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Sociology: People


Mary Holmes

Mary Holmes
Professor Mary Holmes
Professor of Emotions and Society
6.30 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44 (0) 131 6513140
Research Interests
Feminism, Social movements, gender, Gender Theory, emotions, Sexuality, friendship


PhD, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

MA, University of York, England.

BA, University of Auckland. New Zealand.

Research Interests

My overall intellectual project seeks to provide a better understanding of the complex forms of relationality, embodiment and emotionality currently operating within globalised societies. I examine how people are emotionally reflexive in navigating  their way through the world. They draw on interpretations of their own and others’ feelings in doing intimate relationships, gendered sexuality, political action or dissatisfaction, and migration and mobility. Empirical work has looked at the ways that couples connect intimately within distance relationships, and in collaboration with others I have researched internet dating and also the emotional lives of young displaced Syrians and Iraqis in Beirut. Theoretically my work hinges around the sociology of emotions, symbolic interactionist and feminist approaches applied to the consideration of reflexivity, inequality, subversion and resistance. I am one of the founding editors of the journal Emotions and Society.

Recent publications include:

(2019) ‘‘Going against the grain’? Distance relationships, emotional reflexivity and gender’ Emotions, Space and Society 31: 56-62.

(2016) Sociology for Optimists. London: Sage.

(2014) Distance Relationships: Intimacy and Emotions Amongst Academics and their Partners in Dual-Locations. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Topics interested in supervising

I would be happy to supervise research in any of the following areas: 1. Intimacy and Relationships, especially couple relationships, distance/commuter relationships, friendship, relationality 2. Sociology of emotions, especially emotional reflexivity 3. Gender and Sexuality, especially heterosexuality, feminist theory, gendered embodiment, gendered identities 4. Political Sociology, including social movements (especially Feminism), political dissatisfaction 5. Mobilities and transnationalism, especially transnational relationships

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

PhD in Sociology; MSc (R) Sociology; MSc (R) Socio-Cultural Studies