Gender and Feminist Theory Research Group

Hosted by the Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS), our research group encompasses members from across the College of Social Sciences, whose research interests lie in a range of areas which fall under the headings gender studies and/or feminist theoretical analysis/readings of politics/international politics, sociology, education, geography, development studies, economics, management studies, social policy and other areas of applied social science.

The re-constitution of this research group as a cross-College configuration recognizes the growing profile of gender studies in the College of Social Sciences at Birmingham, with an increasing number of staff and research students along with the provision of a number of specialist courses on gender at both undergraduate and post-graduate level. This is reflected in the teaching menu, which includes the recently revamped MA in International Relations (Gender). Group members also contribute to the PhD programme in Gender and Sexuality Studies, hosted by the College of Arts and Law. Individual members are involved in major research projects

Many members are also members of the University wideresearch network on gender and sexualities and are active in a variety of national, regional and international research networks. Group members have recently organized or participated in workshops on austerity politics and global governance. We are keen to feed into current initiatives that promote equality and diversity across the University.

The Group currently has 26 members, at all levels from Professors to Teaching Fellows and Doctoral Researchers, drawn from Political Science, International Relations, Sociology, Social Policy, International Development, Local Government, Management Studies, Health Service Management and Applied Social Studies. We organize a variety of research activities, including a reading group (lead by Renata Reynaldo and Linsay Murch) workshops and conferences. We anticipate that the newly configured Group will facilitate capacity building and collaboration in research grant applications and allow members to share knowledge and expertise in the areas of research impact and dissemination.

We aim to also provide informal mentoring and support to all our members. Researchers from across the College are welcome to join us. Please contact Shelley Budgeon or Emma Foster

Research projects

Male and Transgender Sex Work in the UK and Netherlands (2011 - 12)

The proposed research seeks to contribute to academic and policy debates about commercial sex by advancing empirical and theoretical knowledge in the under-explored area of male and transgender sex work.

More research projects in the department.

Members: Academic staff

Dr Jill Steans

Jill Steans research interests fall mainly in the area of gender in International Relations and International Political Economy. Her book Gender and International Relations (3rd edition published in 2013) is known throughout the world. Beyond Birmingham, Jill is involved in a number of national and international research networks. She is a founder and current administrator of the virtual research network and discussion forum the Gender in Governance Net-work, which is designed to encourage interaction and dialogue between academics and policy makers in the realm of gender in global governance and to disseminate knowledge about this work to a wider public. She is currently playing a leading role in the development of teaching and employability initiatives, as the College of Social Science as Academic Lead for the Professional Development Module.


(with Dani Tepe) Interrogating the Global/Local Nexus: A Feminist IPE Approach to the ‘Problem’ of Social Cohesion and Community Cohesion, International Politics, 49, 1, 2012.

(With Daniela Tepe) ‘Introduction: Social Reproduction in International Political Economy: Theoretical Insights and International, Transnational and Local Sitings’ Review of International Political Economy,17, 5, 2010: 807-815.

‘Telling Stories about Women and Gender in the ‘War on Terror.’ Global Society, 21, 1, January 2008:. ISSN: 1360-0826.

‘Revisionist Heroes and Dissident Heroines: Gender, Nation and War in Soviet Films of “the Thaw”’, Global Society, 24, 3, 2010: 401-419.


Dr Emma Foster

Emma Foster is an IR theorist. Her research interests include gender and sexuality, international and sustainable development and the work of Michel Foucault. Emma, therefore, is currently researching issues of Gender and Sexuality broadly in relation to (Queering) International Development and Sustainable Development.

She is currently working on a number of projects; namely, the construction of 'developed' and 'developing' states through gender(ed) practices at the intersection of the body and the relationship between gender and corruption in Nigeria and India (with Dr Heather Marquette, International Development Department, University of Birmingham).

With regard to the former Emma has recently published in this field. She is further engaged in a number of projects which look at the teaching of gender and sexuality in the disciplines of political science and international relations. Emma has published articles in British Politics (2008), Globalizations (2011), Political Studies Review (2011) the BJPIR (forthcoming) and Gender, Place and Culture (forthcoming). Moreover, she has reviewed articles for Third World Quarterly and the European Journal of Political Research.

She is a member of the Environmental Politics Research Group, the Global Studies Association and has served on the steering group related to the teaching of gender and sexuality in the social sciences for C-SAP (the Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics).


‘Problematising the Centrality of Gender in Environmental Governmentality’ in Globalizations, (2011)

‘Gender and International Relations’ for J. Haynes and L. Pettiford World Politics (2011, Pearson)

'Female Circumcision vs. Designer Vaginas: Surgical Genital Practices and the Discursive Reproduction of State Boundaries' for A. Cameron, J. Dickinson and N. Smith (eds.) Body/State (forthcoming 2012, Ashgate)

The (Re)production of Sexual Norms through Environmental Discourses’ in Gender, Place and Culture (forthcoming)


Dr Laura Jenkins

Laura Jenkins is a political sociologist whose research explores strategies of politicisation and has, thus far, focused on the gendered body and its regulation, specifically in respect to assisted reproductive technologies, self-starvation and self-harm. She became a member of staff in POLSIS in 2009 after the completion of her PhD on ‘A Genealogical Politicisation of the Body’.

Her research is grounded within critical political theory, utilising work from feminist, post-structural, radical democratic theory and Critical Theory. She has a particular interest in the work of Michel Foucault, having published work on the politicising potential of the critical method of genealogy and is currently preparing work on Foucault’s writings on the body. Laura’s other current research interests concern British politics and gender, and the politics of presence within the Academy.

She is currently working (with Stephen Bates and Fran Amery) on an examination of the (de)politicising effects of the removal of the ‘Father’s Clause’ in the amended Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act. In 2005 Laura won the PSA Prize for the best paper in the journal Politics for her first publication “Corporeal Ontology: Beyond Mind-Body Dualism?”  Laura is also a member of the, British Politics Research Group, the Social and Political Theory Research Cluster and the Political Studies Association. She has acted as a reviewer for New Political Economy and British Politics Journals. She has also co-written an article on pedagogy and is keen to continue to combine her teaching and research interests.


(2011) “The Difference Genealogy Makes: Strategies for Politicisation or How to Extend Capacities for Autonomy”, Political Studies, 59 (1), pp. 156-174.

(with Bates, S R.) (2007) “In Defence of Pluralism in the Teaching of Ontology and Epistemology: A Reply to Hay, Marsh and Furlong”, Politics, 27(3), pp.208-211 (Most Read Article in the Journal Politics in 2007/2008)

(with Bates, S. R.) (2007) “Teaching and Learning Ontology and Epistemology in Political Science”, Politics, 27(1), pp.55-63


Dr Shelley Budgeon

Shelley Budgeon is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology who specializes in gender and feminist theory. Her research concentrates on how various forces of social change impact on the constitution of gender relations and processes of gender identification. Contemporary gender equality discourses and their specific manifestation in ‘modernized’ state sanctioned approaches to gender issues provide the focus for her current research.

Her books include Third Wave Feminism and the Politics of Gender in Late Modernity (Palgrave, 2011) and Choosing a Self: Young Women and the Individualization of Identity (Praegar, 2003). She has co-edited a special issue of Current Sociology on “Cultures of Intimacy and Care Beyond ‘The Family’ and has published in a wide range of journals including Sociology, “The Dynamics of Gender Hegemony: Femininities, Masculinities and Social Change” (2013), Sexualities, Body & Society, European Journal of Women’s Studies, Sociological Research Online, and Women’s Studies International Forum.

She has been a visiting scholar at the University of British Columbia Institute for Gender, ‘Race’, Sexuality and Social Justice and at the Monash University Centre for Women’s Studies and Gender Research.


Budgeon, S. (2013) “The Dynamics of Gender Hegemony: Femininities, Masculinities and Social Change”, Sociology. DOI: 10.1177/0038038513490358

Third Wave Feminism and the Politics of Gender in Late Modernity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

"The Contradictions of Successful Femininity:  Third Wave Feminism, Postfeminism and 'New' Femininities", in Gill, Rosalind and Scharff, Christina (eds.), New Femininities: Postfeminism, Neoliberalism and Subjectivity.  (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).


Dr Nicola Smith

Nicola Smith is a political economist whose work is broadly concerned with debates about globalisation and social justice, particularly with respect to the discursive reproduction of uneven power relations.

Nicola is currently working on a Leverhulme Trust-funded project with Katy Pilcher on ‘Male and transgender sex work in the UK and the Netherlands’, which will last from 1 October 2011 to 31 July 2012. The key aims of the research are: to speak directly to people working in and around the sex industry, and particularly male and transgender escorts, whose voices are rarely heard in debates about commercial sex; to interrogate the political, economic and cultural context of male and transgender sex work in the UK and the Netherlands; and to consider how academic and policy debates might be reframed to take more account of male and transgender sex work, not least with respect to the appropriateness of current policies and services to the needs of sex workers themselves.

Nicola welcomes applications from potential PhD students in the above areas.


Dr Katy Pilcher

Katy Pilcher is currently working with Nicola Smith on a Leverhulme-funded research project on the political economy of male and transgender sex work in the UK and the Netherlands. Katy is also in the final stages of her ESRC-funded PhD in Sociology at the University of Warwick, which focuses on erotic labour and women as consumers of sexualised entertainment.


Pieces in Sexualities, Leisure Studies, Sociological Research Online, Journal of International Women's Studies, and Reinvention, and she is an executive committee member of the Feminist and Women's Studies Association UK and Ireland (FWSA).


Dr Stephen Bates

Stephen Bates is a political scientist whose research interests are in the areas of power, political change and issues of representation and accountability. These concerns are linked by a desire to understand, explain and extend political agency in terms of the range of choices, strategies and futures open to individuals and groups within society.

Stephen’s current research is on an examination of the (de)politicising effects of the removal of the ‘Father’s Clause’ in the amended Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (with Laura Jenkins and Fran Amery), the status of women within Political Science (with Laura Jenkins, Zoe Pflaeger and Kelly Rogers), the power of the Left (with David Bailey), and Prime Minister’s Questions (with Peter Kerr). He has published in journals such as Sociology, Polity, Parliamentary Affairs, Political Studies Review, the Journal of Political Power, and Politics.

He was an invited participant on the APSA Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession’s Roundtable on the Comparative Status of Women in Political Science at the 2012 APSA Annual Meeting and is a founding member of the International Network on the Status of Women in Political Science.


"Questions to the Prime Minister: A Comparative Study of PMQs from Thatcher to Cameron", (with Peter Kerr, Christopher Byrne and Liam Stanley), Parliamentary Affairs, advance access, (2012), pp.1-28 

"Women in the Profession: The Composition of UK Political Science Departments by Sex", (with Laura Jenkins and Zoe Pflaeger), Politics, 32/3, (2012), pp.139-152. 

"Struggle (or its absence) during the crisis: what power is left?", (with David Bailey), Journal of Political Power, 5/2, (2012), pp.195-216. 

"Re-Structuring Power", Polity, 42/3, (2010), pp.352-376.


Professor Fiona Carmichael

Professor Fiona Carmichael is Professor of Industrial and Labour Economics in the Department of Management (Business School) at the University of Birmingham. Her expertise lies in the intersection between labour economics, the sociology of work and human resource management, in health economics and in sports economics and policy.

Fiona’s current research is focused on employment and policy issues linked to older age, the ageing society and the care economy, which includes research on women's unpaid work particularly the trade-off between informal care provision and paid employment. She is currently Director of Doctoral Research in the College of Social Science.


Carmichael, F. and Ercolani, M. (forthcoming) Overlooked and undervalued: the caring contribution of older people, International Journal of Social Economics (accepted for publication July 2013))

Carmichael, F,  Duberley, J. and  Szmigin, I. (forthcoming) Exploring Women’s Retirement: Continuity, Context and Career Transition, Gender, Work & Organization (accepted for publication, October 2012) (ABS 3: Impact factor 1.207)

Carmichael F., Hulme. C., Ingham. B., Porcellato, L., and Prashar, A., (2010) Giving older workers a voice; constraints on employment, Work Employment and Society,  Volume 24 Issue 1, March 2010, 85-103

Carmichael F., Charles, S. and Hulme, C. T., (2010) Who will care? Employment status and willingness to supply informal care, Journal of Health Economics, 29, 182-90 

Carmichael F, Connell G, Hulme C, Sheppard S., (2008) Work life imbalance; informal care and paid employment, Feminist Economics, April 14(2) 3-35

Carmichael F.  and Hulme C., (2008) Are the Needs of Carers Being Met by Government Policy? Journal of Community Nursing, September 22:, 4-12

Commissioned reports

Carmichael F. (2011) Review of research on caregiving activities and  labour market behaviour. Report for The Policy Research Directorate, Strategic and Policy Research Branch of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Canadian Federal Government

Carmichael, F., (2011) Informal Care in the UK: Constraints on Choice, Report for the British Academy, summary available at:

British Academy (2010-11):  The determinants of care giving commitment; the roles of caring need and the care givers’ employment and health. £3,100 (PI)


Professor Joanne Duberley

Joanne Duberley is Professor of Organisation Studies in the Department of Management (Business School) at University of Birmingham. Jo’s teaching and research focuses on organisational behaviour, human resource management and the management of change.  She is currently engaged in research on careers and career development in a variety of contexts, including academic scientists, women entrepreneurs, NHS managers and women approaching retirement.


Jo has published two major research monographs. Her recent publications include:

Cohen, L and Duberley, J (2013) Constructing careers through narrative and music: an analysis of Desert Island Discs, Journal of Vocational Behavior, forthcoming

Duberley, J and Carrigan M (2013) The Career Narratives of ‘Mumpreneurs’: Women’s experiences of combining enterprise and motherhood, International Small Busines Journal forthcoming

Carrigan, M and Duberley, J (2013) Time triage: Exploring the temporal strategies that support entrepreneurship and motherhood, Time and Society, forthcoming

MacFarlane, F Duberley J and Powell, M (2012) Talent management in the NHS: human resources or resourceful humans? Public Money and Management, forthcoming

Duberley, J and Cohen, L (2010) Gendering Career Capital: A Study of UK Women Scientists, Journal of Vocational Behavior, 76, 2, pp187-197

Cohen, L., Duberley, J and Musson, G (2009) Work-life balance? An autoethnographic exploration of everyday home-work dynamics, Journal of Management Inquiry, 2009 , vol 18, pp229-241

Jo has received funding for this from ESRC, the British Academy and NHS SDO. Most recently she has gained funding from the ESRC and EPSRC for a project that examines career transitions of scientists moving from the public to private sector. 


Dr Katherine Tonkiss

Katherine Tonkiss is currently Research Fellow in the Institute of Local Government Studies (INLOGOV) at the University of Birmingham. Her research is focused on normative and empirical questions surrounding the changing nature of democracy and citizenship in a globalising world.

In addition to her work on globalisation and citizenship, Katie engages with gender issues in her current ESRC funded research on  ‘Shrinking the State’, a project that explores the Coalition Government’s attempt to reform arms’ length bodies and to deliver the policy goal of a smaller, smarter, cheaper state.


Tonkiss, K. (2013) Migration and Identity in a Post-National World. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Tonkiss, K. (2013) Constitutional Patriotism, Migration and the Post-National Dilemma. Citizenship Studies. 17 (3-4), 491-504.

Bloom, T., and Tonkiss, K. (2013) European Union and Commonwealth Free Movement: A Historical-Comparative Approach. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 39 (7), 1065-1085.

Tonkiss, K. (2013) Postnational Citizenship without Postnational Identity? A Case Study of UK Immigration Policy and Intra-EU Migration. Journal of Global Ethics. 9 (1), 35-48.


Dr Catherine Durose

Catherine Durose is currently Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Local Government Studies (INLOGOV), University of Birmingham where she currently holds the post of Director of Research.

She is particularly interested in the changing relationships between the local state, communities and citizens. Catherine focuses on local policy implementation and service delivery, practice and local knowledge, neighbourhood working and participation and empowerment.


Durose, C., Beebeejaun, Y., Rees, J. and Richardson, L. (forthcoming) ‘Public value or public harm? towards co-production in research with communities’ Environment and Planning

Durose, C., Beebeejaun, Y., Rees, J., Richardson, J. and Richardson, L. (2013) ‘Beyond Text: exploring ethos and method in co-producing research with communities’ Community Development Journal DOI: 10.1093/cdj/bst008

Durose, C., Richardson, L., Combs, R., Eason, C. and Gains, F. (2013) ‘“Acceptable difference”: diversity, representation and careerism in UK politics’ Parliamentary Affairs DOI:10.1093/pa/gss085

Durose, C. and Rees, J. (2012) ‘The rise and fall of neighbourhood in the New Labour era’ Policy & Politics 40(1) 39-55 DOI:

Durose, C. (2011) ‘Re-visiting Lipsky: front line work in UK local governance’ Political Studies 59(4) 978-995 DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9248.2011.00886.x

Catherine's current research grants include:

  • Making a difference in urban neighbourhoods: a cross-national comparative Q-methodology survey (European Research Initiative, from May 2013; with Stephen Jeffares, University of Birmingham, Merlijn van Hulst/ Laurens de Graaf, Tilburg University, Annika Agger, Roskilde University, Oliver Escobar, University of Edinburgh)
  • Interrogating Urban Crisis: Governance, Contestation and Critique (Urban Studies, from September 2013; Co-Investigator, Principal Investigator, Jonathan Davies, De Montfort University with Steven Griggs, De Montfort University, Ismael Blanco, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Jill Gross, CUNY and Helen Sullivan, University of Melbourne)
  • Ways of Knowing: exploring the different registers, values and subjectivities of collaborative research (Arts and Humanities Research Council: Connected Communities programme, February 2013 to January 2014; Co-Investigator, Principal Investigator, Helen Graham, University of Leeds)
  • Community Governance in a Context of Decentralisation (Arts and Humanities Research Council: Connected Communities programme, November 2012 to April 2013; Principal Investigator with Liz Richardson University of Manchester, Matthew Hilton, University of Birmingham)
  • Re-defining Service Delivery (Arts and Humanities Research Council: Connected Communities programme, November 2012 to April 2013; Principal Investigator with Catherine Needham, Catherine Mangan, James Rees, Matthew Hilton, University of Birmingham)
  • Evaluation of Community Organisers and Community First (Office of Civil Society, Cabinet Office, November 2012 to February 2015; Independent Advisor, with IPSOS MORI and nef consulting)
  • Reframing Citizen-State Relationships in a Time of Austerity: Community Empowerment in England and Scotland (Arts and Humanities Research Council: Connected Communities programme, January 2012 to December 2012; Co-Investigator, Principal Investigator, Joe Painter, University of Durham with Tony Bovaird, University of Birmingham, Annette Hastings, University of Glasgow, Peter Matthews Herriot Watt University and Katie Schmuecker, IPPR North)
  • Beyond the State? Third Party Government in Comparative Perspective (Economic and Social Research Council; January 2011 to January 2013, Co-Investigator, Principal Investigator Chris Skelcher, University of Birmingham with Jonathan Justice, University of Delaware)


Dawn Rivers

Dawn Rivers is a Lecturer on the Social Work Programmes in the Institute of Applied Social Studies. Her research interests lie in social work and the creative arts; how international perspectives can inform social work teaching and practice; domestic violence within same-sex relationships, and service user and carer involvement in the admissions process. She is a qualified social worker and has worked in the statutory Children and Families sector, the voluntary sector (primarily within the fields of domestic violence and as a regional manager developing services for carers), and the education sector (as a Research Fellow at Warwick University). Latterly, she has been involved within the Survivor Movement as a service user.


Matka, E., River, D., Littlechild, R. and Powell, T. (Dec 2009), Involving Service Users and Carers in Admissions for Courses in Social Work and Clinical Psychology: cross-disciplinary comparisons of practices at the University of Birmingham. British Journal of Social Work, advanced online access 13 Dec 2009.

Humphreys, C., Regan, L., River, D. and Thiara, R.K. (2005) Domestic Violence and Substance Use: Tackling Complexity British Journal of Social Work 35, 1303-1320

Humphreys, C., Regan, C., River, D. and Thiara, R.K. (2004) "Mind the Gap: Domestic Violence and Substance Misuse Services" Interim Report, Home Office and Greater London Authority (Research Report).


Harriet Clarke

Harriet Clarke is Senior Lecturer in Social Research and Social Policy and Director of Doctoral Research in the School of Social Policy. Much of Harriet's research is focused on lived experiences of disability and impairment (including mental distress) and on individual and family experiences of social care and health services. Her work explicitly concerns gender, parenting and disability, with disabled mothers and fathers experiences of family and of services a particular focus.


Nicola Gale

Nicola Gale is a health sociologist in the Health Services Management Centre, School of Social Policy. Her research interests lie in health inequalities, including those around gender and sexuality; the involvement of patients in the design of health care, and self-care and health practices.


Charlotte Ross

Charlotte Ross is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Modern Languages. Her research focuses on how bodies, gender and sexuality are understood, constructed and represented in socio-cultural contexts. She is currently working on an AHRC-funded project which explores the discursive construction and representation of lesbian identities and desire in Italian culture, from the 1860s to the present day.


Ross, Charlotte (2012) 'Imagined Communities: Issues around LGBTQ Ageing in Italy', Modern Italy, Vol.17, no. 4, 2012, 449-464

Ross, Charlotte (2012) ‘Queering Space in Turin’. In Public and Private Spaces in Italian Culture, ed. Simona Storchi. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press

Ross, Charlotte and Susanna Scarparo eds (2010), special issue of Italian Studies: Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Italian Culture: representations and critical debates, Vol. 65, no. 2: 164-77

Ross, Charlotte (2012) 'Queer Embodiments: Fluidity, Materiality, Stickiness' in Silvia Antosa (ed.) Queer Crossings. Theories, Bodies, Texts. Milan: Mimesis

Ross, Charlotte (2009) ‘Collective Association in the LGBT Movement’, in Daniele Albertazzi, Clodagh Brook, Charlotte Ross and Nina Rothenberg (eds), Resisting the Tide: Cultures of Opposition in the Berlusconi Years 2001-06. London: Continuum


Dr Catherine Needham

Catherine Needham is Reader in Public Policy and Public Management in the Health Services Management Centre. She is part based at the Health Services Management Centre, developing research around social care and policy innovation. She is also part based in the Public Services Academy, leading development on graduate public management programmes across the College of Social Sciences.


Needham, C. (2013) 'The Boundaries of Budgets: why should individuals make spending choices about their health and social care?' London: Centre for Health and the Public Interest.

Needham, C. (2013) ‘Personalized Commissioning, Public Spaces: The Limits of the Market in English Social Care Services’, BioMedical Central: Health Services Research, 13, Suppl 1.

Needham, C., Sawbridge, Y. And Williams, I. (2013), Tesco and Starbucks have little to teach the NHS. Health Service Journal .

Needham, C. (in press) Personalisation: from day centres to community hubs? Critical Social Policy, doi:10.1177/0261018313481564


Dr Karin Bottom

Karin Bottom is Lecturer in British Politics & Research Methods in the Institute of Local Government Studies (INLOGOV). Her research focuses on political parties (particularly small and the BNP), party systems and party theory. She is particularly interested in concepts of relevance and how national level theories can be utilized at the sub-national level.


Bottom, K,. Copus, C (in print), ‘The BNP in local government: Support for the far-right or for community politics?, N. Copsey and G. Macklin (eds.), New Perspectives on the BNP, accepted for publication by Routledge.

With Crow, A. (forthcoming), ‘Mob rule: how two single issue groups became the ruling parties on council’, Local Government Studies.

With Copus, C. (forthcoming), ‘Motivations for serving on council: independents versus the mainstream’, Public Policy and Administration.

Clark, A., Bottom, K., Copus, C (2008) ‘More similar than they would like to admit? Contemporary political ideologies and the rise of the British National Party and Respect in Britain’, British Politics


Nicki Ward

Nicki Ward is a Lecturer in the Institute of Applied Social Studies. Having worked in a variety of social care and social work agencies, she entered higher education as a mature student. Eight years of study followed, culminating in the completion of her Phd which examined lesbian experiences of social exclusion and mental wellbeing.  Her role now, as a social work lecturer, enables her to combine her interests in social work, social care and social justice. She is particularly interested in issues of gender, disability, sexuality and relationships of care. She has theoretical interests in narrative methodologies and the Feminist Ethic of Care.


Clare Hill

Clare Hill is a Teaching Fellow in the School of Social Policy. She is currently completing her PhD; examining theoretical and conceptual understandings of 'family', through an exploration of family support policy and practice and service users accounts of 'doing family'. Before embarking upon her PhD Clare worked within the Youth Justice System and continues to have a broad interest in the criminal justice system, especially in relation to the experiences of young people and families. Clare is particularly interested in the 'ethic of care' and its incorporation in the development and delivery of policy and practice, as well as its application within family life.


Dr Kay Fuller 

Dr Kay Fuller’s research interests fall mainly in the area of gender and educational leadership. Her book Gender, Identity and Educational Leadership was published in October 2013 and has received positive endorsements from the UK and Australia. Kay is involved in a number of national and international research networks. She is a founding co-convener of the British Educational Leadership Management and Administration Society (BELMAS) Research Interest Group ‘Gender and Leadership’. This group was launched at the Institute of Education, London in 2013 and held a one day conference at the University of Birmingham, School of Education focusing on intersectionality in March 2014. It attracted delegates from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Burma (Myanmar). Kay is also a member of the Women Leading Education group. This international group of women academics meets biannually to engage with research about gender and educational leadership from across the world.

Kay’s active research projects include a BELMAS funded investigation into women’s leadership preparation within secondary school senior leadership teams and an exploration of values-led school leadership in Birmingham and Shanghai with Dr Xia Li form Shanghai Normal University. She is Principal Investigator of both.

Kay’s work in Higher Education follows two successful careers in retail management and secondary school English teaching and leadership. Kay has worked in five mixed comprehensive schools in three local authorities: Sandwell, Birmingham and Worcestershire. As Head of English she led a successful English department to raise the achievement of children and young people. Having led the school in their school development planning, she took on the role of deputy headteacher at a large Birmingham comprehensive school.


Fuller, K. (in press) Gendered educational leadership: beneath the monoglossic facade, Gender and Education.

Fuller, K. (2014) Looking for the women in Baron and Taylor’s (1969) Educational Administration and the Social Sciences Journal of Educational Administration and History.

Fuller, K. (2013) Gender, Identity and Educational Leadership, London: Bloomsbury.

Fuller, K., Parsons, S., MacNab, N. and Thomas, H. (2013) How far is leadership distributed in extended services?, Educational Management Administration and Leadership

Fuller, K. (2012) Leading with emancipatory intent: Headteachers' approaches to pupil diversity, Educational Management Administration and Leadership 40, 6, 672 -689.

Fuller, K. (2010) Talking about gendered headship: how do women and men working in schools conceive and articulate notions of gender? Journal of Educational Administration and History. ISSN: 0022-0620.DOI: 10.1080/00220620.2010.514041

Fuller, K. (2010) English lessons: children’s poetic perspectives, English in Education, 44, 2, 146-163. ISSN: 0425-0494.  DOI: 10.1111/j.1754-8845.2010.01062.x

Fuller, K. (2009) Women secondary head teachers: Alive and well in Birmingham at the beginning of the twenty-first century, Management in Education, 23, 1, 19-31. ISSN: 0892-0206.    DOI: 10.1177/089202060809907

Dr Surinder Guru

Dr Surinder Guru teaches on the Social Work Programmes in the Institute of Applied and Social Studies. Her research interests explore intersections of race, gender and class, particularly in relations to family processes concerning minority ethnic groups in Britain.  Her current research is examines the impact of counter-terrorism polices on the families of detainees held under the terrorist legislation. She is also developing work around issues regarding the recent debates highlighted in the media about the sexual exploitation and abuse of young girls within and outside of South Asian communities.  She is interested in developing the international context of social work issues through research and international exchanges; this includes the development of social work education curriculum on aspects of international social work, including  asylum seekers and political conflict.  She is the co-chair of the International Sub-committee of Social Work Education Committee (Joint University Council’s). 

Relevant Publications

Duffy, J., Ramon, S., Guru, S., Lindsay, J., Cemlyn, S. and Nuttman-Shwartz, O. (2013) Developing a social work curriculum on political conflict: findings from an IASSW-funded project, European Journal of Social Work, DOI:10.1080/13691457.2012.757215

Duffy, J., Ramon, S.,Guru.S., Lindsay, J., Cemlyn, S., and Nuttman-Shwartz, O. (2013) Developing a social work curriculum on political conflict: findings from an IASSW-funded project, European Journal of Social Work (ttp://  

Guru, S, (2012) Under Siege: Families of Counter-Terrorism, British Journal of Social Work, Vol. 42 (6) pp 1151-1173.

Guru, S. (2012) Reflection on research: Families affected by counter-terrorism in the UK, International Social Work, 55:5:689-703.

Guru, S. (2010) Social  Work and the ‘War on Terror’, British Journal of Social Work.   Br J Soc Work, 40(1): 272-289.

Guru, S.  (2009) Divorce Obstacles & Opportunities,  The Sociological Review, 57 (2): 285-305.  

Guru, S. (2006) Working with Asian Perpetrators of Domestic Violence — The British Experience, Practice, Vol. 18 (3) 153-166.

Guru, S. (2003) Transmission and Transformation of Asian Femininity in Everyday Life, (2003) Everyday Cultures Working Papers, National Everyday Cultures Programme, Open University, Everyday Culture Programme.

A. Davis, HJ Rogers, S Guru, M Barnes, L Lewis, (2002)  Women-only and Women-Sensitive Mental Health ServicesAn expert Paper, Department of Health, 66 pages. Publication 11182

Guru, S. (1986) ‘An Asian Women’s Refuge in Birmingham,’ in Social Work with Black Children and their Families (ed). S. Ahmed; J. Cheetham, Batsford Publications

Rachel Thwaites

Rachel Thwaites is currently a Research Fellow in the Health Services Management Centre in the School of Social Policy, exploring older patients’ experiences of emergency hospital care.  Her background is a mixture of Gender Studies, Sociology, and History, with gender and other inequalities the main focus of her research.  Before joining HSMC in 2014 Rachel was a doctoral student at the Centre for Women’s Studies, University of York where she completed her ESRC-funded thesis entitled ‘Women, Marriage, and Selfhood: How Names Impact upon Gendered Identity’ which explored the decisions British women make with their last name on marriage and how this impacts upon (gendered) identity.  In connection with this research and international developments around naming systems and laws Rachel has spoken on various local radio stations and on the Today programme.  She has since been involved in helping doctoral students train to deal with press coverage of their PhD. 

Rachel has research and teaching interests in gender, inequalities, identities, sociology of health and illness, heterosexualities, emotion work, family and kinship, narrative, the construction of traditions, individualisation theory, and the experiences of postgraduates who teach. 



Thwaites, R. (forthcoming 2014). Love Stories: Naming Decisions and Narrative in Contemporary Britain, in S. Petrella (ed.) Doing Gender, Doing Love: Interdisciplinary Voices. Inter-disciplinary press.

Thwaites, R. (2013). The Making of Selfhood: Naming Decisions on Marriage, Families, Relationships, and Societies. 2(3): 425 - 439.

Thwaites, R. (2012). Women, Marriage, and Selfhood – Why Change Names?, Graduate Journal of Social Science. 9(3). online.

Members: Doctoral researchers

Hena Singh is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, Miranda House, University of Delhi. She is currently a doctoral candidate in POLSIS. Her research interests lie in gender, political theory, consumer movements and rights.

Monica Pinilla Roncancio is a PhD candidate in the Institute Applied Social Sciences. She has a Masters degree in Economics and in Health Economics. Her research interests are Disability, Poverty, Social Justice and Health Capabilities. Monica is particularly interested in the economic impact of disability and how social justice plays a role in the type of strategies for equity of opportunities of vulnerable populations. She has worked in topics related to disability, poverty and equity and efficiency of health care systems in developed and developing countries.

Ellie Gore is a doctoral researcher in the International Development Department. Her PhD is based on an examination of sexual minority organising and the politics of homosexuality in Ghana. She is interested in queer and feminist theory, postcolonialism, and the anthropology of development.

Sarah Louise Johnson is a PhD candidate in the School of Philosphy, Theology and Religion (Philosophy). Her work is on the ethical problem of body commodification; specifically, what makes certain markets harmful, feminist debates on surrogacy and prostitution, and whether there is property in the body. Further details of Sarah’s work are available at:

Fran Amery is an ESRC-funded doctoral researcher in the Department of Political Science and International Studies, and Graduate Co-ordinator of the PSA Women and Politics Specialist Group. Her thesis looks at the parliamentary politics of abortion in the UK since the passage of the 1967 Abortion Act, and her research interests include feminist politics, the body, biopolitics and health policy.

Lindsay Murch is a Doctoral Researcher and Research Assistant in the Institute of Conflict, Cooperation and Security. Her research is on gender in the military; specifically the implications of new military technologies, including Drones, and how this inflects on debates on gender in military and militarized contexts.

Cherry Miller is an ESRC funded Doctoral Researcher in POLSIS. Her thesis focuses on how masculinities are performed in the Westminster Parliament. Specifically, her research is oriented towards ongoing discussions between feminism and new institutionalism.

Frankie Rogan is a Doctoral Researcher in POLSIS working on the relationship between the representation of women in popular culture, and the (under)representation of women in the political sphere.

Renata Guimarães Reynaldo is currently a visiting research student at the department of Political Sciences and International Studies (POLSIS) from the University of Birmingham and a PhD student at the Interdisciplinary Program in Human Sciences (area of concentration: Gender Studies) from the Federal University of Santa Catarina/Brazil. Her research interests lie in Postcolonial Feminisms and Transnational Feminist Movements. Her thesis looks at the World March of Women as illustrative of an other transational feminism emerged in the twenty-first century.


Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Theory Networking Event

One-day networking workshop

Date: Friday 27 June 2014.
Venue: Winterborne House, Jekyll Room
Time: 9:30 - 4:00

This Workshop is designed to bring students and academics together from across the university who currently research in the areas of gender, sexuality and feminist theory.

The workshop will provide an informal opportunity for researchers to meet others who share interests and expertise; establish areas for potential collaboration across departments in order to enhance collective research activities and cultures; and identify a set of practical strategies for developing research activities to take forward as part of a regular programme for meetings of the Gender and Feminist Theory Research Group in 2014-15.

The day will be organized around a recently completed mapping of gender research currently being undertaken at the University and a series of discussion groups.

Participation is open to all and is free. Lunch is included, therefore, for catering purposes please register in advance with Dr. Emma Foster ( or Dr. Shelley Budgeon Please forward this invite to all colleagues and students at the University who are interested in gender research.

Recent and forthcoming events organized by or including GAFT participants include:

Win: Win Network for Empowering Women

Monday 09 December, 11.45-14.00 (417 Muirhead Tower, University of Birmingham)

An event designed to provide an informal space for women in the College of Social Sciences (CoSS) to come together, share their experiences and develop mutual support on issues of shared concern.

Participants include: Catherine Needham, Reader, Health Services Management Centre, School of Social Policy; Catherine Mangan, Senior Fellow, Institute for Local Government Studies, School of Government and Society; Kiran Trehan, Professor, Department of Management, Birmingham Business School; Sally Steele, College Head of Human Resources; Professor Cillian Ryan College Lead on equality and diversity issues. For further details contact Catherine Durose or Katie Tonkiss.

To confirm attendance, reply to Ann Bolstridge,

Body/State in the Age of Austerity.

Saturday 22nd February 2014 (University of Birmingham)

This academic year, GAFT will be hosting the Political Studies Association’s annual Women in Politics Conference. Dr. Laura Jenkins will act as one of two local organizers for the event. The theme this year’s conference is Body/State in the Age of Austerity. Participants will interrogate the presence of sexed and raced bodies in political institutions; the disciplining of bodily ‘deviance’; the state as ‘masculine’; the politics of reproduction and new reproductive technologies; the politics of male and female circumcision; the politics of (dis)ability; the regulation of health and healthcare; poverty and hunger. Papers with an additional focus on austerity politics are particularly welcome. Informal enquiries should be directed to Laura Jenkins.

Prospective participants should submit a title and abstract (of no more than 200 words) to Fran Amery by the end of November, 2013. E-mail

The Men Question in Global Governance

May, 2013 (University of Gothenburg)

In May, 2013 Jill Steans participated in a discussion on The Men Question in Global Governance hosted by the University of Gothenburg. A series of blogs based on presentations at the event have been published on the Gender in Global Governance Net-Work website.