Dr Ian McGimpsey

Ian McGimpsey

School of Education
Professor of Education

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Ian’s work is focussed on the sociological analysis of youth and youth services. His research has taken place within youth service providers, and has focussed on how policy on education, youth and localism relates to the identities and practices of youth workers and related occupational groups. Central to his work is a concern with inequality and social justice, and the role youth services can play in working towards greater inclusion and equality. His work has a central conceptual focus on the politics of subjectivity, and engages with post-structural theorists including Judith Butler, Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, and Michel Foucault.


  • PhD in Sociology of Education
  • Masters in Educational and Social Research
  • BA (Hons) Youth and Community Work


Ian joined the University of Birmingham School of Education as a lecturer in 2013, immediately following the completion of his ESRC funded doctoral research at the Institute of Education, London. His undergraduate study was in youth and community work at the University of Durham, and after completing his degree Ian worked in the voluntary sector in East London initially in provision for young people and subsequently coordinating and managing education and advice services for adults. Ian then joined the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (the RSA), leading their work in education policy and curriculum innovation.


Ian is the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the School of Education and teaches on the BA Education undergraduate degree course.

Postgraduate supervision

Ian currently supervises a number of postgraduate researchers including Hannah Bowden who is exploring the enactment of the Pupil Premium Plus policy by Virtual Schools and the effects on educational provision for looked-after children.

Doctoral research

PhD title
Youth Service Assemblage: Youth work subjectivity and practice in the context of changing youth service policy


The New Youth Service Assemblage

Ian’s ESRC funded doctoral research investigated the production of youth work subjectivity and practice in the context of youth service policy following the election of the Coalition Government. Based on case-studies in ten sites of youth service provision across England, it analyses the effects of a new phase of ‘post-neoliberal’ policy making on the provision of services to marginalised young people. It argues that although there is continuity with neoliberal phases of policy making that have operated to disconnect youth services from communities and formalise interactions with young people, current policy is distinct in reforming local communities and their service providers as an opportunity for ‘social investment’, and in driving greater employment insecurity amongst workers. Each of these connected reforms have significant effects on occupational identity. The research utilises Deleuze & Guattari’s notion of the assemblage to develop education policy sociological perspectives with respect the relations of policy to institutional spaces and processes of subjectivation 

Youth Unemployment

Ian has undertaken work for the University of Birmingham’s Public Service Academy, investigating approaches to youth unemployment and their effectiveness. This work supports the Public Service Academy’s contribution to research, policy and practice in a range of public service areas.

Other activities

Ian is co-convener of the BERA Youth and Informal Education Special Interest Group


McGimpsey, Ian (2016). Late neoliberalism: Delineating a policy regime. Critical Social Policy 2016, Vol. 36:4 DOI: 10.1177/0261018316653552

Ian McGimpsey, Alice Bradbury & Diego Santori (2016). Revisions to rationality: the translation of ‘new knowledges’ into policy under the Coalition Government. British Journal of Sociology of Education, DOI: 10.1080/01425692.2016.1202747

Deborah Youdell & Ian McGimpsey (2015). Assembling, disassembling and reassembling ‘youth services’ in Austerity Britain. Critical Studies in Education, 56:1 DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2015.975734

Bradbury, A., McGimpsey, I. and Santori, D. (2013) Revising Rationality: the use of ‘Nudge’ approaches in neoliberal education policy, Journal of Education Policy DOI:10.1080/02680939.2012.719638

View all publications in research portal



Youth policy, youth work and wider youth services, including evaluation and measurement, and funding