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Sociology: Research


Research Themes

Nationalism and National Identity

Edinburgh is one of the world's leading centres of the empirical study and theorisation of the complex matrices of the negotiation, attribution and mobilisation of identity's 'national' aspects. Much of our work in this area is carried out in conjunction with the Institute of Governance.

Narrative, Auto/Biography and the Sociology of Culture

A key vehicle for this cluster's work is the Centre for Narrative & Auto/Biographical Studies.It helped establish the Scottish and Northern Narratives Network and runs regular interdisciplinary workshops and seminars.

Personal Life and Intimacy

Closely linked to our work on identity and auto/biography is research emphasising intimate relations, reproduction and processes of marginalisation. Much of its focus lies within the interdisciplinary and inter-university Centre for Research on Families and Relationships.

Social Studies of Finance

Edinburgh's leading role in this new field is well recognised. Social studies of finance differs from economic sociology in directly tackling the technicality of financial markets: their bases in the 'material sociology' of bodies and of technological systems; and the systematic forms of knowledge deployed in them.

Sociology of South and East Asia

Our work in this research area focuses on contemporary social processes in South and East Asia. Edinburgh’s interdisciplinary Centre for South Asian Studies is one of the largest centres in Europe concerned with social science and humanities research on South Asia.

Digital Sociology

Closely linked to our work on identity and cultureis research which assesses the methodological and conceptual challenges faced by the discipline as it confronts digitalised social landscapes.

Sociology of Energy and Sustainable Development

Edinburgh Sociology is playing a key role in shaping the academic and policy debates around a range of energy issues at every scale: from domestic heating and household energy use, to community energy projects, to urban energy governance, and huge offshore wind farms. We work with practitioners, policy-makers, and a range of academics in cross-cutting interdisciplinary research to provide answers to the key questions about energy, engagement and sustainability.

Critical Sociology

Critical sociology' in the sense of the re-examination of the foundations of the discipline, is a theme of much of our work. The area is an increasing focus both of regular events, such as our annual Goffman Lecture, and of ad hoc ones such as a 2006 Symposium on Complexity Theory at which the claims of complexity theory were subject to critical scrutiny. The Critical Sociology cluster has researchers engaging both in reflective evaluations of key concepts in social science, such as Power and Interests, and critical appraisals of social and institutional practices, for example labour market and career guidance.

Social Demography

Whilst much research on demography entails working with large data sets, another aspect of our interests in demography is in the role of small-scale studies in understanding the processes involved in demographic behaviour and how it changes through time.

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