MA, PhD, ACSS
- Primary position:
- Head of the Department of Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology
- Other positions:
- Co-Director of the Work Futures Research Centre, Co-Director, Web Science Institute
I have a background in Geography (which I studied at the University of Sussex 1981-4) and Urban Studies (also at Sussex 1985-1990) and moved into Sociology when I joined the University of Southampton in 1992. Since this time I have developed a range of research around the themes of gender, work, and identity and - connected to this - exploring digital innovation in the workplace, and beyond particularly through Web Science in collaboration with colleagues in Health Sciences and Computer Sciences (see Research).
I am currently Head of the Division of Sociology and Social Policy, which runs undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Sociology & Criminology, combined with Social Policy and Anthropology.
"My research interests span the sociology of work and organization and the sociology of technology - particularly the Web - and I'm especially interested in how the Web is changing working lives and organizations."
- News story by Susan Halford, Catherine Pope and Mark Weal
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The University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints)
Conference or Workshop Item
My PhD launched me onto a series of research projects on the gendered nature of working lives and organizations - published in articles and books including Gender, Careers and Organizations (1996, with Mike Savage and Ann Witz), Gender, Power and Organizations (2001, with Pauline Leonard) and Negotiating Gendered Identities at Work (2006, with Pauline Leonard).
In 2008 Pauline and I joined with colleagues Professor Catherine Pope (Health Sciences) and Professor Alison Fuller (Education) in establishing the cross-disciplinary Work Future Research Centre together the University's research 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 and the National Institute for Health Research. I am currently working with Pauline on a 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 . http://publicpolicy.southampton.ac.uk/ and continue to work with Alison (now at the Institute of Education) on a new project exploring 'botom-up' or 'employee driven innovation in healthcare. Funded by the ESRC as part of the LLAKES research centre http://www.ioe.ac.uk/research/159.html
this project aims to examine if and how the expertise of healthcare staff can be harnessed to meet the profound challenges facing the NHS and, in particular, the need to break down boundaries between acute and community care, and across professional divisions of labour. The project includes a comparative analysis of similar developments in Norway and France.
Organizational change has been a strong theme in all my work, and about 10 years ago I began to explore how digital technologies were changing work and working lives. This led me to a series of research collaborations with colleagues in Northern Norway, working in and around the Norwegian Centre for Telemedicine in Tromso and, via this circuitous route, to connections with Computer Scientists at Southampton. In 2008 we put together our successful application for the Doctoral Training Centre in Web Science and in 2009 launched the first UK MSc in Web Science. We have recently received a second round of funding for this from the EPSRC, which will support doctoral training in Web Science to 2022.
Pioneering the development of Web Science at Southampton has been a very exciting new phase of my academic career and led me in unexpected directions: for example, thinking about the politics of data and artefacts in linked data and the semantic web (Halford, Pope and Weal, 2012) and how social scientists and computer scientists can work together to develop theories and methods with which to tackle big data (Twitter in this case, http://soc.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/02/18/0038038513511561 .abstract; http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/366340/ ). Building on this, my colleague Les Carr (Computer Science) and I have recently established a suite of research projects on social media, designed to explore the theoretical and methodological opportunities and challenges of this new source of data http://www.southampton.ac.uk/wsi/research/social_media_analytics.page and build analytical tools for the Southampton Web Observatory http://web-001.ecs.soton.ac.uk/ .
I am a Director of the University of Southampton Web Science Institute, http://www.southampton.ac.uk/wsi/index.page with particular responsibility for interdisciplinary research
Primary research group: Web Science Institute
My current PhD students are:
- Julie Blanchard: Pre-teen Fashionable Femininity, (jointly supervised with Pauline Leonard, Sociology)
- Huw Davies: Young People's credibility practices online (jointly supervised with Nick Gibbins, Computer Science)
- Tim Davies: Open data and participatory governance (jointly supervised with Nigel Shadbolt, Computer Science)
- Caroline Halcrow: Web interventions for building urban community capital (jointly supervised with Les Carr and Wendy Hall, Computer Science)
- Mary Houston: Impact of digital communication on policy-making (jointly supervised with Graham Smith, University of Westminster)
- Becki Nash: Re-making bodies online - a study of cosmetic surgery (co-supervised with Catherine Pope, Health Sciences)
- Olivier Philippe: Social theoretical approaches to developing big data methodologies (jointly supervised with Les Carr, Computer Science, Jeff Vass, Sociology and Wendy Hall, Computer Science)
- Mike Saker: Pervasive gaming and convergence devices (jointly supervised with Pauline Leonard, Sociology, and Mark Weal, Computer Science)