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The University of Southampton
Sociology, Social Policy and CriminologyPart of Economic, Social and Political Science
(023) 8059 2022

Dr Charlie Walker BA, MA, MSocSc, PhD

Associate Professor of Sociology, Departmental Director of Postgraduate Research, Doctoral Programmes Director

Dr Charlie Walker's photo

Dr Charlie Walker is Associate Professor in Sociology within Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Southampton.

Charlie’s primary research interests concern the impact of postsocialist transformation in Russia and the former Soviet Union on identities and inequalities rooted in social class and gender, and are located within the sociologies of class, gender, youth, work and education.

Charlie joined Southampton from the Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre at St Antony's College, University of Oxford, where from 2007-09 he was CEELBAS Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Social Inequality in Russia and Eastern Europe. Prior to this, he received his PhD from the Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies at the European Research Institute, University of Birmingham, of which he continues to be an honorary member.

In addition to his research and teaching interests, Charlie has held a range of management roles at School and Departmental levels including: Director of Programmes for Economic, Social and Political Sciences and Deputy Head of School (2014-2017); Doctoral Programme Director, SSPC (from 2018); Director of Undergraduate Programmes, SSPC (2012-14); and Admissions Tutor, SSPC (2010, 2018). Outside of the university, he is a Trustee of the BEARR Trust (from 2017).

Research interests

Charlie’s primary research interests concern the impact of postsocialist transformation in Russia and the former Soviet Union on identities and inequalities rooted in social class and gender, and are located within the sociologies of class, gender, youth, work and education. His work has addressed:

  • Working-class men and masculinities in Russia and Eurasia
  • Youth employment, precarious work and labour markets in Russia and Eurasia
  • Class inequalities and identities in Russia and Eurasia, especially their moral dimensions
  • Vocational and higher education reform in Russia and Eurasia
  • The welfare of young people leaving care in Russia and Eurasia

Charlie’s work combines the application of social scientific theories and approaches with an area studies skillset rooted in an understanding of Russian language and Russian and Eurasian histories and cultures. His aim in combining these skills and approaches is not only to illuminate social change in what is now being termed the ‘Global East’, but also to reflect back on the ongoing ‘methodological nationalism’ of much Western theorising about social change.

Charlie’s doctoral and postdoctoral research explored processes of social stratification surrounding youth transitions to adulthood, focusing in particular on the influences of class, gender and place in shaping differential educational and labour market outcomes amongst young people in post-socialist states. His contributions to the field include the monograph Learning to Labour in post-Soviet Russia (Routledge 2011) and the edited collection Youth and Social Change in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (Routledge 2012).

More recently Charlie has conducted research on working-class men and masculinities in Russia, examining men’s gendered performances at home, work and leisure and exploring the relationship between these performances and different dimensions of wellbeing. This research has been the subject of a number of journal articles and book chapters and will be the basis of a forthcoming monograph. Charlie conducted similar research in Ukraine for a multi-country study based at the Institute for Development Studies, which explored the changing shape of masculinities and the wellbeing of men in a range of transition countries. He is also editor of a recent collection in the Palgrave Global Masculinities series, Masculinity, Labour and Neoliberalism: Working-Class Men in International Perspective (2017).

Another of Charlie’s core research interests is transitions to adulthood amongst young people leaving care in Russia and elsewhere in postsocialist Eurasia. A recent project, funded by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust, explored the forms of aftercare support available to leavers of both traditional state children’s homes and alternative care in relation to housing, education, employment and mentoring, as well as sources of resilience both within and after care. This research, which draws together insights both from state and non-governmental actors involved in managing young people’s transitions from care, is intended to act as a template for a wider project on care leavers in postsocialist Eurasia. Reflecting this research interest Charlie recently became a member of the International Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood from Care (INTRAC). 

Charlie has presented his research to a range of non-academic as well as academic audiences, including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD or World Bank), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the British Council in Russia, and the BEARR Trust.

Alongside his research interests, Charlie has interests in qualitative and ethnographic research methods, and was editor (with Sue Heath) of Innovations in Youth Research (Palgrave 2012).

Charlie is a member of the steering group of the Work Futures Research Centre, and a member of the Work and Organisations and Comparative Social Policy Research Clusters within SSPC.

He was co-Editor-in-Chief of Sociological Research Online from 2016-2020 and is a member of the editorial board of SRO and of the Journal of Youth Studies. He is also a long-standing member of the British Sociological Association as well as the British Association of Slavonic and East European Studies.


Research project

Economic state priorities wellbeing of vulnerable groups

Masculinities and well-being in contemporary Russia

Masculinities in Transition: Enduring Privilege?

Young people leaving care in the Russian Federation

A ladder to success? Understanding access to, and the value of, apprenticeships in care homes

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Book Chapters


Working Paper

Charlie’s teaching focuses on social theory, the sociology of class, comparative sociology and the sociology of youth. He is convener of the PGT social theory module Understanding Modernity (SOCI6035) and of the undergraduate modules Class Structure and Social Inequality (SOCI2017/3083) and Youth and Society (SOCI3008). He also co-teaches on Understanding Everyday Life (SOCI1001), Comparative Sociology (SOCI3001), and Understanding Social Change (SOCI6043).

Dr Charlie Walker
Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number: 58/4079

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