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Social Sciences: Sociology, Social Policy & CriminologyPart of Social Sciences

Professor Pauline Leonard MA (Ed) PhD

Head of the Department of Sociology, Social Policy, Criminology & Anthropology, Professor of Sociology,Director of the ESRC Doctoral Training Centre

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Professor Pauline Leonard is Professor of Sociology and Head of the Department of Sociology, Social Policy, Criminology & Anthropology within Social Sciences at the University of Southampton. I am also Director of the University of Southampton’s ESRC Doctoral Training Centre.

My research interests are in work and organization, primarily in the areas of organizational change, gender, race and identity and skilled labour migration.

I studied Sociology at the University of Reading before qualifying as a teacher at the Institute of Education, University of London. After teaching at further and higher educational levels in both the UK and Hong Kong, I came to the University of Southampton in 1990 to take a Masters (Education) and then progressed to study for a PhD (1991-5, ESRC funded).

My principle research interests are in diversity and work, with particular interests in gender and organisations, race and professional migration, age and careers.





Research interests

I have a longstanding interest in gender, work and organization; in particular taking a poststructuralist approach to explore how women are positioned through organizational discourses and communication. This work was published in articles and led to two books, including Gender, Power and Organizations (2001, with Susan Halford) and Negotiating Gendered Identities at Work (2006, with Susan Halford).

I am also fascinated in how working lives and aspects of identity such as gender and race are transformed through processes of migration. I have conducted empirical research in both Hong Kong and South Africa, looking at how whiteness in particular provides an important resource in the making of new lives and identities in postcolonial contexts. This work has been published in articles and books including Expatriate Identities in Postcolonial Organizations: Working Whiteness (2010) and, most recently, Migration, Space and Transnational Identities: The British in South Africa (2014, with Daniel Conway). I have also explored the impact of EU Accession State migration on Southampton (with Derek McGhee, 2008).

My interest in the changing nature of working lives has also been pursued through research which has explored how changing working space can impact on senses of identity and well-being. Research funded by the British Council of Offices led to the report Making the Workplace Work and an article which won a BSA Climate Change Prize in 2014.

I have also conducted research on the third sector, as part of the ESRC’s Third Sector Research Centre, in a project entitled Third Sector Organizations: working lives and careers (with Susan Halford and Katie Bruce). More recently, I have turned to explore how age intersects with work and careers through two exciting new projects: one looking at the experiences of older apprentices in England (with Alison Fuller, Lorna Unwin and Gayna Davey) and one, conducted with colleagues at the ESRC’s LLAKES Research Centre, Institute of Education, University College, London, looking at young people’s entry routes into different regional labour markets in times of austerity.

In 2008 I joined with colleagues Professor Susan Halford (Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology), Professor Catherine Pope (Health Sciences) and Professor Alison Fuller (Education) in establishing the cross-disciplinary Work Future Research Centre. This forms a hub to bring together the University's research and expertise on the changing nature of work and organization in the 21st century. Since this time we have organized many high-profile events and worked on projects for the ESRC, Nuffield, the Norwegian Research Council, recently conducting a scoping review on The New Dynamics of Work to inform ESRC strategy in this important area of research, and a major Policy Commission Gender Equality at Work: how far have we come & how far do we have to go? for the University's own Public Policy@Southampton initiative

Primary research group: Work Futures Research Centre

Research project(s)

Does Apprenticeship Work for Adults? The experiences of adult apprentices in England.

Office space: Performance, Productivity and Practice

Organising the Third Sector

The British in South Africa: Continuity or Change?

Getting in and getting on in the youth labour market: entry process, under-employment and skill formation in regional economies



Book Section(s)



I am currently Head of Teaching Programmes in the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology. I teach on postgraduate units on Philosophy and methods in social science and Designing a research project as well as monthly training sessions for the ESRC DTC.

PhD Supervision

I am currently supervising the following research students:

  • Julie Blanchard - Pre-teen Fashionable Femininity, (jointly supervised with Susan Halford,SSPC)
  • Margarida Viera Cheung- New identities in Macau (jointly supervised with Derek McGhee, SSPC)
  • Matt Healy - Use of Technology in Careers Service (jointly supervised with Milena Buchs, SSPC)
  • Aasia Nisar - Can sustainable communities be achieved (Jointly supervised with Milena Buchs, SSPC)
  • Mike Saker - Convergence Devices and Pervasive Play (jointly supervised with Susan Halford SSPC and Mark Weal ECS)
  • Jonny Scott- On-line news (jointly supervised with David Millard, ECS)
  • Daria Tkacz - The experiences of Polish pupils in primary education in the UK: A case study of Southampton (jointly supervised with Derek McGhee and Charlie Walker SSPC)
  • Magda Zasada The comparative performance of social enterprises, charities and public provision in delivering health and social care for people with long term health problems
Professor Pauline Leonard
Sociology, Social Policy, Criminology University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number:58/4049

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