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Academic Staff

Professor Pamela Cox

Position in departmentSocial Media/Web Officer
Staff positionPublicity and Recruitment Director (Autumn/Summer)
E-mailpamcox (non Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk)
Telephone2644 (non Essex users should add 01206-87 to the beginning of this number)
Office hourstbc

I teach and research across social history, social policy, socio-legal studies and criminology. I have presented two BBC television series: Servants (2012) and Shopgirls (2014). I also work as a policy consultant.

I am currently working on two new research projects. The first, After Care, (with crime historians Barry Godfrey, Heather Shore and Zoe Alker) investigates the long-term impact of 19th and early 20th century youth justice interventions. We use digital record linkage to establish 'what happened next' to a large cohort of delinquent, difficult and destitute children passing through England's early youth justice systems.  We raise questions about the uses of historical evidence in contemporary evidence-based policy making. Our early findings (summarised here) generated much media coverage and our full findings will be published in a forthcoming book, Young Criminal Lives.

My second research project focuses on a pressing present-day challenge - that of recurrent care proceedings in the English child protection system. I am leading an interdisciplinary evaluation of two pioneering interventions (Positive Choices and Mpower) working with birth mothers at risk of losing further children to care. We will be sharing our findings with practitioners and researchers at an event at the University on 30 June 2015. The project stems from my earlier involvement with the Suffolk Family Justice Council. I have written about this work in the Journal of Law and Society.

In 2014, I presented a BBC TWO series, Shopgirls: The True Story of Life Behind the Counter tracing the history of Britain's shopworkers and consumer cultures from 1860 to the present. I talk about the series in this podcast. I've also enjoyed writing an accompanying book, Shopgirls, co-authored with Annabel Hobley. The project was part-funded by the ESRC and inspired by my 2012 series, Servants: The True Story of Life Below Stairs, a history of domestic servants from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. This podcast has more on Servants and explains its links to my book, Bad Girls in Britain in which I explore the part played by domestic service training in the reform of delinquent, destitute and neglected girls. 

I've recently been involved in a number of events to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1974 Working Women's Charter. My TEDx talk makes the case for this - namely that only 4 of the original 10 demands have been met in 40 years - and History & Policy hosts our new draft charter.

I am on the executive committee of the Social History Society and an external examiner at the University of Lancaster. I recently joined the editorial board of the journal of Contemporary British History. I served as Dean of the Graduate School here at Essex from 2009-13.

I have recently published articles in History Workshop Journal, the British Journal of Criminology and the Journal of Law and Society. My co-authored and co-edited books include Criminology: A Sociological Introduction (2014), Crime in Modern Britain (2002) and Becoming Delinquent: European Youth, 1650-1950 (2002). 


BA (Hons) History, University of Cambridge, 1992

PhD, (on the history of girls' delinquency in Britain), University of Cambridge, 1997

Current research
  • 'After care: the impact of multi-agency youth justice interventions in 19th and 20th century England' - collaborative digital history project with Prof Barry Godfrey and Dr Heather Shore (£80,000 Leverhulme)
  • 'Reducing recurrent care proceedings: a service evaluation of Positive Choices and Mpower' - PVC Research Seedcorn Fund (£15,000)
  • 'A History of UK Shopworkers' - impact uplift grant (£40,000 ESRC)
  • 'Going Digital' - I was the principal grant holder for this series of creative, hands-on workshops helping humanities doctoral students to develop digital research skills (£60,000 AHRC)
Research interests
  • modern social and cultural history
  • history of social policy and crime
  • gender relations
  • youth justice and child rights 
Teaching responsibilities


  • SC111 Sociological Imagination
  • SC310 Youth Cultures
  • SC382 Crime, Policy and Social Justice (with Jackie Turton)
  • SC655 Current Controversies in Criminal Justice

Current research students

Lola Zappi - 'Young offenders in nineteenth century Paris and London' (visiting student from Sciences Po, Paris)

Simon Parker - 'Young offenders, friendship networks and desistance' (co-supervised with Darren Thiel)

Some previous research students

Dr Pere Ayling – 'Geographies of privilege: Nigerian parents and private school choices' (funded by University Campus Suffolk)

Dr Vu Hong Phong - 'A mixed methods analysis of drinking cultures in northern Vietnam' (funded by University of Essex ORSAS award). Vu Hong Phong is now teaching at the Vietnamese Academy of Social Science in Hanoi

Dr Wan-Chen Yen - 'Prostitution and the KMT in Taiwan, 1940-80' (co-supervised with Eamonn Carrabine). Wan-Chen Yen is now working on a TV documentary in Taipei 

Dr Carmina Borja Samperio - 'Attitudes to extramarital affairs in contemporary western societies' (ESRC 1+3 award, co-supervised with Nick Allum)

Sarah Richards - 'Intercultural adoption: Chinese girls in British families' (moved with Prof Lucinda Platt from ISER to Insit of Education)

Dr Diane Pranzo - 'Love, justice and Knowledge. A Comparative Study of Child Custody in the US and Sweden' . Diane Pranzo is now Assistant Professor (pt) at National ChiaoTung University, Hsinchu City, Taiwan

Dr Catherine Will, 'Medical reason: Clinical science and preventing coronary heart disease 1984-2004'. (2000-05, ESRC award, co-supervised with Joan Busfield). Catherine Will is now a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Sussex.

Dr Christine Rogers, A sociology of parenting children identified with special educational needs: the private and public spaces parents inhabit' (2000-2004, ESRC award, co-supervised with Jane Hindley). Christine Rogers is now Senior Lecturer at Aston University, having held previous posts at Keele and Brunel.

Dr Vivien Newman, 'Songs of Wartime Lives: Women's Poetry of the First World War', (Essex University PhD award). Viv Newman is a Dyslexia and Study Strategies Tutor at the University of Essex.

Dr Matt Houlbrook, ''A Sun Among Cities': Space, Identities and Queer Male Practices London 1918-57' (1997-2002, AHRB award, co-supervised with Prof Geoff Crossick). Matt Houlbrook is now Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, having held previous posts at Oxford and Liverpool.




Cox, Pamela and Hobley, Annabel (2014) Shopgirls: The True Story of Life Behind the CounterLondon: Hutchinson

Carrabine E, Cox P, Fussey P, Hobbs D, Thiel D, Turton J, South N (2014) Criminology: A Sociological Introduction, Routledge

Cox, Pamela (2013) 'Servants' Search for Respect', The Spanner, 0:7, 2

Cox, Pamela (2013) 'The Future Uses of History', History Workshop Journal, 75:1, 125-45

Cox, Pamela (2012) 'Marginal mothers, reproductive autonomy and repeat losses to care', Journal of Law and Society, 39:4, 541-561

Cox, Pamela (2011) 'History and global criminology: (re)inventing delinquency in Vietnam', British Journal of Criminology, 52:1, 7-31

Cox, Pamela (2010) 'Juvenile justice reform and policy convergence in the new Vietnam', Youth Justice: An International Journal, 10:3, 227-2

Cox, Pamela (2010) 'Towards a mixed economy of juvenile justice', Essex Human Rights Review, 7:1

Carrabine E, Cox P, Lee M, Plummer K, South N (2009) Criminology: A Sociological Introduction, Routledge

Cox, Pamela (2007) 'Compulsion, voluntarism and venereal disease: governing sexual health in England after the Contagious Diseases Act', Journal of British Studies, 46:1, 91-115

Cox, Pamela (2004) Girls in Trouble. Defining Female Delinquency, Britain 1900-1950 in MJ Maynes et al eds 'Secret Gardens, Satanic Mills: Placing Girls in European History, 1750-1960', Indiana University Press

Cox, Pamela (2003) Bad Girls in Britain: Gender, Justice and Welfare, 1900-1950, Basingstoke: Palgrave (reprinted in paperback 2012)

 Carrabine, E., Cox, P., Lee, M., South, N, (2002) Crime in Modern Britain, Oxford University Press

Cox, Pamela and Shore, Heather eds (2002) Becoming Delinquent: British and European Youth 1650-1950, Aldershot: Ashgate

Cox, Pamela (2002) 'Race, Deliquency and Difference in Twentieth Century Britain', in Cox and Shore eds 'Becoming Delinquent: British and European Youth 1650-1950', Aldershot: Ashgate, 159-177

Shore, Heather (with Cox, Pamela) (2002) 'Re-inventing the Juvenile Deliquent in Britain and Europe, 1650-1950', in Cox and Shore eds 'Becoming Deliquent: British and European Youth 1650-1950, Aldershot: Ashgate, 1-22

Cox, Pamela (1999) 'Recits d'exclues en Angleterre (vers 1900)' in Andre Gueslin and Dominique Kalifa eds, 'Les Exclus en Europe 1830-1930', Les Editions d'Atelier/Editions Ouvrieres, Paris, 38-48

Cox, Pamela (1999) 'Gender, Power and Penality', in 'Research on Women in Modern Chinese History', 7, 149-162

Cox, Pamela (1999) 'Futures for feminist histories', (review article) in 'Gender and History', 11:1, 164-168

Cox, Pamela (1998) 'Locking up or growing up?', juveniles in prison' in 'Criminal Justice Matters Bulletin', 31,2

Cox, Pamela (1998) 'Home Girls: Writing Delinquency and Neglect in Early Twentieth- Century Britain' in Kimberley Reynolds ed, 'Childhood Remembered London', Roehampton Institute, 64-76

Cox, Pamela (1997), 'State-sponsored citizens? Delinquent girls and certified schools in Britain, 1900-1933', in 'Resources in Education' (1997) ERIC Document Reproduction Service no. ED 409 508, (electronic journal)

Cox, Pamela (1996) 'Girls, deficiency and delinquency' in David Wright and Anne Digby eds, 'From Idiocy to Deficiency: Historical Perspectives on People with Learning Disabilities', London, Routledge, 184-206

Cox, Pamela (1994) 'From Mental Illness to Mental Health' in 'Society for the Social History of Medicine Gazette', 12, 8-9 

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