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The University of Aberdeen
School of Social Science King's College Aberdeen AB24 3QY
After graduating with first a Bachelors and then a Doctoral degree from the University of Kent, I taught at Plymouth and then at Lancaster Universities. During the early 1990s I helped to set up the Sociology Department at the Central European University, Prague before moving to the Institute for Advanced Studies in Vienna, where I later became Head of Sociology.
I was formerly editor of the international journal "European Societies", official journal of the European Sociological Association.
I was elected President of the European Sociological Association, serving from September 2007 to October 2009.
I was Director of Research for the College of Arts and Social Sciences between 2008 and 2011 and then became Vice Principal for Research and Knowledge Exchange for the University in 2011. I am responsible for Research Income and Commercialisation, Researcher Development and Postgraduate Research Students.
My current reseach interest is concerned with the social impact of the oil economy through a study of Aberdeen.
My research falls into two main areas at present: quality of life and digital economy. I have had a long term interest in quality of life issues and have contributed to a number of the reports about quality of life in Europe produced by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/). Prior to that I contributed to European debates about social capital and was Director of the European Observatory on social cohesion and trust, 2005-2006. This has culminated in a book together with Pamela Abbott and Roger Sapsford "The Decent Society" (2016 Routledge) where we explore what produces social quality in different circumstances around the world. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Decent-Society-Planning-Routledge-Sociology/dp/1138909335
The dot.rural (http://www.dotrural.ac.uk/) Rural Digital Economy Hub at the University of Aberdeen was aimed at transforming rural areas in the UK using digital technology. The project iwasfunded by the RCUK, a joint UK research council initiative in Digital Economy (http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/research/xrcprogrammes/Digital/Pages/home.aspx ). I was responsible for the Enterprise and Culture research theme. Projects undertaken within this theme are: CURIOS, a project to help local history societies develop cultural heritage initiatives; ASSURE , developing intelligent networking for rural businesses and SIRA ,a project to bring fast broadband access to rural areas. These were multi-disciplinary projects bringing together sociologists, computer scientists, engineers, geographers , historians and business studies experts working together with external agencies, including rural businesses, local historical and cultural associations, social enterprises, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. I was also involved in an EPSRC networking grant “Communities and Culture Network+” (http://www.communitiesandculture.org/) In this context I am bringing together my interest in digital economy and quality of life to look at what one contributes to the other.
I supervise postgraduate students in the following fields: migration, national minorities, work, care and welfare, quality of life and quality of society, the role of digital economy in rural areas. I would welcome postgraduate students who would like to study digital culture and rural heritage or the role of digital economy in promoting economic and social sustainability.