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Sociology: People


Julie Brownlie

Julie Brownlie
Dr Julie Brownlie
1.4, 22 George Square George Square Edinburgh UK
+44(0)131 651 3917
Research Interests
Personal lives and social change, sociology of emotions, Researching the everyday, Documents of Life, trust, Document analysis


My work is primarily in the sociology of emotions and relationships. This involves exploring the relationship between  emotional lives and personal relationships and wider social-historical and cultural processes.  I have expertise in researching emotions including through secondary analysis, documentary analysis, and mixed methods research design.

 Past  research projects I have directed include  The SomeOne To Talk To Study, a three year, ESRC funded study of emotional lives and social change  and  The Liveable Lives project, a two year ethnographic study of everyday practices  of kindness. Funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, this project engaged with  work on trust,  emotion and narrative.

More recently,  I led Edinburgh's involvement in the ESRC's EMoTICON programme. The Spaces for Sharing collaboration was a multi-institution, transdisciplinary exploration of the online sharing of personal information, emotion and resources in extreme circumstances.

In 2019, we ran  The Kindness Sessions - a seminar series for policymakers and practitioners looking at the relationship between kindness and public policy. Funded by an ESRC impact grant, this led to the Infrastructures of Kindness report:

Some recent publications

Pru Hobson-West, Renelle McGlacken, Julie Brownlie, Nickie Charles, Rebekah Fox, Anne-Marie Kramer, and Kirsty Pattrick (2019) Mass Observation: Emotions, relations and temporality

J. Brownlie (2019) 'Out of the ordinary: research participants’ experiences of sharing the ‘insignificant’ 'International Journal of Social Research Methodology 257-269

J. Brownlie and F. Shaw (2018) 'Empathy Rituals:  Small Conversations about Emotional Distress on Twitter'. Sociology. Available for free download at

J. Brownlie (2018) ‘Looking out for each other online: Digital outreach, emotional surveillance and safe(r) spaces’ Emotion, Space and Society 27:60-67. Available for free download at

J. Brownlie, and H. Spandler. (2018) ‘Mundane materialities and the art of holding one’s own’ Sociology of Health and Illness 40 (2): 256-269

J.Brownlie. & S. Anderson (2017) ‘Thinking sociologically about kindness: puncturing the blasé in the ordinary city’ Sociology Vol. 51(6) 1222 –1238

Karamshuk ,D. Shaw ,F. Brownlie , J. Sastry, S. (2017) Bridging big data and qualitative methods in the social sciences: A case study of Twitter responses to high profile deaths by suicide Online Social Networks and Media 01: 1–17

Karamshuk, D., Pupavac, M., Shaw, F., Brownie, J., Pupavac, V., and Sastry, N. (forthcoming) Towards Transdisciplinary collaboration between computer and social scientists: Initial experiences and reflections in  Fu, Lou and Boos  (Eds) Social Network Analysis: Interdisciplinary Approaches and Case Studies”, Taylor & Francis Group

Anderson, S., Brownlie, J., and Milne, E-J. (2015) Understanding everyday help and support. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Anderson, S., Brownlie, J., and Milne, E-J. (2015) Between Kith and Kin and Formal Services: Everyday help and support in the ‘middle layer’. JRF Programme Paper. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Brownlie, J. (2014) Ordinary Relationships. A Sociological Study of Emotions, Reflexivity and Culture (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan).

Brownlie, J. (2012) Male suicide in mid-life: linking private troubles and large social processes in C. Wyllie, S.Platt et al. Men, Suicide and Society. Why Disadvantaged Men in Midlife Die By Suicide. Samaritans UK

Brownlie, J. (2011) Being there: multidimensionality, reflexivity and the study of emotional lives The British Journal of Sociology 62(3):462-481

Brownlie, J and Sheach Leith, V. (2011) Social bundles: Thinking through the infant body Childhood 18(2):196-210

Anderson, S. and Brownlie, J. (2011) ˜Build it and they will come? Understanding public views of emotions talk and the talking therapies British Journal of Guidance & Counselling 39 (1): 53-66

Brownlie, J. (2010) '"Not going there": Limits to the professionalisation of our emotional lives' Sociology of Health and Illness 33 No. 1 pp. 130 144

Brownlie, J. (2009) 'Researching not playing in the public sphere' Sociology 43(40):699-71

Brownlie, J. (2009) ˜Age of grief in a time of talk Sociological Research Online, 14, 5

Topics interested in supervising

I would welcome research proposals from students in the following areas: sociology of emotions; everyday lives and researching and conceptualising ‘the ordinary’; globalisation and emotional and personal lives; emotions, policy and politics; digital mediation of emotions and relationships; trust; archival and documentary analysis; researching emotions.

If you are interested in being supervised by Julie Brownlie, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Sociology