Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Sociology, Social Policy and CriminologyPart of Economic, Social and Political Science
(023) 8059 4859

Dr Silke Roth PhD

Associate Professor in Sociology, Coordinator, Citizenship, Governance and Security Thematic Cluster Pathway, South Coast Doctoral Training Programme

Dr Silke Roth's photo

Dr Silke Roth is Associate Professor in Sociology within Economic, Social and Political Sciences at the University of Southampton.

My research interests include understanding the intersection of individual and social change through studying biographical and organisational processes.

Dr Silke Roth is Associate Professor of Sociology. She joined the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology in 2005. After studying at the Free University of Berlin and the University of Connecticut (Ph.D in Sociology,1997), she did research on Weimar, Cultural Capital of Europe 1999 at the Bauhaus University Weimar (1997-1999). From 2000 until 2005, she was German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

She is interested in meaningful work and engagement for social justice. Her areas of research include the participation in and the impact of voluntary organisations, social movements and non-governmental organizations.

Her publications include The Paradoxes of Aid Work. Passionate Professionals (Routledge 2015), Gender Politics in the Expanding European Union (Berghahn 2008) and Building Movement Bridges. The Coalition of Labor Union Women (Greenwood 2003), journal articles in Social Politics, Gender & Society, Third World Quarterly, Sociological Research Online and the Journal for Risk Research as well as numerous book chapters and edited volumes.





Blogposts and Media


Research interests

I am interested in the causes, consequences and contexts of social and political activism at the micro-, meso- and macro-levels. At the micro-level, I have studied the relationship between work, volunteering and well-being in a life-course perspective. At the Free University of Berlin I was involved in research projects investigating activities in retirement directed by Martin Kohli. In this context, I have explored how volunteering provides stability throughout the life-course, compensation for unsatisfactory working experiences and family crises. My PhD research focused on female trade union participation in the United States and how activism can transform working conditions and careers. This resulted in my book Building Movement Bridges. The Coalition of Labor Union Women (2003) which received an honourable mention of the Collective Behavior/Social Movements Section of the American Sociological Association (2005) and was reviewed in the American Journal of Sociology, Contemporary Sociology, Critical Sociology, Voluntas, Industrial and Labor Relations Review and International Relations.

My major research in recent years focused on involvement in humanitarian aid, development cooperation and human rights work. The biographies of aid workers as well as the portfolios of aid organisations indicate that the boundaries between these fields are blurring. I consider the impact of the securitization and professionalization of aid on careers and aid relationships. My study contributes to the emerging sociology of international relations and humanitarianism as well as the sociology of work and occupations. Publications related to this project, include my book. The Paradoxes of Aid Work. Passionate Professionals (Routledge 2015), journal articles, book chapters and two co-edited volumes (NGOs im Spannungsfeld von Krisenprävention und Sicherheitspolitik (2007) and Transnationale Karrieren. Biografien, Lebensführung und Mobilität (2006).

Markus Luczak-Roesch (ECS, Southampton) I have recently completed a scoping study funded by the ESRC/DfID/NERC call ‘Big Data for Resilience’ which contributes to an evaluation of the Inclusiveness of Digital Humanitarianism (March – May 2015). We analysed Ushahidi and Twitter data in three crises (Haiti Earthquake, conflict in the Democratic Republic in the Congo, Ebola epidemic).

In 2014, Julie Wintrup (Health Sciences, Southampton) and I have started a pilot study on veterans transitions to civilian work and life.

I have a strong interest in organisational cultures and processes of coalition-building. On the basis of my case-study of the Coalition of Labour Union Women, I have developed the concept of a “bridging organisation”. My joint article Gender, Class and the Interaction between Social Movements with Myra Marx Ferree (University of Wisconsin-Madison) introduces the notion of “inclusive solidarity” which is a precondition for successful coalition building among heterogeneous constituencies. In addition to studying tensions and coalition building between women’s and labour organisations, I have studied the impact of the Eastern Enlargement of the European Union on women’s networks and the adoption of gender policies. In this context, I have published various articles, book chapters and edited volumes including Gender Politics in the Expanding European Union (Berghahn 2008) and Europas Töchter. Traditionen, Erwartungen und Strategien von Frauenbewegungen in Europa (Springer 2003) (co-edited with Ingrid Miethe, Giessen).

More recently, I have looked at coalition-building in the context of anti-austerity protests including Occupy London Stock Exchange using qualitative and quantitative methods together with Clare Saunders (University of Exeter) and Cristiana Olcese (LSE). Our research has been published in Sociological Research Online and will appear in the edited volume Austerity and Protest: Popular Contention in Times of Economic Crisis.

In November 2014, together including junior and senior academics from anthropology, Education, Political Science, Sociology and Social Work based primarily at German universities (including Giessen and Marburg) I was one of the founding member of the working group ‘Education of social movements’.

My research thus explores different relationships between paid and unpaid work in the public and private spheres which is carried out simultaneously or consecutively. I am interested how activism is based in and shapes everyday lives.

PhD supervision

I am particularly interested in supervising PhD research that address work, activism, biographical and organisational processes in a broad range of local, national, transnational and web-based contexts.


  • Jane Dunleavy, ‘Does the structure of federated organisations facilitate their involvement in local government-funded service commissioning?’ (with Paul Bridgen)
  • Christine Hatcher, ‘Community Organisations, Civil Society and Sustainability: Towards a New Political Sociology’ (with John Boswell)
  • Yahya Aydin, Neoliberal Urbanism at the Waterfront (with Derek McGhee)
  • Mochammad Junaidi, ‘Sustainable Microcredit Programmes in Development in Rural Indonesia: Gender, Cultural and Religious Perspectives’ (with Carol Davis),


  • 2014, Naomi Harflett, ‘”For Ever, For Everyone?” Patterns of Volunteering in the National Trust’ (ESRC Case-Studentship supported by the National Trust) (with John Mohan)
  • 2014, Roy Greenhalgh, ‘Volunteers’ Personal support and learning systems operating between volunteers, paid staff and management in two voluntary human service delivery organisations in the South of England’ (ESRC Case-studentship supported by the Institute for Volunteering Research) (with Clare Saunders and Bernard Harris)
  • 2010, Jana S. Javornik,’Exploring Maternal Employment in Post-Socialist Countries. Understanding the Implications of Childcare Policies’ (with Traute Meyer)
  • 2010, Heather Buckingham, ‘Accommodating Change? An Investigation of the Impacts of Government Contracting Processes on Third Sector Providers of Homelessness Services in South East England’ (with John Mohan)

Research group

Work, Organisations and Civil Society

Affiliate research group

Work Futures Research Centre

Research project(s)

The Impact of Transition on Gender Differences in Subjective Wellbeing in Post-Communist Countries

Director of Undergraduate Programmes, Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology

Board Member of Sociology

Sort via:TypeorYear



Book Chapters


Director of Undergraduate Programmes, Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology

Course convenor of

  • SOCI 1002 Transformations of the Modern World
  • SOCI 2003 Gender and Society
  • SOCI 3001 Comparative Sociology
  • SOCI 3074 Collective Action & Social Change
  • SOCI 3075 Project: Collective Action & Social Chang
Dr Silke Roth
Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number: 58/4041

Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Google+ Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.