Dr Lorenza Antonucci

Dr Lorenza Antonucci

Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology
Associate Professor
Birmingham Fellow
School Impact REF Lead

Contact details

School of Social Policy
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Lorenza Antonucci is currently Associate Professor and Birmingham Fellow in the Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology.

Lorenza is a social policy scholar researching and writing on inequality, comparative social policy in Europe, young adults, higher education and welfare state changes. Lorenza’s research is both theoretical informed (through welfare theory) and applied in nature (through cross-national and mixed-method research). Lorenza’s research employs an interdisciplinary approach to deal with topical issues in contemporary social sciences: Brexit, precarity, the privatization of higher education, the transformation of the European social model and the rise of inequality.


  • FHEA (Fellow of the Higher Education Academy), 2016
  • PhD in Social Policy, University of Bristol, 2015
  • MSc (distinction) in Social Policy (Research), (distinction), London School of Economics, 2010
  • MSc (110/110 cum laude) in Economics of Public Administration, Bocconi University, 2009
  • BS (110/110 cum laude) in Economics of Public Administration, Bocconi University, 2007


Lorenza has a broad research interest on European social policy and the new politics of inequality.

Before joining the University of Birmingham Lorenza held posts at Teesside University (Research Lecturer) (2015-2017); University of the West of Scotland (Lecturer in Social Policy) (2013-2015) and the University of Bristol (Teaching and Research Assistant) (2011-2013).

Lorenza has conducted several comparative studies investigating emerging inequalities in European societies. In 2010 Lorenza won the first “Policy and Politics” Award from the publisher The Policy Press to fund her doctoral research on young people in university in Sweden, Italy and England. In 2015 she conducted a period of research on EU policies in Brussels through the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Lorenza has been very active in current debates on European welfare state reforms through her collaboration with leading European think tanks (e.g. Foundation for European Progressive Studies; Policy Network; Solidar) and European institutions (e.g. Youth Partnership of the European Commission/Council of Europe, different DGs of the European Commission). Most recently she has assisted MEPs in the drafting of a EU Parliament Resolution on “Combating Inequalities” for Member States and the European Commission.

Lorenza is very keen on working at the interstices of mainstream media and social research: she has written journalistic pieces for Slate and has talked about her research on UK and US radio (BBC Radio 4, Sirius Radio and NPR) and in several international magazines/newspapers (e.g. Times Higher Education, The Observer, The Guardian, L’Espresso, Social Europe). Lorenza actively uses social media to communicate social research, in particular via Twitter (@SocialLore).


Lorenza convenes the following Undergraduate module
- ‘Global Societies’ (2nd Year)


Lorenza’s overall research interest revolves around the growing mismatch between European social policies and people’s lives. Her research investigates the reconfiguration of ‘welfare mixes’ and its effect on inequalities.

Following the analysis of the Brexit vote, Lorenza is investigating with a cross-national and interdisciplinary team how inequality and precarity explain the increasing popularity of anti-establishment politics across Europe. In the last couple of years Lorenza has explored the role of EU policy-making during austerity. Lorenza has focussed also on ‘young adults’ as a social group particularly affected by welfare state reforms, increasing ‘familism’, precarity and inequality.

Lorenza is the author of ‘Student Lives in Crisis’. This book has examined the implications of the privatization of HE costs on young people and has received wide coverage in both mainstream and academic journals: Times Higher Education (book of the week), HEPI, LSE Review of Books, Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy and the British Journal of Sociology of Education.

Other activities

Lorenza is:

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
  • Member of ‘Next Left’: a network of academics and policy-makers coordinate by the think tank of the Foundation for European Progressive studies (FEPS).
  • Research Associate at OSE (European Social Observatory) in Brussels (Belgium).
  • Member of the Social Policy Association (SPA) and of the European Social Policy Network (ESPAnet)


Antonucci, L., Horvath, L., Krouwel, A. and Y. Kutyski (2017) “he malaise of the squeezed middle: Challenging the narrative of the left behind Brexiter Competition & Change, Special Issue: Brexit: a year later, 21 (3): 211-229.

Antonucci, L. (2016) Student Lives in Crisis. Deepening inequality in times of austerity, Bristol: Policy Press.

Roberts, S. and L. Antonucci (2016) “Youth Transitions, Welfare Policy & Contemporary Europe” in Lange, A., Steiner, C., Shutter, S. and H. Reiter (eds) Hadbuch Kindheits-und Jugendsoziologie (German Handbook of Youth Sociology),
Amsterdam: Springer, pp. 1-13.

Antonucci, L. Hamilton, M. and S. Roberts (2014) “Constructing a Theory of Youth and Social Policy” in Antonucci, L., Hamilton, M. and S. Roberts (eds.) Young People and Social Policy in Europe: Dealing with Risk, Inequality and Precarity in Times of Crisis, Work and Welfare in Europe, Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 13-34.

Antonucci, L., Hamilton, M. and S. Roberts (eds.) (2014) Young People and Social Policy in Europe: Dealing with risk, inequality and precarity in times of crisis, Work and Welfare series, Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Antonucci, L. (2013) “Comparative research in higher education studies. Considering the different levels of comparisons and emerging methodological challenges” In Huisman, J. and M. Tight (eds) Theory and Methods in Higher Education Research, London: Emerald, pp. 1-19.

Antonucci, L. (2013) “The future of the social dimension in European higher education: university for all, but without student support?” Perspectives on Youth: European Youth Partnership Series, Brussels: European Commission – Council of Europe, pp. 53-68.

Antonucci, L. (2011) University Students in Transition to Adult Age. Comparing Italy and England, Italian Journal of Social Policy, Special Issue ‘The Dispossessed’, 15 (3), pp. 271-289.

View all publications in research portal