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Sociology, Social Policy and CriminologyPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

Professor Pauline Leonard MA (Ed) PhD

Professor of Sociology, Director, Web Science Institute

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Professor Pauline Leonard is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and of the Royal Society of Arts.  


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

Pauline’s principle research interests are in diversity and work and she has published widely on gender and organisations, race and professional migration, age, employability 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 cultures. 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: Place, Space and Time (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 China, 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) Migration, Space and Transnational Identities: The British in South Africa (2014, with Daniel Conway), Immigration to China in the Post-Reform Era: Destination China (forthcoming, with Angela Lehmann) and British Migration: Globalisation, Transnational Identities and Multiculturalism (forthcoming, with Katie Walsh). 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. Most recently, I have focused on the impact of technological change-particularly AI, on work and careers. After conducting an ESRC funded industrial placement at Mott MacDonald, where I researched how AI may transform the infrastructure sector, a report was produced (with Dr Roger Tyers) :  Engineering the Revolution: A Social Approach to Digitisation in the Infrastructure Industry.

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. A new book Getting In and Getting On in the Youth Labour Market has been published (with Rachel J. Wilde) with Bristol University Press.

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

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Book Chapters



Working Paper

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 and Criminology, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number: 58/4058

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