Photo of Dr Christopher Thorpe

Dr Christopher Thorpe

Lecturer (Sociology)

Amory 349

Office hours: Monday 12 - 13 & Thursday 09:00 - 10:00

Office: Amory Building, Third Floor, Room 349

I graduated from the University of Aberdeen with an MA and PhD in Sociology in 2003 and 2008 respectively. Prior to completion of my PhD, I was appointed as Lecturer in Sociology at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen (2007 - 2013).

My areas of expert interest comprise:


Social and cultural theoryclassical and modern

Historical cultural sociology –  particularly in the area of discursive representations and appropriations of Italy, Italian society and culture, and the Italian people

Deviance – symbolic and cultural dimensions

Social work, social theory and sociology – applications and appropriations of sociological and social theory for and within social work


My work explores issues and debates situated at the historical cultural sociology/ sociology of culture interface. I am particularly interested in the subjects of cultural representation, appropriation and the 'autonomy of culture' debate. My work explores these problematics and themes from a multi-disciplinary perspective, drawing on historical forms of 'data' spanning comparative English literature, social and cultural history, travel studies and other disciplines as they relate to the subject of discursive representations of Italy and appropriations of Italian culture, in England and later Britain during the period spanning approximately the English Renaissance to the present day.

I am currently writing a monograph for Routledge entitled: British Representations of Italy: An Historical Cultural Sociological Analysis



(2017) Social Theory for Social Work: Ideas and Applications. Routledge. ISBN: 0415826403


Books – co-authored

(2012 / 2018) An Invitation to Social Theory (2nd edition), Cambridge: Polity. With David Inglis. ISBN: 074564208X (hbk) 0745642098 (pbk) (translated in Turkish also)

(2018) Heads Up Sociology. London: Dorling Kindersley. ISBN: 0241296935 (hbk)


Books – editor of books – multi volume works

(2007) Food and Society: Critical Concepts in the Social Sciences, 4 vols., London: Routledge. With David Inglis and Debra Gimlin (eds.) ISBN: 0415392039


Book chapters

(2020 forthcoming) Inglis, D. and Thorpe, C. M. ‘Translation Encounters and the Histories of Globalization’, in Bielsa, E. and Kapsaskis, D. (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Globalization, London: Routledge.


(2019) ‘(Re-)Imagining Social Theory for Social Work’ in Webb, S. (Ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Critical Social Work. Oxford: Routledge. ISBN: 1138578436 (hbk)


(2014) ‘Critical Strategies for Implementing a Relational Sociological Paradigm: Elias, Bourdieu and Uncivilized Sociological Theoretical Struggles’, in C. Powell and F. Deplteau (eds.) Conceptualizing Relational Sociology: Ontological and Theoretical Issues, Vol. 1, Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN: 1137379901 (hbk.) ISBN: 1137379901 (pbk.)


(2013) ‘The Poetics of Travel in Byron and Shelley: Translating Italian Experience into Artistic Distinction’, in Yarrington, A and Villani, S. (eds.) Travels and Translations: Anglo-Italian Cultural Transactions. Rodopi B.V. ISBN: 9042037679 (pbk)


(2010) ‘Sociology for Social Work: An Overview’, in C.Yuill and A. Gibson (eds.) Sociology For Social Work. London: Sage. ISBN: 1848606508 (hbk). ISBN: 1848606516 (pbk).


(2010) ‘Crime and Society’, in C.Yuill and A. Gibson (eds.) Sociology for Social Work. London: Sage. ISBN: 1848606508 (hbk). ISBN: 1848606516 (pbk)


Refereed journal articles


(2019) Inglis, D. with Thorpe, C. 'Catwalk Catholicism: On the Ongoing Significance of Federico Fellini's Ecclesiastical Fashion Show', Religions, 10(9): 520.


(2019) with David Inglis 'Do 'Global Generations' Exist? From Mannheim to Beck and Beyond', Youth and Globalization, 1(1): 40 - 64. DOI:

 (2019) 'Reconsidering Cultural Representation with Field Theory: Continuity and Change in the Discursive Construction of Italy and the Italians from 1680 to 1830', Journal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change, 4(1): 1 - 15. DOI:


Thorpe, C. (2017) ‘Comments on Claudio E. Benzecry, Monika Krause and Isaac Ariail Reed’s Social Theory Now: Social Theoretical Dialogue and Development in America from a British Perspective’, Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, 18(3): 350 – 357.


Thorpe, C. (2011) ‘The Dual-Edged Sword of Sociological Theory: Critically Thinking Sociological Theoretical Practice’, Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, 12(2): 215 – 228.


Thorpe, C. (2009) ‘Beyond ‘La Dolce Vita’: Bourdieu, Market Heteronomy and Cultural Homogeneity’, Cultural Sociology, 3(1): 123 – 146.


Thorpe, C. (2008) ‘Imagining Italy and the Italians in the 'Age of Machinery': Spectres of Industrial Modernity in the Italianate Visions of John Ruskin and D.H. Lawrence’, Journal of Anglo-Italian Studies, 9: 79 – 106.


Thorpe, C. (2008) ‘The Distinguishing Function of Europe: attitudes towards and perceptions of Europe and the European Union among young Scottish adults’, Perspectives on European Politics and Society, 9 (4): 499-513.


Encyclopaedia entries

Thorpe, C. (2017) ‘Leo Strauss’, The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell Books.

Thorpe, C. (2017) ‘Vilfredo Pareto’, The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell Books.

Thorpe, C. (2017) 'Jean-Paul Sartre', The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell Books.


Book reviews

(2019) Thorpe, C.  'Manet: A Symbolic Revolution and Classification Struggles: General Sociology, Volume 1 Lectures at the Collège de France', Journal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change, 4(1): 07.

(2019) ‘Nietzsche and Sociology: The Prophet of Affirmation’, European Journal of Social Theory, 1 - 6.


Research interests

Review work

I was Associate Editor for the journal Cultural Sociology (Sage) from 2009 – 2013.

I have undertaken work as a reviewer for Cultural Sociology, Journal of Anglo-Italian Studies, Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, Journal of Common Market Studies, American Sociological Review, Journal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change

I served as an External Adviser for London Metropolitan University (2018)

I have reviewed chapters for Giddens' Sociology (7th and 8th editions) and Contemporary Sociology (Polity Press).

I was an academic consultant for Dorling Kinderlsey Publication on an introductory sociology/ social theory text entitled The Sociology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained – Jul. 2014 to Feb. 2015.

Research supervision

I have acted as LEAD SUPERVISOR and SECOND SUPERVISOR on a range of doctoral theses through to COMPLETION.

I am interested in supervising doctoral students in sociology in a range of areas which include:

CULTURE +...representation, 'Other' and 'otherness', appropriation, identity, class, reproduction, creativity, production, change, boundaries, nationalism, history, taste, consumerism, globalization, theory, deviance, criminology

Social and Cultural theory

I have particular expertise in the theoretical work of Pierre Bourdieu, Norbert Elias and Jeffrey Alexander

Historical Cultural Sociology/ Sociology of Culture

Particularly as applied to the discursive representations of Italy, Italian culture, Anglo-Italian relations, England, Britain

Social work, social theory and sociology

In particular, the use and application of sociological and social theoretical ways of seeing and modes of reasoning in and across a wide range of areas of social work theory and practice




Research students



External impact and engagement

I am Book Review Editor for the Journal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change (Lectito)

I am Exeternal Examiner for London Metropolitan University (2018 - present)

I am currently in dialogue with the Italian Embassy in order as part of an ongoing initiative to maintain and develop cultural outreach



During my time as an undergraduate and postgraduate student I lived and worked in Northern Italy for a number of years, spending time between Lake Garda and Verona. I am fluent in Italian and undertake occasional translation work for Italian broadsheet newspapers and Sunday magazine articles. My interest in Italian culture and the Italians more generally formed the basis for my PhD thesis, which comprised an historical cultural sociology of discursive representations of Italy and the Italians in England from 1450 to the present day. I have lectured on the subject of Anglo-Italian cultural relations to various Universities in Britain and Italy and the British Italian Society.

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