Dr Simon Pemberton

Birmingham Fellow

School of Social Policy

Dr Simon Pemberton, Birmingham Fellow

Contact details

School of Social Policy
Muirhead Tower, Room 914
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


Simon is a Birmingham Fellow currently researching aspects of social harm caused by states and corporations, as well as social structures, in particular the harms caused by inequality.

Feedback and office hours

My office hours are Tuesday and Thursday (9-12 midday). Students are also able to make an appointment outside of these hours via email.


  • PhD 'The Production of Harm in the United Kingdom: A Social Harm Perspective'. University of Bristol (2004)
  • MA Socio-Legal Studies, University of the West of England (1998)
  • LLB, University of Central England (1997)


Simon completed his PhD in 2004, 'The Production of Harm in the UK: A social harm analysis' at the University of Bristol. In 2005, he was awarded an ESRC Post Doctoral Fellowship to develop his doctoral work on social harm, resulting in a number of journal articles and book chapters.

Listen to Simon talking about 'Social harm and the structures of societies' in this podcast (MP3 - 14.1MB)

He was appointed as Lecturer at the School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol in 2005. Simon was Associate Editor of Policy and Politics 2006-2009. He is currently Membership Secretary of the Social Policy Association.


To date Simon’s research has focussed on three inter-related areas:

  • state and corporate harm
  • poverty, inequality and human rights
  • social harm, crime and criminalisation.

He has published a range of journal articles, monographs and book chapters on these topic areas. He has also received a number of research grants in these areas:

  • British Academy, ‘Whistleblowing and the Social Control of Organisational Harm’, £6,592, 11 months, Principal Investigator (with Prof Tombs, Liverpool John Moores – co-applicant). 2007 
  • Home Office (RDS – NOMS), ‘Rapid Evidence Assessment on the identified needs of women offenders, and of interventions to meet those needs’, £33,000, 8 months, Co-Applicant. 2006
  • The Big Lottery, ‘Multi-media Testimony on Rural Poverty & Social Exclusion’, £95,972, 12 months, Co-Applicant (Grant Holder Rural Media Company). 2006
  • British Academy, Understanding the Social Impacts of Counter-Terrorism Strategies in Britain and Australia, £8,000, 12 months, Named Researcher, (Grant Holder, Dr David Whyte, University of Stirling). 2005
  • Economic and Social Research Council, ‘The Human Wreckage of Neo Liberalism: A social harm perspective, Post Doctoral Fellowship, £27,757.35, 12 months, Principal Investigator. 2004

Simon is currently a member of the project team for the ‘Poverty and Social Exclusion Survey 2010’, Economic and Social Research Council, £3,798,315, 36 months. http://www.poverty.ac.uk/ .

Other activities

  • Membership Secretary of the Social Policy Association
  • Honorary Research Fellow, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol


Fahmy E, & Pemberton S. (2012) A Video Testimony on Rural Poverty and Social Exclusion. Sociological Research Online, 17 (1) 2 http://www.socresonline.org.uk/17/1/2.html 10.5153/sro.2611.

Pemberton, SA, Gordon, D & Nandy, S. (2012) 'Child rights, child survival and child poverty: the debate', in A Minujin and S Nandy (Eds.), Global child poverty and well-being Measurement, concepts, policy and action, (pp. 19-37), Bristol: Policy Press.

Pantazis, C & Pemberton, SA. (2011) 'Re-stating the Case for the Suspect Community: a reply to Greer', British Journal of Criminology, (pp. -) 10.1093/bjc/azr071.

Pantazis, C & Pemberton, S. (2011) 'Reconfiguring Security and Liberty: Political Discourses and Public Opinion in the new century', British Journal of Criminology, (pp. -) 10.1093/bjc/AZR090.

Pemberton, S, Tombs, S, Chan, M.M & Seal, L. (2011) 'Whistleblowing, Organisational Harm and the Self Regulating Organisation', Policy and Politics, (pp. -) 10.1332/030557311X546389.

Pantazis, C & Pemberton, S (2009) 'Nation States and the Production of Social Harm: Resisting the Hegemony of 'TINA'', in Coleman, R. Sim, J. Tombs, S. Whyte D (Eds.), State, Power, Crime, (pp. 214-223), London: Sage Publications.

Pantazis, C & Pemberton, S. (2009) ‘From the ‘Old’ to the ‘New’ Suspect Community Examining the Impacts of Recent UK Counter-Terrorist Legislation’. British Journal of Criminology, 49(5):646-666.

Pantazis, C & Pemberton, S. (2009) ‘Policy transfer and the UK's 'war on terror': a political economy approach’. Policy & Politics, 37 (3): 363-387.

Dorling D., Gordon, D., Hillyard P, Pantazis, C, Pemberton, S & Tombs S. (2008) Criminal obsessions: Why harm matters more than crime (2nd edition), London: Centre for Crime and Justice Studies.

Pemberton, S. (2008) 'Demystifying Deaths in Police Custody: Challenging State Talk', Social & Legal Studies, 17 (2): 237-262.

Pemberton, S. (2007) 'Social harm future(s): Exploring the potential of the social harm approach', Crime, Law and Social Change, 48(1-2): 27-41.

Pemberton S, Gordon D, Nandy S, Pantazis C &, Townsend P (2007) Child rights and child poverty: Can the international framework of children’s rights be used to improve child survival rates? PLoS Medicine 4(10): e307.

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