I joined the Department of Sociology in September 2007, having completed my doctorate at Exeter University where I was fortunate enough to be supervised by Professor Grace Davie. My research focuses on taking religion, and more recently non-religion, seriously and on the relationship between religious and secular discourses and gender politics. More specifically, I am interested in sociologically examining the ways in which religious and atheist women construct meaningful lives and make sense of their place in the world.
I am predominantly interested in the relationship between religion and gender. My doctoral research explored the lives of Catholic sisters in Polish convents and their constructions of 'consecrated femininity'. My second piece of empirical work investigated the complex web of interactions between Polish Catholic migrants and the local churches in Scotland. I have co-written a book with Steve Bruce, Why Are Women More Religious Than Men? (Oxford UP 2012), in which we critique competing explanations of women's greater religiosity and suggest that the (seemingly universal) gender gap in religious involvement is not the result of biology but is rather the consequence of important social differences —responsibility for managing birth, child-rearing and death, for example, and attitudes to the body, illness and health — over-lapping and reinforcing each other. In my current work I develop several themes that emerged from my previous research:
gender differences in atheism and approaches to the questions of life and death
the privatisation and intellectualisation of faith among Polish migrant women in the UK
the methodological and ethical aspects of researching religion and non-religion. In particular, I am concerned with the issues of covert versus overt fieldwork, 'uncomfortable' versus 'cosy' research relationships, and the trouble with reflexivity.
Main research themes:
sociology of religion
religion and gender
religion and sexuality
religion and migration
Catholicism in Central and Eastern Europe
structure and agency
I am conducting qualitative interviews with self-identified atheist women from the UK, North America, Australia, and Poland.
Porticus (formerly Derwent Consultancy Trust), Polish parishioners and Polish priests in the UK and Ireland: Identifying Problems and Possibilities, a co-investigator, with Claire Wallace and Halina Grzymala-Moszczynska, Duration: October 2008 – September 2009
SO1005 Introduction to Sociology 1 (co-ordinator)
SO2004-5 Studying Social Life 1 (co-ordinator)
SO3067 Religion and Society
SO4063 Sex, Death and the Afterlife (co-ordinator)
SO5011 Qualitative Sociology (co-ordinator)
MSc Religion and Society (programme director)
- Further Info
- Member of PG Committe, Research Committee and SAC in the School of Social Science
- Academic selector for taught PG programmes in the School of Social Science
- Equality& Diversity Advisor in the School of Social Science
- Organiser of Applicant Day and Open Day
I welcome queries from potential doctoral students interested in the sociology of religion, gender and sexuality, and migration.
Emanuela Buscemi - Kuwaiti Women's Activism After the Invasion
Carol McKetty - Marking the Boundaries: A Study of German National Belonging (2012)
Referee for papers for Theory, Culture and Society, Cultural Sociology and Fieldwork in Religion
Referee for book proposals and manuscripts for Sage
Member, British Sociological Association, 2004 - present
Co-organiser of the BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group Conference, April 2011, Birmingham