Unit to discover the impact these programmes have had on individuals and in terms of a ripple effect in the wider community.

Some of the research questions for this project include:

  • What careers do people go into from community development?
  • Did those people who were engaged in the different projects become inspirational to others?
  • Are these projects successful in creating or breaking self-image?
  • What is the impact on Self Fulfilling Prophesy?
  • Does a whole community approach create a cultural tipping point for cultural change in the value of education?
  • Do people have aspiration without knowledge?

Elenyd Whitfield

Elenyd Whitfield
Start date:
October 2013
Research Topic:
Reflexivity and the Third Age
Research Supervisor:
Ian Rees Jones and Joanna Latimer
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

I will explore the subject of Reflexivity and ageing in relation to ‘personhood’ and the construction of the ‘self’ in late modernity. I will research the effects of the ‘reflexive imperative’ in the context of ageing, looking at cultural requirements around the performance of ‘choice’, autonomy, self-management and independence. Within this, I will explore issues such as stigma, consumption as identity performance, and social class.

Joseph Williams

Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
Homelessness Spaces Places Knowing
Research Supervisor:
Tom Hall, Robin Smith
Supervising school:
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The ethnographic study of a homeless shelter.

How space and place is created, used and known by members of the scene.

Looking at movements and the motivation for going and staying.

Sociology is a core social science.  It is essential to the understanding of human behaviour and the wellbeing of citizens, generating useful knowledge and a diagnosis of our condition that informs policy and public understanding. Doctoral students on the sociology pathway will benefit from a distinctive combination of leading-edge theoretical work, empirical study, policy context, and methodological innovation and expertise.

The Sociology pathway sits within the interdisciplinary School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University.  Sociological research here achieved a position in the top three in the UK 2014 Research Excellence Framework.  The pathway offers significant research expertise in a range of fields including:

  • culture, identity and transformation;
  • place, space and mobilities;
  • work and labour markets;
  • biographical and narrative analysis;
  • the sociology of knowledge and expertise;
  • studies of health,
  • illness and wellbeing;
  • big data sociology and social media analysis; and
  • aspects of sociological theory.

Cardiff University is also a recognised centre of excellence in the development of quantitative, qualitative and mixed sociological research methods.

The School of Social Science at Cardiff University has a vibrant research culture, and research students are a vital part of it. The School has a strong track record of international, peer-reviewed publication; it hosts several major disciplinary and methods-focused social science journals. Students on the sociology pathway routinely engage with staff and students from other disciplines and engage with the wide range of research centres, research groups and other forums hosted by the School. The School supports and organises a series of doctoral cohort events including an annual PGR dinner (a social event and celebration of doctoral accomplishment); an annual doctoral student conference (including paper sessions and poster competition); the student-run Postgraduate Café, and various reading groups which meet once a month to discuss a range of topics related to social research, politics and culture.

Students on the ‘1+3’ route follow the interdisciplinary Masters in Social Science Research Methods, and are provided with a thorough theoretical and practical knowledge of how to construct effective research studies, of the variety of data collection methods available to the social scientist, and of the principal methods of analysing social scientific data.  Students on the sociology pathway also take the subject-specific, compulsory module Advanced Concepts in Contemporary Sociology. Subject-specific training and student development continues throughout the doctorate with a wide range of reading and discussion groups, roundtable sessions, seminar series, and data analysis workshops.