Cultural Sociology

Cultural Sociology is one of the department's main research areas. Within this category, we carry out both discipline-based and inter- and trans-disciplinary research.

Specific research domains include:

Cultural sociology, social theory, and the philosophy of culture

Areas of research interest include social theory of culture, human-animal studies, identities, and security and military cultures. The department is home to the BSA/Sage journal Cultural Sociology

Cultures of commerce and consumption

In the sociology and anthropology of commerce and consumerism we investigate the interactions between economic life and everyday culture. We see economic behaviour as inescapably cultural and the seemingly profane pleasures of commodities such as food or films as key to the understanding of contemporary society. Looking at issues such as fair-trade consumption in the UK or the interrelation between Sufism and commercial cultures in Turkish speaking communities we are interrogating the moral and religious content of secular economic practices. Reflecting on the ethical dimension of a commodity society and the moral questions around the consumption of animal products, we also reflect philosophically on commercial cultures.

Sociology of the arts, visual methods and processes of cultural production, and the sociology and anthropology of music

The department is the base of the SocArts scholarly network and home to the journal Music and Arts in Action (MAiA))

Music therapy

Prof Tia DeNora’s most recent book Music Asylums: Wellbeing Through Music in Everyday Life considers health and illness both in medical contexts and in the realm of everyday life

STS approaches to culture

In particular, lay expertise and local, or 'bottom-up', methods of knowledge production/transmission, professional trajectories and shifts, especially in biomedicine and biotechnology, and the governance of scientific innovation

The sociology and anthropology of the senses, auditory culture, sound studies

Investigating the ways in which sound is used and interpreted - Dr Tom Rice’s book Hearing and the Hospital: sound, listening, knowledge and experience examines the multiple ways in which listening acquires direction and focus within the hospital environment. It considers the sensory and specifically sonic minutiae that both underpin and undermine the production of medical knowledge and skill.

Human - animal relations

How humans think about and engage with nonhuman or other-than-human animals in a range of cultural contexts. Dr Samantha Hurn’s latest book Humans and other Animalsis about this interaction

Racial, ethnic and class-based identities

The interdisciplinary field of critical race studies, including whiteness studies, the formation of interracial (mixed-race) identities, and everyday understandings of genetics, genealogy and ethnicity. Dr Katharine Tyler’s most recent book, Whiteness, Class and the Legacies of Empire: On Home Ground, explores some of these themes. Her book is a personally mediated, reflexive ethnography of the historically influenced, geographically situated, embodied, classed and racially differentiated constitution of contemporary urban and suburban identities.

Cultures of warfare

This is a particular focus for Prof Anthony King, whose most recent book The Combat Soldier: Infantry Tactics and Cohesion in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries investigates cohesion under fire and a transformation in the western way of warfare