Social Sciences

Susan Halford


Primary position:
Director, Web Science Institute


The University of Southampton
Professor Susan Halford's photo

"My research interests range from the sociology of work and organization - with projects on the third sector, the ageing workforce and employee driven innovation - to the sociology of technology and specifically the World Wide Web. I have particular interest in the politics of data and digital artefacts, information infrastructures and digital research methods."

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 Director of the Web Science Institute.

Useful downloads

    Web links


    The University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints)


    Halford, Susan, Leonard, Pauline and Bruce, Katie (2015) Geographies of labour in the third sector: making hybrid workforces in place. Environment and Planning A, 1-21. (In Press).
    Leonard, Pauline, Halford, Susan and Bruce, Katie (2015) ‘The New Degree?’ Constructing internships in the third sector. Sociology, 1-23.
    Halford, Susan, Kukarenko, Natalia, Lotherington, Ann Therese and Obstfelder, Aud (2015) Technical change and the untroubling of gendered ageing in healthcare work. Gender, Work and Organization, 1-17.
    Tinati, Ramine, Halford, Susan, Carr, Leslie and Pope, Catherine (2014) Big data: methodological challenges and approaches for sociological analysis. Sociology, 48, (4), 663-681. (doi:10.1177/0038038513511561).
    Prichard, J., Turnbull, J., Halford, S. and Pope, C. (2014) Trusting technical change in call centres. Work, Employment & Society, 1-17. (doi:10.1177/0950017013510763).
    Pope, Catherine, Halford, Susan, Turnbull, J. and Prichard, Jane S. (2014) Cyborg practices: call-handlers and computerised decision support systems in urgent and emergency care. Health Informatics Journal, 20, (2), 118-126. (doi:10.1177/1460458213486470). (PMID:24810726).
    Tinati, Ramine, Carr, Leslie, Halford, Susan and Pope, Catherine (2014) (Re)Integrating the Web: beyond ‘socio-technical’. World Wide Web, 1-2. (doi:10.1145/2567948.257695).
    Welch, Jennifer R., Halford, Susan and Weal, Mark J. (2013) Conceptualising the Web for post-conflict governance building in fragile states. Peacebuilding, 1-13. (Submitted).
    Halford, Susan, Pope, Catherine and Weal, Mark J. (2013) Digital futures? Sociological challenges and opportunities in the emergent semantic web. Sociology, 47, (1), 173-189. (doi:10.1177/0038038512453798).
    Pope, Catherine, Halford, Susan, Turnbull, Joanne, Prichard, Jane S., Calestani, Melania and May, Carl (2013) Using computer decision support systems in NHS emergency and urgent care: ethnographic study using normalisation process theory. BMC Health Services Research, 13, (111), 1-13. (doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-111).
    Turnbull, Joanne, Prichard, Jane, Pope, Catherine, Halford, Susan and Salisbury, Chris (2012) Reconfiguring the emergency and urgent care workforce: mixed methods study of skills and the everyday work of non-clinical call-handlers in the NHS. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, 17, (4), 233-240. (doi:10.1258/jhsrp.2012.011141). (PMID:23024183).
    Halford, Susan, Lotherington, Ann Therese, Dyb, Kari and Obstfelder, Aud (2010) Un/doing gender with ICT? NORA: Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Studies, 18, (1), 20-37. (doi:10.1080/08038741003626791).
    Halford, S., Obstfelder, A. and Lotherington AT Dyb, K. (2010) Getting the Whole Picture? New information and communication technologies in healthcare work and organization. Information, Communication and Society, 13, (3)
    Halford, Susan, Obstfelder, Aud and Lotherington, Anne-Therese (2010) Changing the record: the inter-professional, subjective and embodied effects of electronic patient records. New Technology, Work and Employment, 25, (3), 210-222. (doi:10.1111/j.1468-005X.2010.00249.x).
    Halford, Susan and Savage , Mike (2010) Reconceptualizing digital social inequality. Information, Communication & Society, 13, (7), 937-955. (doi:10.1080/1369118X.2010.499956).
    Halford, Susan, Obstfelder, Aud and Lotherington, Ann Therese (2009) Beyond implementation and resistance: how the delivery of ICT policy is reshaping healthcare. Policy & Politics, 37, (1), 113-128. (doi:10.1332/030557308X313714).
    Dyb, Kari and Halford, Susan (2009) Sociology. Placing globalizing technologies: telemedicine and the making of difference, 43, (2), 232-249. (doi:10.1177/0038038508101163).
    Halford, Susan and Strangleman, Tim (2009) In search of the sociology of work: past, present and future. Sociology , 43, (5), 811 -828. (doi:10.1177/0038038509341307).
    Dyb, Kari and Halford, Susan (2009) Placing globalizing technologies: telemedicine and the making of difference. Sociology, 43, (2), 232-249. (doi:10.1177/0038038508101163).
    Halford, Susan and Leonard, Pauline (2006) Place, Space and Time: The fragmentation of workplace subjectivities. Organizational Studies, 27, (5), 657-676. (doi:10.1177/0170840605059453).
    Halford, Susan (2006) Collapsing the boundaries? Fatherhood, organization and home-working. Gender, Work and Organization, 13, (4), 383-402. (doi:10.1111/j.1468-0432.2006.00313.x).
    Halford, Susan (2005) Hybrid workspace: re-spatialisations of work, organisation and management. New Technology, Work and Employment, 20, (1), 19-33. (doi:10.1111/j.1468-005X.2005.00141.x).
    Halford, Susan and Knowles, Caroline (2005) More than words: some reflections on working visually. Sociological Research Online, 10, (1)
    Halford, Susan (2004) Towards a sociology of organizational space. Sociological Research Online, 9, (1)
    Halford, Susan and Leonard, Pauline (2003) Space and place in the construction and performance of gendered nursing identities. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 42, (2), 201-208. (doi:10.1046/j.1365-2648.2003.02601.x).
    Halford, Susan and Savage, Mike (1995) Restructuring organisations, changing people: gender and restructuring in banking and local government. Work, Employment & Society, 9, (1), 97-122. (doi:10.1177/095001709591004).
    Halford, S., Goodwin, M. and Duncan, S. (1993) Regulation theory, the local state and transition of urban politics. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 11, (1), 67-88.
    Halford, S. and Fielding, A. (1993) The geography of opportunity: an analysis of gender-specific occupational mobilities in England and Wales 1971-1981. Environment and Planning A, 25, (10), 1421-1440.
    Brownill, Sue and Halford, Susan (1990) Understanding women's involvement in local politics: how useful is a formal/informal dichotomy? Political Geography Quarterly, 9, (4), 396-414. (doi:10.1016/0260-9827(90)90036-A).
    Duncan, Simon, Goodwin, Mark and Halford, Susan (1988) Policy variations in local states: uneven development and local social relations. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 12, (1), 107-128.
    Halford, Susan, Duncan, Simon and Goodwin, Mark (1987) Politikmuster im lokalen Staat: Ungleiche Entwicklung und lokale soziale Verhaltnisse. Prokla, 68, 8-27.


    Schroeder, Anna, Miles, Andrew, Savage, Mike, Halford, Susan and Tampubolon, Gindo (2008) Mobility, careers and inequalities: a study of work-life mobility and the returns from education, Manchester, UK, Equality and Human Rights Commission, 93pp. (EHRC Research Report, 8).
    Halford, Susan and Leonard, Pauline (2006) Negotiating gendered identities at work: place, space and time, Basingstoke, Palgrave, 208pp.
    Cooke, Lorelei, Halford, Susan and Leonard, Pauline (2003) Racism in the medical profession: the experience of UK graduates, London, UK, British Medical Association, Health Policy and Economic Research Unit, 22pp.
    Halford, Susan and Leonard, Pauline (2001) Gender, Power and Organisations, Palgrave Macmillan, 288pp.
    Exworthy, Mark and Halford, Susan (eds.) (1998) Professionals and the new managerialism in the public sector, Maidenhead, UK, Open University Press
    Halford, Susan, Savage, Mike and Witz, Anne (1997) Gender, careers and organisations: current developments in banking, nursing and local government, Basingstoke, UK, Palgrave Macmillan, 304pp.

    Book Section

    Halford, Susan and Tinati, Ramine (2015) Crowdsourcing. In, Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. , Wiley Blackwell.
    Halford, Susan and Fielding, Tony (2000) A longitudinal and regional analysis of gender-specific social and spatial mobilities in England and Wales 1981-91. In, Boyle, Paul and Halfacree, Keith (eds.) Migration and Gender in the Developed World. London, UK, Routledge, 30-54. (Routledge Research in Population and Migration).
    Halford, Susan and Leonard, Pauline (1998) New identities? Professionalism, managerialism and the construction of self. In, Exworthy, Mark and Halford, Susan (eds.) Professionals and the New Managerialism in the Public Sector. Buckingham, UK, Open University Press, 102-121.
    Halford, Susan and Savage, Mike (1997) Rethinking restructuring: embodiment, agency and identity in organizational change. In, Lee, Roger and Wills, Jane (eds.) Geographies of Economies. UK, Arnold.
    Halford, Susan and Savage, Mike (1995) The bureaucratic career: demise of adaptation? In, Butler, Tim (ed.) Social Change and the Middle Classes. Abingdon, UK, Routledge, 117-132.
    Witz, Ann, Halford, Susan and Savage, Mike (1995) Organised bodies: gender, sexuality and embodiment in contemporary organisations. In, Adkins, L. and Merchant, V. (eds.) Sexualising the Social: Power and the Organisation of Sexuality. Basingstoke, UK, Macmillan, 173-191. (Explorations in Sociology 47).
    Halford, Susan (1993) Feminist change in a patriarchal organisation: the experience of women's initiatives in local government and implications for feminist perspectives on state institutions. In, Savage, Mike and Witz, Anne (eds.) Gender and Bureaucracy. London, UK, Blackwell. (Sociological Review Monographs, 40).
    Halford, Susan (1991) Positive policies for women in British local government. In, Povall, M. and Lankau-Herrmann, M. (eds.) Equal Opportunity Developments for Women in Local Government: an Anglo-German perspective. London, UK, Anglo-German Foundation for the Study of Industrial Society, 29-43.

    Conference or Workshop Item

    Tinati, Ramine, Phillipe, Olivier, Pope, Catherine, Carr, Leslie and Halford, Susan (2014) Challenging social media analytics: Web Science perspectives. In, WebSci '14, Bloomington, US, 23 - 26 Jun 2014. Sheridan/ACM5pp. (doi:10.1145/2615569.2615690).
    Bazan, S., White, S., Staab, S., Vafopoulos, M., Halford, S., Hooper, Clare, Akkermans, H. and Weal, M. (2014) Web Science Education Workshop 2014. Web science education: sharing experiences and developing community. In, Web Science Education: Sharing experiences and developing community (workshop), ACM WebSci'14, Bloomington, US, 23 Jun 2014. WebSci’14 conference .
    Tinati, Ramine, Carr, Leslie, Halford, Susan and Pope, Catherine (2013) Exploring the Use of \#OpenData in UK Open Government Data Community. In, Digital Economy 2013, Salford, UK,
    Tinati, Ramine, Halford, Susan, Carr, Leslie and Pope, Catherine (2013) The Promise Of Big Data: New Methods For Sociological Analysis. In, The World Social Science Forum,
    Tinati, Ramine, Carr, Leslie, Halford, Susan and Pope, Catherine (2013) The HTP Model: Understanding the Development of Social Machines. In, SOCM Workshop, WWW2013: 22nd International World Wide Web conference,
    Tinati, Ramine, Carr, Les, Halford, Susan and Pope, Catherine (2012) Exploring the Impact of Adopting Open Data in the UK Government. In, Digital Futures 2012, Aberdeen, GB, 3pp.
    Tinati, Ramine and Halford, Susan (2012) Interrogating Big Data for Social Scientific Research - An Analytical Platform for Visualising Twitter. At Internet, Politics, Policy 2012: Big Data, Big Challenges?, Oxford, GB,
    Davies, Huw C., Halford, Susan and Gibbins, Nicholas (2012) Digital natives? Investigating young people’s critical skills in evaluating web based information. In, WebSci 2012, Evanston, US, 22 - 24 Jun 2012. New York, US, 4pp.
    Tinati, Ramine, Halford, Susan, Carr, Les and Pope, Catherine (2012) Mixing Methods and Theory to Explore Web Activity. In, Third Annual Web Science Conference (WebSci2012), Evanston, US, 9pp.
    Tinati, Ramine, Halford, Susan, Carr, Leslie and Pope, Catherine (2012) Using mixed methods to track the growth of the Web: tracing open government data initiatives. At World Wide Web 2012 (Web Science Track), Lyon, FR, 16 - 20 Apr 2012. 6pp.
    Halford, Susan, Leonard, Pauline and Bruce, Katie (2012) Geographies of labour in the third sector: making hybrid workforces in place. In, Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting , New York, US, 24 - 28 Feb 2012.
    Tinati, Ramine, Halford, Susan, Carr, Leslie and Pope, Catherine (2011) Exploring the UK Open-PSI community. In, SharePSI: Removing the Roadblocks to a Pan European Market for Public Sector Information Re-Use, Brussels, BE, 09 - 10 May 2011. 4pp.
    Carr, Leslie, Pope, Catherine and Halford, Susan (2010) Could the Web be a temporary glitch? In, WebSci10, Raleigh, US, 26 - 27 Apr 2010. , 1-6.
    Halford, Susan, Pope, Catherine and Carr, Leslie (2010) A manifesto for Web Science. In, Proceedings of the WebSci10: Extending the Frontiers of Society On-Line, Raleigh, US, 26 - 27 Apr 2010. , 1-6.


    Turnbull, Joanne, Halford, Susan, Jones, Jeremy, May, Carl, Pope, Catherine, Prichard, Jane S. and Rowsell, A.C. (2014) The work, workforce, technology and organisational implications of the ‘111’ single point of access telephone number for urgent (non-emergency) care: a mixed-methods case study. Southampton, GB, NIHR Journals Library, 164pp. (HS&DR Journal Series, (doi:10.3310/hsdr02030) , Volume 2:3).


    Research Interests

    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 .  and continue to work with Alison (now at the Institute of Education) on a new project exploring 'bottom-up' or 'employee driven innovation in healthcare. Funded by the ESRC as part of the LLAKES research centre

    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, .abstract; ). 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  and build analytical tools for the Southampton Web Observatory .

    I am a Director of the University of Southampton Web Science Institute,  with particular responsibility for interdisciplinary research

    External research projects

    Work Organization, Lifelong Learning and Employee Driven Innovation in Healthcare, as part of ESRC LLAKES (Institute of Education).

    Primary research group:  Web Science Institute

    Research projects

    Silicon Nanowire Arrays for Viral Infection markers ESPRC £1.3m

    Organising the Third Sector

    Ageing healthcare workers and ICT: Making healthcare workplaces healthy for 50+

    The work, workforce, technology and organisational implications of the 111 single point of access telephone number for urgent (not-emergency) care

    Teaching Responsibilities

    I am deputy director of the EPSRC Web Science Centre for Doctoral Training and teach on the MSc Web Science. I am currently supervising the following PhD students

    My current PhD students are:

    • Julie Blanchard: Pre-teen Fashionable Femininity, (jointly supervised with Pauline Leonard, Sociology)
    • Erin Brooks - Instagram for Marketing (co-supervised with Michelle Lowe, Business School)
    • Taryn Collins - How a third sector organisation perceives and response to change
    • Tim Davies: Open data and participatory governance (jointly supervised with Nigel Shadbolt, Computer Science)
    • Michael Day - Web Citizenship (co-supervised with Les Carr, Computer Science)
    • Caroline Halcrow: Web interventions for building urban community capital (jointly supervised with Les Carr and Wendy Hall, Computer Science)
    • Faranak Hardcastle - Web Governance (co-supervised with Luc Moreau, Computer Science)
    • Mary Houston: Impact of digital communication on policy-making (jointly supervised with Graham Smith, University of Westminster)
    • Mimie Liotsou - Influence in Social Networks (co-supervised with Luc Moreau, Computer Science)
    • Becki Nash: Re-making bodies online - a study of cosmetic surgery (co-supervised with Catherine Pope, Health Sciences)
    • Jess Ogden - Archiving the Web (co-supervised with Les Carr, Computer Science & Ann Curry, Humanities)
    • 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)



    Professor Susan Halford
    Reception Building 58 University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

    Room Number: 58/4049

    Telephone: (023) 8059 2572
    Facsimile: (023) 8059 3859