Research

My work is a 'rhetorical sociology' of debates and policy frameworks around gender and intersecting forms of inequality. I am particularly interested in how the dominant coalition of neoliberalism and neoconservatism frames political rationalities and policy interventions, and where spaces of resistance can be found.

My 2014 monograph The Politics of the Body: gender in a neoliberal and neoconservative age (Polity Press) explored the difficulties of positioning for present-day feminisms when faced with a dialectic between neoconservative moralism and regulation or a neoliberal emphasis on individuality and personal choice. In 2015, The Politics of the Body was awarded the Feminist and Women's Studies Association book prize for outstanding feminist scholarship. 

My funded research has focused on how neoliberalism shapes contemporary higher education institutional cultures and facilitates sexism and intersecting forms of inequality, and how we might create cultural change. With Isabel Young, I co-authored the groundbreaking NUS report That's What She Said, a study of women students' experiences of 'lad culture' which was launched on International Women's Day 2013 and widely covered in the media.

My work on 'lad culture' and sexual violence was the subject of an Impact Case Study for REF 2014 and was awarded the 'Achieving Impact' prize at Sussex's inaugural Impact Awards in 2015. It was recently featured in the '12 Stories of Sussex' film and in a longer video on research impact, which can be watched below. 

I recently co-founded the Changing University Cultures collective, which blends sociology and organisational development work to try to help universities evolve their cultures in positive ways. This emerged from funded research on Imperial College's institutional culture and its impact on gender and intersecting inequalities and we are now implementing our methodology at Sussex. I am also Co-Investigator on the EU-funded project Universities Supporting Victims of Sexual Violence, which aims to create more open cultures in over twenty different European universities through delivering disclosure training to staff, and has trained almost 900 staff so far.