School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
Dr Simon Stewart
Senior Lecturer in Sociology
Simon is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology. Before arriving at Portsmouth in 2008, he worked as a Fellow in the department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He completed his doctorate at University of Sussex (2006), where he also taught a wide range of courses. Prior to that, he was awarded a Master of Arts degree in Postmodernism, Literature and Contemporary Culture (1996, Royal Holloway), and a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology (1995, Portsmouth).
Simon is currently coordinating the first year Observing Society unit and the third year Sociology of Culture unit. He is also co-delivering the second year Modernity and Globalization unit. He is supervising undergraduate dissertations and a PhD on the sociology of taste.
His research is grounded in the sociology of culture, and his main research interests include the sociology of taste and aesthetic value, middle class culture, cultural globalization and classical and contemporary social theory. Simon’s current research is concerned with theorizing our day-to-day interactions with cultural objects through which our aesthetic judgements – individual and collective – are formulated, and through which we decide what is to be prized. The prickly matter of value-judgement is a quotidian practice, an active practice, dependent on a number of dynamic contextual factors.
Simon’s book Culture and the Middle Classes (2010) is a sociological study of a societal grouping that has the popular title ‘middle class’. It argues that it is more precise to describe the middle classes as dominant groupings, and the book draws upon a wide range of characters from such groupings. It brings together a range of disparate sources on the middle classes and illustrates the extent to which social groups utilize the various assets at their disposal and seek to maintain the legitimacy of their cultural practices. The findings emphasise the continuing link between class and taste.
Simon’s second book, Sociology of Culture, will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013.
Stewart, S. (2013). Sociology of Culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. (forthcoming)
Stewart, S. (2013). Evaluating Culture: Sociology, Aesthetics and Policy. Sociological Research Online, 18(1).
Stewart, S. (2012). Reflections on Sociology and Aesthetic Value. Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory, 13(2), 153-167.
Stewart, S. (2011). ‘Cuts, Culture and Sociology’, presented at the British Sociological Association Annual Conference, London School of Economics and Political Science, 6-8th April 2011.
Stewart, S. (2009). ‘Rethinking Cultural Value’, presented at the 9th Conference of the European Sociological Association, ISCTE, Lisbon, 2-5th September 2009.
Stewart, S. (2008). Booknotes: Step by Step: Everyday Walks in a French Urban Housing Project. New Formations, 65, 149-151.
Stewart, S. (2011). Who are the ‘Squeezed Middle’? The Heckler, 2, 3-5
Seneca Productions, research advice (Channel 4 documentary, 2011).
BBC Radio 4, ‘Who are the Middle Classes?’ Interview on You and Yours, 19th October 2010.
BBC World Service, Interview, 7th March 2008.
Simon welcomes PhD candidates interested in the following areas: sociology of culture, sociology of taste/aesthetics, cultural globalization, social class, middle-class culture, classical and contemporary social theory.
Full research profile: Simon Stewart