Professor Pamela Cox

Department of Sociology
Professor Pamela Cox
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 872644

  • Location

    6.324, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    Thurs 9-11am



I teach and research across social history, social policy, socio-legal studies and criminology. I am chair of the Social History Society and also work as a policy consultant. My new co-authored book, Young Criminal Lives: Life Courses and Life Chances from 1850 (written 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. I am also working on another project that focuses on a pressing present-day challenge - that of recurrent care proceedings in the English child protection system. I am a partner, with colleagues from Essex and Lancaster University, in a 'change project' led by Research in Practice on recurrent care. Together we are working with a large group of local authorities to assist them in developing new services in this field. This collaboration has developed from an interdisciplinary evaluation that I led of two pioneering interventions (Positive Choices and Mpower) working with birth mothers at risk of losing further children to care. This project now features in the Ministry of Justice's 'good practice guide' and in articles in the Journal of Law and Society and the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law. I was recently a co-investigator on a further policy project led by Prof Aisha Gill scoping the needs of victims of honour based abuse, forced marriage and FGM. 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 and write about the underpinning research in a new article, 'Shop girls, social history and social theory'.I 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 chair the editorial board of Cultural and Social History and am a co-editor of the new BSA/Policy Press series 21st Century Standpoints. I served as Dean of the Graduate School here at Essex from 2009-13 and am currently Essex Sociology lead for ESRC SeNSS doctoral training partnership. I am a founder member of the Essex Women's Network. and a mentor for the Aurora women's programme within the Leadership Foundation. I have published in a range of journals including History Workshop Journal, the British Journal of Criminology and the Journal of Law and Society.


  • BA (Hons) History, University of Cambridge, 1992

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


University of Essex

  • Director of Recruitment, Publicity and Employability, Sociology University of Essex ( 1/9/2016 - present )

  • Essex Sociology Lead, ESRC SeNSS doctoral consortium, Sociology University of Essex ( 1/9/2017 - present )

Other academic

  • Fellow, Royal Society of Arts ( 2017 - present )

  • External examiner, Lancaster University ( 2014 - 2016 )

Research and professional activities

Research interests

modern social and cultural history

social policy, social justice and criminal justice

gender relations

youth justice, child rights, family law

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: innovative methods for service evaluationr' - ESRC/UoE Impact Acceleration Account Funding (£10,000)

Teaching and supervision

  • Votes for Women! Life and Work for Women in Twentieth Century Britain (public history module) (HR213)

  • The Public History Workshop (HR921)

  • The Sociological Imagination (SC111)

  • Researching Social Life II (SC203)

  • Stratification Across the Life Course: Inequalities From Cradle to Grave (SC208)

  • Ethnographic Research Methods (SC277)

  • Children and Young People: Criminological Approaches - Current Debates (SC311)

  • Crime, Policy and Social Justice (SC382)

  • Placement Year (SC700)


Chapters (10)

Cox, P., Shore, H. and Godfrey, B., (2018). Researching the history of victims. In: Doing Criminological Research. Editors: Davies, P., . Sage

Cox, P., (2018). Children and relational citizenship: a history. In: Justice for Children: A Developmental Perspective. Editors: Shaw, M. and Bailey, . Cambridge University Press

Cox, P., (2017). Borstals. In: A Companion to The History of Crime and Criminal Justice. 9781447325895

Cox, P., (2017). Juvenile crime in britain. In: A Companion to The History of Crime and Criminal Justice. 9781447325895

Cox, P., (2017). Industrial schools. In: A Companion to The History of Crime and Criminal Justice. 9781447325895

Cox, P., (2004). Girls in Trouble. Defining Female Delinquency, Britain 1900-1950. In: Secret Gardens, Satanic Mills: Placing Girls in European History, 1750-1960. Editors: Maynes, MJ., S�land, B. and Benninghaus, C., . Indiana University Press. 192- 208. 978-0-253-21710-3

Cox, P., (2002). Race, Deliquency and Difference in Twentieth Century Britain. In: Becoming Delinquent: British and European Youth 1650-1950. Editors: Cox, P. and Shore, H., . Ashgate. 159- 177. 9780754622284

Cox, P. and Shore, H., (2002). Re-inventing the Juvenile Deliquent in Britain and Europe, 1650-1950. In: Becoming Delinquent: British and European Youth, 1650-1950. Editors: Cox, P. and Shore, H., . Ashgate. 1- 22. 9780754622284

Cox, P., (1999). Recits d'exclues en Angleterre (vers 1900). In: Les Exclus en Europe 1830-1930. Editors: Gueslin, A. and Kalifa, D., . Editions de l'Atelier. 38- 48. 9782708234154

Cox, P., (1996). Girls, deficiency and delinquency. In: From Idiocy to Deficiency: Historical Perspectives on People with Learning Disabilities. Editors: Digby, A. and Wright, D., . Routledge. 184- 206

Journals (19)

Cox, P., Shore, H. and Godfrey, B., (2018). Tracking the Gendered Life Courses of Care Leavers in Nineteenth Century Britain. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies

Cox, P., Barratt, C., Blumenfeld, F., Rahemtulla, Z., Taggart, D. and Turton, J., (2017). Reducing recurrent care proceedings: initial evidence from new interventions. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law. 39 (3)

Cox, P., (2017). Garotas de loja, história social e teoria social [Shop Girls, Social History and Social Theory]. Revista Brasileira de História. 37 (75)

Cox, P., (2014). Knowing their Place: domestic service in twentieth-century Britain. WOMENS HISTORY REVIEW. 23 (4)

Cox, P., (2014). Inter-War Penal Policy and Crime in England: The Dartmoor Convict Prison Riot, 1932.. BRITISH JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY. 54 (1)

Cox, P., (2014). Black Market Britain, 1939-55.. BRITISH JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY. 54 (1)

Cox, P., (2013). The Future Uses of History. History Workshop Journal. 75 (1)

Cox, P., (2012). Marginalized Mothers, Reproductive Autonomy, and ‘Repeat Losses To Care’. Journal of Law and Society. 39 (4)

Cox, P., (2012). History and global criminology. British Journal of Criminology. 52 (1)

Cox, P., (2012). History And Global Criminology: (Re)Inventing Delinquency in Vietnam. British Journal of Criminology. 52 (1)

Cox, P., (2012). Feminism and Criminal Justice: a historical perspective ANNE LOGAN. Women's History Review. 21 (2)

Cox, P., (2010). Juvenile Justice Reform and Policy Convergence in the New Vietnam. Youth Justice. 10 (3)

Cox, P., (2010). Towards a Mixed Economy of Youth Justice. Essex Human Rights Review. 7 (1)

Cox, P., (2007). Compulsion, Voluntarism, and Venereal Disease: Governing Sexual Health in England after the Contagious Diseases Acts. The Journal of British Studies. 46 (01)

Cox, P., (2007). Compulsion, Voluntarism, and Venereal Disease: Governing Sexual Health in England after the Contagious Diseases Acts. Journal of British Studies. 46 (1)

Cox, P., (2001). Gender and crime in modern Europe. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW. 116 (468)

Cox, P., (2000). The orphan country: Children of Scotland's broken homes. WOMENS HISTORY REVIEW. 9 (1)

Cox, P., (1999). Gender, power and penality. Research on Women in Modern Chinese History. 7

Cox, P., (1998). Futures for feminist histories. Gender & History. 11 (1)

Books (6)

Godfrey, B., Cox, P., Alker, Z. and Shore, H., (2017).Young Criminal Lives: Life Courses and Life Chances From 1850. Oxford University Press. 0198788495. 9780198788492

Carrabine, E., Cox, P., Fussey, P., Hobbs, D., South, N. and Thiel, D., (2014).Criminology: A Sociological Introduction (3rd Edition). Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. 978-0-415-64080-0

Cox, P. and Hobley, A., (2014).Shopgirls - The True Story Of Life Behind The Counter. Hutchinson. 9780091954468

Carrabine, E., Lee, M., South, N., Cox, P. and Plummer, K., (2008).Criminology A Sociological Introduction, 2nd Edition. Routledge. 9780415464505

Carrabine, E., Cox, P., Lee, M., Plummer, K. and South, N., (2004).Criminology: A Sociological Introduction (First edition). Routledge. 9780415281683

Cox, P., (2003).Bad Girls in Britain. Gender, Justice and Welfare, 1900-1950. Palgrave Macmillan. 9780333744345

Grants and funding


Research into Honour Based Assault, Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage, to inform Victims� Services Commissioning Strategy and County DA Strategy

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire


Evaluation interventions to reduce recurrent care proceedings

University of Essex


A Social and Economic History of UK Shop Workers

Economic & Social Research Council

After Care: Youth Justice and its long term impacts, 1850-1945

Leverhulme Trust

+44 (0) 1206 872644


6.324, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

Thurs 9-11am