Centre for Intimate and Sexual Citizenship

Part of Department of Sociology

Man and woman holding hands

We continue the long tradition of research on sexualities, intimate life and equalities at Essex

Our Centre for Intimate and Sexual Citizenship (CISC) was established in October 2009. We are committed to theory and empirical research within a global and interdisciplinary perspective.


CISC provides an interdisciplinary space for cutting edge theory and research on contemporary intimate life, with particular reference to families, relationships and sexuality. 

Intimate citizenship and sexuality studies

Current Essex scholars are specialists in the study of intimate life, exploring family practices, relationships and sexuality. Our members have a global perspective, doing research in societies in different regions of the globe. They are experts in drawing out the significance of private intimacies for public life.

The Centre for Intimate and Sexual Citizenship also develops the Department of Sociology’s rich tradition of sexuality studies. Much pioneering research on sexualities and intimate life originated at Essex in the early 1970s. Leading scholars such as Ken PlummerMary McIntosh and Tony Coxon transformed the field of sexualities, producing classic texts such as Intimate Citizenship: Private Decisions and Public Dialogues (2003).

This tradition continues with the current members of the Centre, who do a range of work engaged with intimacy, equality and citizenship.

Headshot of Dr Róisín Ryan-Flood
"CISC brings together exciting research from internationally renowned scholars and provides an intellectual and pedagogical resources for staff and students. It continues the tremendous tradition at Essex of pioneering work in the field of gender, intimacy and equality. CISC is committed to an intersectional feminist approach to the analysis of intimate life."

Highlights from our research

Our research projects

Members of the Centre work on a range of topics relating to gender, sexuality and intimacy.

Recent projects include:

Recent selected publications



Our events

We have a vibrant intellectual community which we stimulate through regular events, organised throughout the academic year.

Highlights from our events:

  • Adolescent Norms and College Experiences - Dr Laurie James-Hawkins, Deputy Director of the Centre for Intimate and Sexual Citizenship, held this seminar on the influence of early social norms about sexuality - 27 January 2021
  • Posting a perfect life: Affect, social media and fear of getting it wrong - Professor Rosalind Gill, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at City, University of London, share findings from a new research project conducted in Spring and Summer 2020. Professor Gill was lucky enough to have the opportunity to survey and interview a diverse group of more than 200 young people about their lives and experiences. Topics ranged from experiences of ‘lockdown’ to #BlackLivesMatter, from camera culture to body positivity, and offer an extraordinarily rich insight into young people’s lives on and offline. - 11 November 2020
  • Living with and against the couple norm - Dr Isabel Crowhurst and Prof Sasha Roseneil presented findings from their new book on the tenacity of the couple norm. - 2 December 2020
  • Challenges and opportunities for sex on social media during COVID-19 - Dr. Emily van der Nagel spoke from Australia about her new book and research on sex and social media. - 20 October 2020. 
  • In and Out: The importance of messy identities in bisexuality research. Dr Elizabeth Reed presented her research on bisexuality in the contemporary era. - 13 November 2019
  • Professor Ken Plummer: Liberation! - Professor Ken Plummer presented a fascinating seminar ‘protests Liberation! Remembering Stonewall and GLF’ to mark the 50th anniversary since the Stonewall protests Liberation! Remembering Stonewall and GLF. - 30 October 2019
  • Toxic Digital Intimacies symposium - Dr Roisin Ryan-Flood, Director of (CISC) Centre for Intimate and Sexual Citizenship hosted a one-day symposium exploring 'toxic digital intimacies', or instances of technologically mediated harm. - 19 September 2019
  • Difficult Conversations: A Feminist Symposium - A feminist symposium – this important event brought together scholars to discuss the ways in which ‘difficult conversations’ are a productive resource within feminism and help to bring about positive change. 

Our journal

Sexualities is a leading international journal and an invaluable resource, publishing articles, reviews and scholarly comment on the shifting nature of human sexualities. The journal adopts a broad, interdisciplinary perspective covering the whole of the social sciences, cultural history, cultural anthropology and social geography, as well as feminism, gender studies, cultural studies and lesbian and gay studies.


Sexualities publishes work of an analytic and ethnographic nature which describes, analyses, theorises and provides a critique on the changing nature of the social organisation of human sexual experience in the late modern world.

Our podcasts

CISC hosts a compelling series of seminar, webinars and symposia with world renowned global scholars that attract large audiences. Selective events are available as podcasts.

Get in touch
Get in touch
Centre for Intimate and Sexual Citizenship   University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3SQ
Department of Sociology University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ
Telephone: 01206 873333