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Sociology research

Explore our sociology research across four areas of expertise

Sociologists research the complex processes that shape contemporary social life. They study the structures, institutions, organisations and cultures that influence people's lives, relationships, and social interactions. Modern societies are constantly changing, and sociologists study how these changes impact individuals, groups, and communities. Their research aims to improve social life locally and globally by generating knowledge and understanding. 

Our sociology research focuses on contemporary issues, problems, and controversies – driven by the ethical aspiration to make the world a better place for all. We use a range of methods drawn from a variety of disciplines – reflecting our interdisciplinary approach to many of the issues we recognise need to be addressed to create a better future. In doing so, we analyse contemporary social phenomena on a local and global scale while addressing the key issues of our time. 

Our research covers the following topics:

  • Social inequalities and identities
  • Power differentials
  • Questions of production and consumption and their consequences
  • Political and cultural controversies
  • Race and colonialism
  • Homelessness
  • Health and wellbeing

Our researchers are on the editorial and advisory editorial boards of leading academic journals including the Journal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change, the Journal of Classical Sociology, the European Journal of Social Theory, and Theory, Culture and Society. 

They're also members of professional organisations and charities in the field, including the Council for the Defence of British Universities, Friends Without Borders, The Vegan Society Research Advisory Committee, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Vegetarianism and Veganism, the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and the British, European and International Sociological Associations. 

Interested in a PhD in Sociology?

Explore our Sociology postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils.

Research projects

  • Celebrity Citizenship and Status

    We're examining the relationship between celebrity and citizenship, as well as the cultural apparatus by which celebrity status is realised, negotiated, revoked or sustained.

  • The wonders of the Zooniverse

    We're re-evaluating the existing economic models of volunteering in light of data obtained directly from Zooniverse volunteers, including attitudes, behaviours and responses to incentives.

Explore our Sociology areas of expertise

Find out more about the facilities and research methods that shape our Sociology research, in our four areas of expertise. Learn more about our recent projects, the academic and industrial partners with whom we collaborate, and the major funders who fund our work.

Identities and inequalities

We're asking questions around who we are, who is different from us, and who we want to be, to challenge structural violence and reduce inequality.

Boy in Delhi, India, collecting rubbish
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Sociology of culture

We're probing the link between culture and power, confronting societal issues, and looking at the ideological function of culture in naturalising them.

Man wearing Gucci trainers in London
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Social research methods

We're investigating the different methods, tools and techniques for studying social phenomena and generating information and data about all aspects of social life.

People meeting in a room at University of Portsmouth
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Social theory

We're drawing on classical and contemporary social thought, philosophy, political economy, social anthropology, and history to explain and analyse social processes, issues, and concerns.

Young child holding sign at a climate change protest
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Research groups

Peace, Conflict and Security Research Group

We're researching the complex reality of the struggles over the meaning of security, citizenship and rights.

A lone soldier with a gun stands in a desolate landscape
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Sociology and Social Theory Research Group

Our research is located in the disciplinary field of sociology and the interdisciplinary domain of social theory.

Students enjoying the Portsmouth Festival of Cultures
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