Key statistics

In this submission to the Sociology unit of assessment of REF 2021, based on work undertaken in the seven year period 2014-2020:

  • Nine researchers were submitted, of whom seven were women.
  • The submission is based around the wider Public Sociology Cluster at QMU, which has a membership of 34 researchers from a diverse range of disciplines.

Examples of our work

We encourage, facilitate, and advance sociological through engagement between academic researchers and key stakeholders involved in social justice issues. These groups include communities, trade unions, professional practitioners, third sector organisations and policy makers at local, national, and international level.

During the REF 2021 census period, the themes of completed PhD and professional doctorates included:

  • the relationship between mental health, education, and women's experiences of domestic abuse;
  • the alignment of therapeutic arts practices within the context of multiple deprivation;
  • societal factors impacting upon the theory and the application of professional occupational practice;
  • women’s experiences of domestic abuse and alcohol;
  • the oil drilling debate, involving a critical investigation into the reification of science and the marginalisation of values and power of discourse within environmental conflict;
  • a post-normal science approach to understanding the real issues, challenges and contexts of municipal solid waste management in developing countries.

In 2020, 16 of our researchers, along with collaborative partners out with academia, contributed to the inaugural publication of the Policy Press book series on Public Sociology: Public Sociology as Educational Practice (edited by Dr Eurig Scandrett). This publication has recently been highly commended by Budd Hall, Co-Chair, UNESCO Chair in Community-Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education. Through pedagogical case studies and inter-contributor dialogues, the book develops and challenges thinking in the field.

With colleagues in QMU's CASL Research Centre, we have a Carnegie-funded PhD Scholarship focussing on the speech, language and communication needs of young women in conflict with the law. This Ph.D. researcher is now working in collaboration with East Lothian Community Justice Partnership, of which Professor Marion Ellison is an active member.

The Scottish Funding Council funded project ‘Identity, Community & Society’, is a unique community-based learning collaboration between QMU, Glasgow Open Museum and Glasgow Association for Mental Health, which provides adult learners with an opportunity to learn about sociology and art. The project encourages participants to explore sociological explanations of identity, community and society by engaging with, and interpreting, a wide range of art and artefacts from the Museum’s collections, and an exhibition of participants’ work has been displayed at Glasgow City Chambers, Glasgow’s Mitchell Library and the University. This is an innovative research project which involves close interdisciplinary collaboration between academic researchers from Occupational Therapy, Arts Therapy and Sociology, Glasgow Association for Mental Health, and adult learners in Glasgow.

Dr Eurig Scandrett’s primary research interest is in learning in social movements, especially around environmental justice, particularly in India, Palestine, and Scotland. He also engages with feminist research into gendered violence; environmental sociology; social studies of science; social implications of climate change; adult and popular education; and social justice.

Professor Marion Ellison focuses on youth transitions between education and employment in Europe, and she led the European ‘Effective Support Services for European Students’ project, which involved 12 European universities. The INSPIRES project (Innovative Social Policies for Inclusive and Resilient Labour Markets in Europe) emerged from the in-depth analysis of the evolution of labour markets, employment, and social policies for vulnerable groups on the labour market across 12 European countries from 2000 onwards. Further collaborations with a number of institutions in Germany and Italy are helping students cope with challenges and barriers to their success. See the Stipendien Kultur (DE) website and the EU Commission’s IMP.ACT IMPrese in ACTion project.

Dr Geetha Marcus is a sociologist, feminist, and teacher activist whose research and teaching interests focus on social inequalities within public education systems. Her book Gypsy and Traveller Girls: Silence, Agency, and Power (2019) critically explores and documents the racialised and gendered experiences of Gypsy and Traveller girls in Scotland, within public spaces of school and private spaces of home. As a South Asian and advocate of black feminist thought and methodology her work also explores research into the multiple identities and experiences of young people and women on the margins from a postcolonial perspective. Dr Marcus has extensive professional experience in the field of primary education, both in classroom practice and in senior management, and in 2016 published a study for the Scottish Parliament, 'Closing the Attainment Gap', on educational achievement and equity. As a practitioner-researcher, she believes there is an urgent need for teachers to employ education methods that effect justice-oriented social change.

Read the research impact case study Culture and action in solidarity with the Bhopal Survivors’ Movement on the REF 2021 website (available June 2022)

Read the research impact case study Effective Supportive Services for European Students; transforming practice across 11 European countries on the REF 2021 website (available June 2022)