Department of Sociology

Our research

A row of old looking library books

Shaping sociology and society

We're top 20 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014, mainstream universities, THE 2014).

We work with departments across the University and around the world, collaborating on cutting edge research. Our students become part of this community and learn how to understand and challenge the world.

We shape society today advising the UN, government departments, think tanks and public bodies around the world on issues as diverse as the rights of indigenous peoples, the regulation of the building industry, and organised crime and terrorism.

Our academic staff are experts in their fields, developing new theoretical and methodological approaches to understand the dynamics of social life.

Research groups

Our research falls under five broad groups, all reflecting our strengths.


  1. Social divisions and economic life: key themes are structured inequality, the changing nature of work, advertising and commercial culture, and migration and minorities.
  2. Culture, identity and subjectivity: key themes are identity and subjectivity, oral history and personal narrative, and the culture industry.
  3. Criminal justice and public policy: key themes are health and healthcare, environmental issues, criminology, ageing and pensions.
  4. Transnationalism, nation and rights: key themes are citizenship and human rights, international migration, multi-culturalism, indigenous rights, and reconfiguring the nation.
  5. Sociological foundations - theory and method: key themes are advanced qualitative and quantitative techniques, social structures, the micro-dynamics of social life, and social theories.


Our case studies

Read about our recent research in our case studies:


Read our papers

Read our latest cutting-edge sociology research papers in the Essex Research Repository. Explore our publications and see the wide range of fields we cover.

See papers