School of Sociology and Social Policy

The Bauman Institute

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In this section:

Core Staff

Dr Mark DavisDr Mark Davis

Associate Professor of Sociology
Founding Director of the Bauman Institute

My primary research focus is on the social and political consequences of consumerism and marketization in a global age, specifically how individual freedom and choice can be reconciled with the challenge of creating fairer, more resilient, and more sustainable societies around the world.

Building upon my research into the concept of shared social responsibility (Council of Europe, 2008-2011), my current research explores the concept of ‘community resilience’ (with Katy Wright) as a response to economic and environmental crises, and I am also developing a new sociological interpretation of money (with Bruce Davis), as the rise of new digital technologies and the emergence of ‘democratic finance’ is radically shifting our experience of the materiality of money in everyday life.

Dr Tom CampbellDr Tom Campbell

Lecturer in Social Theory
Co-Director of the Bauman Institute

My research is primarily concerned with how shifts in the economy re-draw the contours of how individuals and populations are valued.

I am interested in recent ideas of autonomia emerging from Italian Marxist writing on cognitive capitalism and how economies have shifted from labour / capital to consumerism / finance. My recent book explores how changes in the rationalities of government and economic developments problematised the variance in human capabilities we have come to call dyslexia.

My historical research has fostered a particular interest in how technological developments re-shape not just the social world in which we inhabit, but also the humans who inhabit this world. Recent publications continue this emphasis by exploring how ‘new technology’ is changing our lived experience of time.

Austin HarringtonDr Austin Harrington

Reader in Sociology
Co-Director of the Bauman Institute

Primarily my areas of research and teaching include classical and contemporary social theory; sociology of the arts and literature; sociology of religion; and sociology of European ideas and intellectuals. I have taught in Britain (Leeds, Derby), the United States (UCLA) and Germany (Erfurt, Frankfurt an der Oder) and have held post-doctoral positions in Vienna, Florence, Berlin and Los Angeles as well as pre-doctoral scholarships in Tübingen and Paris. In Germany in 2009 I was awarded a Habilitation for the field of sociology from the Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien, Erfurt.

Currently I am in the final stages of revisions to a large research monograph on the contemporary relevance of ideas of Europe and the West in the writings of a circle of German liberal-cosmopolitan intellectuals and social critics active in the years of the Weimar Republic and the last years of the Wilhelmine era. I am also at work on an English translation of Georg Simmel’s complete essays and shorter writings on art and aesthetics.

Katy-WrightDr Katy Wright

Principal Research Fellow at the Bauman Institute

I am currently carrying out research into community resilience, via ethnographic study of a large-scale renewable energy scheme in Swansea Bay. This research builds on my interests in community engagement and localism, and also involves exploration of perceptions and responses to financial and environmental crisis, and of ideas around social sustainability. My research engages critically with changing conceptualisations of citizenship and with the roles of private and third sector organisations in solving social problems. I have been particularly interested to understand the interplay between informal social engagement and modes of participation, and have drawn on Bourdieu’s conceptual framework to explain how and why participation changes over time and between different groups. I am committed not only to disseminating findings and insights through traditional academic routes, but also through direct engagement with public, private and third sector organisations.

Previously, I have carried out research at the Centre for Inclusive Education, University of Sheffield; the UNESCO Centre, University of Ulster; and the Centre for International Research in Care, Labour and Equalities (CIRCLE) at the University of Leeds. I completed my doctoral studies at the University of Leeds in 2011, and have taught at undergraduate and Masters level since 2007.

Katy is working with Mark Davis on our SLED research programme.

Dr Tim Braunholtz-SpeightDr Tim Braunholtz-Speight

Research Fellow in Democratic Finance
The Bauman Institute

I am currently working on the Bauman Institute’s FITTER project, examining how new forms of “democratic finance” (crowdfunding, community shares, etc.) might contribute to local economic resilience. The project aims both to generate sociologically-informed knowledge on the state of this growing financial sector today, and to facilitate an evidence-based and principled debate about the future of democratic finance across the academic, business, civil society and public sectors.

My broader research interests centre on questions of power and empowerment, democracy and resources. Specific interests include new forms of finance, money and development; community and democracy – particularly micro-level initiatives; poverty and inequality; and the politics of natural resources and the environment. My PhD examined power relations around community land ownership in Scotland. I have previously undertaken local, regional and international development policy research at the Overseas Development Institute, the University of the Highlands and Islands, and both universities in Leeds.

Bruce DavisBruce Davis

Visiting Research Fellow
The Bauman Institute

Bruce has worked as an anthropologist studying the use of money and energy in the UK and internationally for a number of commercial institutions.

His research fed directly into the creation of the world’s first peer to peer lending company,, and more recently he founded and now manages,, which uses crowdfunding to finance renewable energy projects in the UK. He is a fellow of the Finance Lab, director of the UK Crowdfunding Association and Non-Exec Director of Moveyourmoney.

Bruce is working with Mark Davis on our Social Life of Money research programme.

Steve HallDr Steve Hall

Associate Research Fellow
The Bauman Institute

Steve’s research is focussed on the technological, financial and governance challenges of transitioning to sustainable energy systems.

He is interested in the links between economics, energy, climate change and society. His work draws on quantitative and qualitative understandings of energy transitions. In particular, Steve is interested in the role of cities and regions in delivering infrastructures compatible with low carbon futures. He has undertaken international work on urban emissions modelling, infrastructure finance and energy decarbonisation.

Katy-RoelichDr Katy Roelich

Associate Research Fellow
The Bauman Institute

Katy recently moved to work in the field of sustainable consumption and production research, and her most recent role focussed on how consumption (and consumers’ interaction with infrastructure) and production (and the infrastructure production relies on) can be made more sustainable.

Postgraduate Community

Jonny BeachamJonny Beacham

Doctoral Research Student (2013-2017)
Lancaster University

I completed my first degree in Sociology here at the University of Leeds before moving to Lancaster. I am currently undertaking my MA in Sociological Research, before starting my doctoral research in September 2014.

My doctoral research explores the politics of ethical consumption in our contemporary age of austerity. More generally, my thought is informed by contemporary social and political theory, particularly Italian autonomist Marxism, with continuing interest in the work of Zygmunt Bauman, Theodor Adorno, Paul Virilio, Franco Berardi and Christian Marazzi.

Emma_bimpson_thumbEmma Bimpson

Doctoral Research Student
The Bauman Institute

Emma’s research aims to explore successive changes to housing provision for homelessness and the realignment of governance arrangements between the state, housing providers and citizens. Emma’s experience as a housing practitioner for a large housing association for 7 years led to a particular interest in the way that housing and welfare policy more generally impacts on individuals, especially within the current context of austerity. Furthermore, the complex and often conflicted role that housing practitioners are placed in through cuts to welfare budgets is particularly important and should contribute to critical policy debate.

Ben HirstBen Hirst

Doctoral Research Student
The Bauman Institute

“Liquid modern culture”, according to Bauman (2009:158), “has no ‘people’ to cultivate. It has instead its clients to seduce”. Since starting university, I have maintained a keen interest in the sociological and political problems raised by education; its meanings, its uses, its methods and histories. As someone who has benefited from the transformative experience of the foundation degree at the University of Leeds, my doctoral research focuses upon those questions that have been raised around the accessibility and so-called ‘utility’ of certain subject areas and will explore some of the sociological and political underpinnings of these debates, exploring to what extent processes of ‘liquid modernity’ have changed the character and function of the British art school.

Jack PalmerJack Palmer

Doctoral Research Student
The Bauman Institute

Since independence, Africa’s Great Lakes region has experienced genocide, war and failed democratic transitions. It has appeared shorn of the notions of modernity, civilisation and globality upon which the ‘developed’ world is founded.

I will counter this representation by demonstrating that despite the singularities of each episode of violence in the region, what unites them are macro-level, historical forces borne of the imposition of the very notions outlined above.

Contemporary divisions have their roots in the ‘civilising processes’ associated with ‘Western’ modernity and European colonialism. These divisions are exacerbated by the vast changes wrought by globalisation. There is thus potential to explore the region’s history in a uniquely sociological way, situating local violence in the context of the global history of ideas and processes.

Advisory Board

Professor Andrew BrownProfessor Andrew Brown

Professor of Economics and Political Economy
Leeds University Business School

Andrew’s research interests form a wide ranging and interdisciplinary project under the broadly defined fields of socio-economic research methodology and ‘political economy’ or ‘economic sociology’. In terms of socio-economic research methodology he has internationally recognised publications and expertise in critical realism, dialectics, mixed methods, large data sets, and approaches to interdisciplinary research. In terms of political economy I have internationally recognised publications, expertise and funding in several areas.

Professor Gary DymskiProfessor Gary Dymski

Professor of Applied Economics
Leeds University Business School

Gary’s research interests include Macroeconomics, Keynesian theory, Banking strategy and mergers, Urban economics, Money and space, Financial exclusion, Racial and gender discrimination in credit and housing markets and Development and inequality. Gary has published numerous books, articles, chapters, and studies on banking, financial fragility, urban development, credit-market discrimination, the Latin American and Asian financial crises, exploitation, housing finance, the subprime lending crisis, financial regulation, the Eurozone crisis, and economic policy.

Professor Ruth HollidayProfessor Ruth Holliday

Professor of Gender and Culture
School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds

Ruth’s research interests are primarily located in social and cultural theories of the body and identity particularly as they apply to class, gender and sexuality. Most recently I led an international ESRC funded research project exploring the phenomenon of Cosmetic Surgery Tourism – Sun, Sea, Sand and Silicone. My other recent project is a co-authored book with Tracey Potts on Kitsch. This book traces the shifting definition of a specific form of material culture from early modernity to the present day.

Professor Adrial FavellProfessor Adrian Favell

Chair in Sociology and Social Theory
School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds

Adrian is an interdisciplinary sociologist with a background in human geography, political science, political philosophy and comparative literature, and have a strong interest in mixed methods (qualitative/quantitative), research design, and the philosophical foundations of social research. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and on the editorial committee of Journal of Common Market Studies. He is also Professorial Academic Associate of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, Norwich, and a chercheur associé of the Centre d’études européennes, Sciences Po.

Professor Peter BeilharzProfessor Peter Beilharz

Professor of Sociology
La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia

Peter is co-founder and editor of the international journal of social theory Thesis Eleven: Critical Theory and Historical Sociology published by Sage. Since 2002 he has been director of the Thesis Eleven Centre for Cultural Sociology at La Trobe University, which now shares a Memoranda of Understanding with the Bauman Institute at Leeds in order to foster greater collaboration between the two centres.

Peter is best known for his work in social theory and socialism, for his intellectual biography of the Australian art historian, Bernard Smith, and his several books on Zygmunt Bauman. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. In 1999-2000 he was the Harvard Chair of Australian Studies, Harvard University.

Nick-EllisonProfessor Nick Ellison

Professor of Social Policy and Head of Department
York University

Nick Ellison is an active member of the UK Social Policy Association, and is currently Chair of the SPA Executive.

Funded research includes projects on the impact of internet-based information on neighbourhoods, disability equality in English primary schools, and publications include books and articles on the Labour Party, citizenship and changing welfare states. His research interests are in: Contemporary UK social policy; The nature and impact of ‘globalisation’ and the changing politics of welfare in developed welfare regimes; Citizenship in theory and practice.

Professor Keith TesterProfessor Keith Tester

Visiting Professor
Bauman Institute

Keith Tester has been Professor of Sociology at Hull since 2008, having previously been Professor of Cultural Sociology at the University of Portsmouth. In 2010-2011 he is also Professor of Sociology at Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea; Visiting Professor at the Bauman Institute in the School of Sociology & Social Policy at the University of Leeds; an Honorary Member of the Thesis Eleven Centre for Cultural Sociology at LaTrobe University, Melbourne, Australia (where he has been a Distinguished Visiting Fellow); a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; and a Research Associate of the Institute for the Study of Social Change at University College Dublin. He is also an Executive Committee member of the Histories of Violence web project at the University of Leeds.

Keith studied for his Ph.D at the University of Leeds, and the ‘book of the thesis’ – Animals and Society – was awarded the British Sociological Association Philip Abrams Memorial Prize for Best First Sole-Authored Book in 1992.  Keith is on the editorial boards of The Journal of Classical Sociology, Journal of Human Rights and Thesis Eleven. 

Keith’s main research interest is in thinking sociologically about the entwinement of culture and morality. For example, thanks to contemporary media we know about suffering in other parts of the world, but what do we do about it? What does this knowledge mean to us? Do the culture industries predetermine what we might know and do? His work raises these kinds of questions through the heritage of critical theory and, especially, the social thought of Zygmunt Bauman. His interest in culture has also resulted in publications on film and art.


istc-logoInternational Social Theory Consortium (ISTC)

The International Social Theory Consortium is a grouping of teaching and research programs in social theory across the world. It is concerned with new developments in social theory as an inter-disciplinary and post-disciplinary activity which transcends the usual divisions between the social science and the humanities.

Council of EuropeCouncil of Europe

The Creating a Europe of Shared Social Responsibilities project identifies and assesses the best ways for Europe to respond to the challenges of the current economic crisis, the threat of climate change, and the loss of trust in democratic institutions and processes as shown through declining involvement of citizens in the public sphere.

Compass logoCompass

Compass is an ideas and action based pressure group with over 50,000 members and supporters around the country.

New Economics FoundationNew Economics Foundation

The New Economics Foundation is an independent think-and-do tank that inspires and demonstrates real economic well-being.


The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce): an enlightenment organisation committed to finding innovative practical solutions to today’s social challenges.

Thesis elevenThesis Eleven Centre for Cultural Sociology

The primary purposes of the Thesis Eleven Centre are to develop further the network of local and global contacts and to seek to secure research funding to generate further innovations in critical theory while bridging the careers of graduates in transition.

PCI logoThe Polish Cultural Institute

Based in London, the Polish Cultural Institute is dedicated to nurturing and promoting cultural ties between the United Kingdom and Poland, both through British exposure to Poland ‘s cultural achievements, and through exposure of Polish artists and scholars to British trends, institutions, and professional counterparts.

indigoThe Indigo Global Humanities Project

The project is intended to create a new cultural space for young idealists to share ideas and visions that are inspired by books and ideas, rather than focusing upon superficial and materialistic cultural products in which the logic of consumerism ensures that the dominant focus is only on selling and publicising books like in other book fairs around the world.

Histories-of-ViolenceHistories of Violence

Founded and Directed by Dr Brad Evans in the School of Politics and International Studies, Histories of Violence is a multi-media forum dedicated to exploring the theoretical and aesthetic dimensions to the problem of violence.

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