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  H o m e






Department of Sociology

:: Overview
:: Research
:: Practical Information

Clifton Downs View of bridge
Bristol residential area Bristol train station
Photos by Jennifer Sykes-McLaughlin


The Department of Sociology

Department of Sociology, University of Bristol
Photo by Jessica Welburn

The Department of Sociology at the University of Bristol , which employs 18 faculty and several researchers at the post-doctoral level, is one of the best-known Sociology Departments in the UK. The department offers MPhil and Ph.D. degrees and "is dedicated to the principle of theoretically-informed research that is also empirically rich and social relevant." The department's areas of specialization include global ethnicities and multiculturalism, social exclusion and inequalities, education, gender and work, social, cultural and political theory, and research methods.


The department hosts the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship, an interdisciplinary research center co-directed by Professor Tariq Modood at the University of Bristol, and Professor John Salt at the University College London. At Bristol, Professors Steve Fenton, Ron Johnston and Dr. Suruchi Thapar-Bjorkert are also involved with the Research Centre. (Source: Bristol Sociology Department website, January 10, 2007)

The Centre, which also includes a public policy dimension in its work, promotes interdisciplinary research in two main areas:

  • "Ethnicity and state structures, cultural pluralism and its institutionalism, the politics of multiculturalism and other forms of 'difference,' including gendered ethnicity and ethno-religious identities, minority rights and human rights, challenges to secularism, the nation-state and other aspects of existing concepts of citizenship.
  • Ethnicity and socio-economic structures with a special focus on racialised exclusion, inter-generational poverty, labour markets, health, education, ethnic stratification and social mobility, ethnic competition and ethnic networks as a local, national and transnational economic resource." (Source: Bristol Sociology Department website, January 10, 2007)

The University of Bristol also houses the Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research, which fosters research on poverty and social exclusion in the developing and the industrialized world.


Research areas at a glance

Comparative and domestic institutional evolution
Ruth Levitas
Jo Haynes, Nabil Khattab, Paula Surridge
Family structure
Esther Dermott
Historical evolution of inequality

Jo Haynes, Tariq Modood
Labor market inequality
Harriet Bradley, Steve Fenton, Nabil Khattab, Jackie West
Political and civic participation
Paula Surridge

Racial/ethnic disparities and race relations
Steve Fenton
Urban poverty and spatial segregation

Ruth Levitas


Professor Harriet Bradley
Research areas: Sociology of gender and work, feminism, industrial relations, social divisions, women's health

Dr. Esther Dermott
Research areas: work, family, fatherhood, intimacy, gender (especially masculinity), social stratification, research methods

Professor Steve Fenton
Research areas: ethnicity, racism, ethnic groups, work, health

Dr. Jon Fox
Research areas: ethnicity, nationalism, migration

Dr. Jo Haynes
Research areas: race/ethnicity, sociology of music/media, education, qualitative research methodologies

Dr. Nabil Khattab
Research areas: ethnicity, social mobility, labor market, gender, quantitative research methods

Professor Ruth Levitas
Research areas: Utopianism, utopia and social theory, New Labour, poverty, inequality, social exclusion and inclusion

Professor Tariq Modood
Research areas: racial equality, anti-racism, multiculturalism and public policy, interfaithism, British Asian Muslims

Ms. Paula Surridge
Research areas: social stratification, social and political attitudes, education, sociological methodology

Ms. Jackie West (Head of Department)
Research areas: Sociology of sexuality, the sex industry, prostitution and social policy, gambling, gender and employment

(Source: Bristol Sociology Department website, January 10, 2007).

Practical information


Bristol city center
Photo by Jessica Welburn

The Methodist International House (MIH) was recommended by one of our fellows visiting Bristol. MIH is an inexpensive accommodation option that offers a community kitchen, provides weekly cleaning service and wireless internet access (for a fee). MIH is located in the beautiful Clifton area of Bristol, a 15-minute walk to campus and 3-minute walk from downtown.

Administrative contacts

The administrative contacts at the Department of Sociology are Ms. Elaine Escott, at Elaine.Escott@bristol.ac.uk, and Mrs. Jackie Bee, at jackie.bee@bristol.ac.uk.

Health Insurance

The U.S. State Department provides extensive
information on health insurance for Americans traveling abroad.

Office space and computer access
Inequality Fellows visiting the Department of Sociology were kindly provided with space in offices with shared desks.


The best time to visit the Department of Sociology is between mid-October and mid-May.


For train travel in Britain, the National Rail Inquiries website provides helpful information. A fast and convenient way to travel from London to Brussels and Paris is by Eurostar. As a rule, train tickets are cheaper the earlier one books them. For a list of low-cost airlines operating in Europe, visit http://www.discountairfares.com/lcosteur.htm . To print out a location on a map, go to http://www.mappy.com./

Visa information
Inequality Fellows who are U.S. citizens and who enter the U.K. as academic visitors for less than six months do not need a visa to enter the U.K. However, they will need to show evidence to British Immigration that they will be able to sustain themselves during their stay in Britain, and that they have a return ticket to the U.S. For the latest visa-related information, see the US State Department, and the Home Office’s website on UK visas.

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