Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader

Psychology, Sociology and Education

Tel: 0131 474 0000

Dr Suzanne Schulz (PhD, MSc, BSocSc) is a Senior Lecturer in the Psychology, Sociology and Education Division and is Programme Leader for the BSc (Hons) Psychology & Sociology degree. She is also a Full member of the Centre for Communication, Cultural and Media Studies and an Affiliate member of the Centre for Applied Social Sciences.

I am originally from Berlin and have studied theatre studies, psychology and politics at the Freie Universität Berlin for two years before taking part in the Erasmus programme and moving to Manchester. After completion of my Erasmus year, I enrolled at the University of Manchester to study sociology. The sociologists whom I met during my time at Manchester had a profound impact on my own identity as sociologist and my lingering interest in symbolic interactionism, Goffman and ethnomethodology. However, it was a footnote in one of Simmel’s essays that I read when I was in my second year that sparked my research interest in fashion.

In 1997 I accepted an ESRC funded place on the University of Edinburgh MSc in Sociological Research Methods. I later obtained ESRC funding for a PhD at Edinburgh, which looked at fashion forecasting and selection processes of high street womenswear retailers. I completed my PhD in 2003 and have been working at QMU since then.

Affiliations/Memberships to Other Organisations:

  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy

Research/Knowledge Exchange Centre Membership:

My main research interest lies in the production of fashion and the tensions between the creative processes and economic constrains involved in its production. In the past I have approached this subject by (i) studying the formation of collective taste amongst fashion practitioners and its role in dealing with demand uncertainty and by (ii) investigating how fashion designers, buyers and merchandisers of UK High Street fashion retailers negotiate discrepancies in their occupational outlooks. I have published papers on the role of the customer image in fashion selection and strategies used by fashion practitioners to cope with demand uncertainty.

My research is currently focused on the processes and interactions involved in colour forecasting and the legitimization and consecration of fashion knowledge. I am exploring how colour forecasters acquire and sustain symbolic power that elevates them to trendsetters and how they use their symbolic power to chose, justify and defend their trend prognosis.

Active Research Interests:

  • Fashion industry; demand uncertainty; collective taste; consecration of knowledge; symbolic power; social order

Research Methods:

  • Narrative and discourse analysis; ethnography; naturalistic research

I lecture predominantly on cultural sociology, micro sociological theories (symbolic interactionism, ethnomethodology) and Goffman. I have also lectured on qualitative methodologies and methods on a number of undergraduate and postgraduate modules. I am particularly interested in discourse analysis and narrative analysis and have employed these methodologies within the context of a past research project. I aim to nurturing students’ potential to become active learners and encourage this through the use of enquiry based learning methods in my teaching.

Program Leader:

BSc/BSc (Hons) Psychology and Sociology