People

Professor John Preston

Deputy Dean (Research) (Social Sciences) and Professor (R)
Department of Sociology
Professor John Preston

Profile

Biography

John is an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Leadership Fellow in Conflict, Crime and Security. John works on the sociology of disasters, emergencies and existential threat as well as the sociology of education. John's work considers the racial and classed contexts of preparedness campaigns for disasters and emergencies. This has involved analysis of preparedness campaigns and films from the Cold War in the UK and US, reappraising working class children's agency in the Aberfan disaster, community case studies on the racialization of public information for terrorist attacks, comparative analysis of national cultures of preparedness and critiquing popular conceptions of existential threat from nuclear war to A.I. 'super-intelligence'. John has acted as PI on both ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) and EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Science Research Council) interdisciplinary projects related to preparedness and disasters. His ESRC Leadership Fellowship examines preparedness cultures across a number of comparative contexts (UK, US, Japan, Germany and New Zealand). John has also written widely on issues of skill and education where his research has been funded by UNESCO and the EU. His latest book, "Competence Based Education and Training and the End of Human Learning: the Existential Threat of Competency" (2017) argues that competence based approaches to skill and work are not compatible with modernist notions of pedagogy and humanity. He is applying this work on the future of humanity and skill as co-investigator on an EPSRC project ('Chatty Factories') which considers the future of human / robot / A.I. work in manufacturing industries. Research interests:- - Preparedness and security - Existential Threat - Critical Race Theory / Whiteness Studies - Critical theory and Marxism - Skills and education - A.I., robotics and the future of work and humanity

Appointments

University of Essex

  • Professor of Sociology and Deputy Director of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Sociology, University of Essex (8/1/2018 - present)

Other academic

  • Professor of Education, Education, Bath Spa University (1/9/2017 - 7/1/2018)

  • Professor and Director of Research, Social Work, Social Policy and Education, University of East London (1/9/2009 - 1/9/2017)

Publications

Journal articles (26)

Preston, J., (2017). Two nations underground: building schools to survive nuclear war and desegregation in the 1960s. Race Ethnicity and Education. 20 (1), 30-41

Kitagawa, K., Preston, J. and Chadderton, C., (2017). Preparing for disaster: a comparative analysis of education for critical infrastructure collapse. Journal of Risk Research. 20 (11), 1450-1465

Preston, J., (2016). From Aberfan to the ‘Canvey Factor’: schools, children and industrial disasters. British Journal of Sociology of Education. 37 (4), 607-622

Preston, J., (2016). Zombie pedagogies: the problems with using the undead in public pedagogies for emergencies. Jahrbuch für Pädagogik. 2016 (1), 211-226

Preston, J., (2015). A golden age of security and education? Adult education for civil defence in the United States 1950–1970. British Journal of Educational Studies. 63 (3), 387-411

Preston, J., Chadderton, C., Kitagawa, K. and Edmonds, C., (2015). Community response in disasters: an ecological learning framework. International Journal of Lifelong Education. 34 (6), 727-753

Preston, J., (2015). The strange death of UK civil defence education in the 1980s. History of Education. 44 (2), 225-242

Preston, J., Chadderton, C. and Kitagawa, K., (2014). The ‘state of exception’ and disaster education: a multilevel conceptual framework with implications for social justice. Globalisation, Societies and Education. 12 (4), 437-456

(2014). Critical race theory in England. Race Ethnicity and Education. 15 (1), 1-3

Preston, J. and Chadderton, C., (2012). Rediscovering ‘Race Traitor’: towards a Critical Race Theory informed public pedagogy. Race Ethnicity and Education. 15 (1), 85-100

Preston, J., Avery, B., Chakrabarty, N. and Edmonds, C., (2011). Emergency preparedness as public pedagogy: the absent–presence of race in ‘Preparing for Emergencies’. International Journal of Lifelong Education. 30 (6), 749-762

Preston, J., (2010). Prosthetic white hyper-masculinities and ‘disaster education’. Ethnicities. 10 (3), 331-343

Preston, J., (2010). Race, whiteness and education. Journal of Education Policy. 25 (6), 802-804

Preston, J., (2010). Concrete and abstract racial domination. Power and Education. 2 (2), 115-125

Preston, J., (2009). Preparing for emergencies: citizenship education, ‘whiteness’ and pedagogies of security. Citizenship Studies. 13 (2), 187-200

Preston, J., (2008). Protect and Survive: ‘whiteness’ and the middle‐class family in civil defence pedagogies. Journal of Education Policy. 23 (5), 469-482

Preston, J., (2006). Class strategies and stealth policies in adult education. International Journal of Lifelong Education. 25 (4), 335-350

Preston, J., Feinstein, L. and Anderson, TM., (2005). Can adult education change extremist attitudes?. London Review of Education. 3 (3), 289-309

Green, A. and Preston, J., (2005). Editorial: speaking in tongues — diversity in mixed methods research. International Journal of Social Research Methodology. 8 (3), 167-171

Preston, J., (2003). ’Enrolling alone?’ Lifelong learning and social capital in England. International Journal of Lifelong Education. 22 (3), 235-248

Preston, J., (2003). White trash vocationalism? Formations of class and race in an Essex further education college. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning. 5, 6-17

Green, A., Preston, J. and Sabates, R., (2003). Education, equality and social cohesion: a distributional approach. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education. 33 (4), 453-470

Preston, J., (2003). Education, equity and social cohesion. Learning and Skills Research Journal. 6, 37-37

Preston, J., (2003). FE and wider benefits: practitioner views. Learning and Skills Research Journal. 5, 31-33

Green, A. and Preston, J., (2001). Education and social cohesion: recentering the debate. Peabody Journal of Education. 76 (3-4), 247-284

Preston, J., (2001). Rationality and reproduction in progression to Higher Education. Goldsmiths Journal of Education. 3, 21-32

Books (9)

Preston, J., (2019). Grenfell Tower: Preparedness, Race and Disaster Capitalism. Palgrave Pivot. 3319968513. 978-3-319-96850-6

Preston, J., (2017). Competence Based Education and Training (CBET) and the end of human learning: the existential threat of competency. Palgrave Macmillan. 3319551108. 9783319551098

Preston, J., Binner, J., Branicki, L., Galla, T., Jones, N., King, J., Kolokitha, M. and Smyrnakis, M., (2015). City evacuations: an interdisciplinary approach. Springer. 9783662438763

Preston, J., (2013). Whiteness in academia: counter-stories of betrayal and resistance. Cambridge Scholars

Preston, J., (2012). Disaster education: ’race’, equity and pedagogy. Sense Publishers. 9460918727. 9789460918728

Bhopal, K. and Preston, J., (2011). Intersectionality and "race" in education. Routledge. 9780203802755

(2007). Whiteness and Class in Education. Springer Netherlands. 9781402061073

Green, A., Preston, J. and Janmaat, J., (2006). Education, equality and social cohesion: a comparative analysis. Palgrave Macmillan. 9780230223639

Plewis, I. and Preston, J., (2001). Evaluating the benefits of lifelong learning: a framework. DfES

Book chapters (13)

Preston, J., (2020). Overkill: Why universities modelling the impact of nuclear war in the 1980s could not change the views of the security state. In: The Routledge Handbook of Universities, Security and Intelligence Studies. Editors: Gearon, L., . Routledge

Preston, J., (2017). A golden age of security and education? Adult education for civil defence in the United States 1950–1970. In: Education, security and intelligence studies. Editors: Gearon, L., . Routledge. 9781138088276

Preston, J., (2015). Conclusion: evacuations and transmedia vulnerability. In: City evacuations: an interdisciplinary approach. Editors: Preston, J., Binner, J., Branicki, L., Galla, T., Jones, N., King, J., Kolokitha, M. and Smyrnakis, M., . Springer. 117- 128. 9783662438770

Preston, J. and Kolokitha, M., (2015). City evacuations: their pedagogy and the need for an inter-disciplinary approach. In: City evacuations: an interdisciplinary approach. Editors: Preston, J., Binner, J., Branicki, L., Galla, T., Jones, N., King, J., Kolokitha, M. and Smyrnakis, M., . Springer. 1- 20. 9783662438770

Preston, J. and Chakrabarty, N., (2010). Merely gestural? Schools as a site for posturing against a theatre of the depressed. In: Learning and teaching in a metropolis. Editors: Ang, L., Trushell, J. and Walker, P., . Rodopi

Preston, J. and Chakrabarty, N., (2010). Do schools contribute to community cohesion?. In: The Routledge education studies textbook. Editors: Arthur, J. and Davies, I., . Routledge

Preston, J., (2010). White apocalypse: preparedness pedagogies as symbolic and material invocations of white supremacy. In: Handbook of public pedagogy: education and learning beyond schooling. Editors: Sandlin, JA., Schultz, BD. and Burdick, J., . Routledge

Green, A., Ketch, MOO. and Preston, J., (2009). Making global classifications of types and levels of TVET. In: International handbook of education for the changing world of work: bridging academic and vocational learning. Editors: Maclean, R. and Wilson, D., . Springer. 2067- 2080

Chakrabarty, N. and Preston, J., (2008). Posturing fear in a world of performed evil: terrorists, teachers and evil neo-liberals. In: Perspectives on evil and human wickedness. Editors: Fisher, R., . Oxford Inter-Disciplinary Press. 227- 238

Chakrabarty, N. and Preston, J., (2007). Putnam’s pink umbrella? Transgressing melancholic social capital. In: Youth and social capital. Editors: Helve, H. and Bynner, JM., . Tufnell Press

Crowther, J., (2005). Lifelong Learning. In: Lifelong Learning: Concepts and Contexts. Routledge. 161- 170. 0203936205. 9780203936207

Schuller, T. and Preston, J., (2005). Skills, values and networks: evidence on the wider benefits of learning. In: Active citizenship and multiple identities in Europe: a learning outlook. Editors: Wildermeersch, D., Stroobants, V. and Jr, MB., . Peter Lang

Schuller, T., Preston, J., Hammond, C., Brassett-Grundy, A. and Bynner, J., (2004). The benefits of learning: the impact of education on health, family life and social capital. In: The Benefits of Learning: The Impact of Education on Health, Family Life and Social Capital. Routledge. 137- 158. 0203390814. 9780203390818

Reports and Papers (1)

Preston, J., (2014). Critical Infrastructure Failure and Mass Population Response: what is the nature of collaboration in this field? Sandcastle report

Other (1)

Preston, J., Building underground and protected schools to survive nuclear war and desegregation in the 1960s

Grants and funding

2019

ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) Round 2

Economic and Social Research Council

2018

New Industrial Systems: Chatty Factories

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Education External Assessor for Bath Spa University, for REF 2021

Bath Spa University

Contact

j.preston@essex.ac.uk
+44 (0) 1206 876345

Location:

5.416, Colchester Campus