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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science
(023) 8059 3470

Dr Eleanor Wilkinson BA, MA, PhD

Associate Professor in Human Geography

Dr Eleanor Wilkinson's photo

Dr Eleanor Wilkinson is currently Associate Professor in Human Geography within Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Southampton.

Eleanor joined Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Southampton in September 2014. Before moving to Southampton Eleanor was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Leeds.


2011: PhD, Human Geography, University of Leeds
2006: MA, Gender Studies, University of Leeds
2004: BA, English and American Studies, University of Manchester

2014-present: Lecturer in Human Geography, Geography and Environmental Science, University of Southampton
2011-2014: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Geography, University of Leeds
2011-2014: Member of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies, University of Leeds
2006-2011: Teaching Fellow, Cities and Social Justice, School of Geography, University of Leeds

Visiting Positions
2013: Visiting Scholar, Geography, University of Waikato
2010: Doctoral Fellow, Centre for Excellence in Gender Research, University of Örebro
2007: Visiting Scholar, Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney

Research interests

I am a feminist geographer interested in exploring the intersections between intimacy, culture, and the political economy. I am particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches to understanding intimate life, drawing on methods and perspectives from socio-legal studies, feminist theory, and cultural studies. My research interests include feminist architecture, queer domesticities, singleness and the geographies of solitude. My research falls within three broad areas:

  • Geographies of gender and sexuality (particularly regarding the regulation of gender and sexuality in urban contexts)
  • Intimacy and care (late-capitalist transformations of intimate life; friendship; non-normative forms of care; housing and home)
  • Social theory (the political life of emotions and affect, feminist and queer theory)

Hitting Home: Single people, housing benefit reform and equalities law (ESRC Future Research Leader’s Grant 2015 - 2018)

Single people without dependants are one of the most vulnerable groups in terms of housing rights.This research focuses upon one specific policy that solely affects single people: the changed age threshold regarding eligibility for Local Housing Allowance. Since 2012, single people (without dependants) aged between 25 and 34 are now only entitled to a Shared Accommodation Rate, whereas previously they could claim for a 1-bedroom property. These changes have been estimated to bring savings of £215 million a year, but at what social cost? This research will be the first to look at the effect these changes have had on groups who are protected under the 2010 Equality Act (women, ethnic minorities, LGBT people and people with disabilities). This research seeks to question— what housing options do these people now have, and what risks do they face? An equalities approach is particularly pertinent at a time when there have been significant cuts in support for vulnerable groups: such as the drastic decrease to legal aid for cases around welfare, and current threats to key support services such as shelters and domestic violence charities.

For more information visit

Solitary Spaces? Single People’s Networks of Care in Contemporary Britain (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2011 - 2014)

This research questions the linking of legal rights and benefits to intimate attachments, and asks what could be done to better support those who live outside of traditional family forms. The home is often assumed to be the ‘correct’ space for caring, with childcare and care for the elderly best provided in the context of the (nuclear) family household. However, the recent recognition of same-sex partnerships and adoption in certain countries suggests the boundaries of care are beginning to shift. This research asks if there is further scope to extend the boundaries of care in order to recognise relationships that are not romantic, sexual or familial. The project, based in the UK, focuses upon people who identify as ‘single by choice’, who have no dependents and who live either in single-occupancy households or communally. The project will engage with those entering later life, typically transitioning from paid employment to retirement. It will identify the networks of care that such people have created, and the pressures faced when living outside of the romantic / familial form. 

PhD supervision

I would welcome potential PhD applicants interested in the following areas:

General areas: social geography, feminist geography, geographies of gender and sexualities, identities, social justice, urban cultures and consumption.

Specific topics: geographies of care, housing and home, personal life, lifecourse transitions, household formations, communal living, solo living, queer domesticities, the commodification of intimacy, utopian thought and practice, feminist activism, legal geographies, the geographies of welfare, spaces of solitude.

Research group

Population, Health and Wellbeing (PHeW)

Affiliate research group

Economy, Society and Governance

Research project(s)

Care theme

Faculty Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Champion (FELS)

Athena SWAN committee

Royal Geographic Society / Institute of British Geographers: Treasurer of the Gender and Feminist Geography Research Group



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Book Chapters




GEOG3070: Gender, Sexuality and Space (Convenor)

GEOG2027: Geographies of Wellbeing (Convenor)

GEOG2008: Researching Human Geography

GEOG1003: Society, Culture & Space

GEOG3018: Geography Research Project


PhD supervision

2014-2017: Eleni Bourantani, 'Re-gendering care in the contemporary UK: experiences of male primary carers'

2016-2020: Angharad Butler-Rees, 'My Existence is Resistance': Exploring spaces and forms of disability activism during a time of austerity'

2016-2020: Eliza Garwood, 'Narrating kinship and connection: the life stories of adult children raised by LBTQ parents'

2018-present: Laura Paddon, 'An investigation into the lived experiences of intergenerational homeshares'

Dr Eleanor Wilkinson
Building 44 University of Southampton University Road Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number NNN: 44/2074

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