Professor Simon Pemberton

Dr Simon Pemberton, Birmingham Fellow

Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology
Professor in Social Policy and Criminology
Postgraduate Taught Admissions Lead

Contact details

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

Simon is a Professor in Social Policy and Criminology 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

His office hours vary in the Spring and Summer terms, see office door for latest details. 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)


Dr Simon Pemberton

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.

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 was Membership Secretary of the Social Policy Association 2010-2013.

He joined University of Birmingham in 2012 as a Birmingham Fellow.

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


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.

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

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

Most recently, Simon was a member of the project team for the 'Poverty and Social Exclusion Survey 2010', Economic and Social Research Council, £3,798,315, 36 months. Simon led the follow up qualitative research 'Life on a Low Income in Austere Times' to the main stage survey as part of the project.

Other activities

  • Honorary Research Fellow, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol
  • Book Series Co-Editor, Studies in Social Harm (Policy Press)
  • Programme Lead for Social Policy and Criminology BA


Pemberton, S (2015) Harmful Societies: Understanding Social Harm, Bristol: Policy Press.

Fahmy, E, Pemberton, S and Sutton, E (2015) 'Are we all agreed? Consensual methods and the 'necessities of life' in the UK today'. Journal of Social Policy, doi:10.1017/S0047279415000033.

Sutton, E, Pemberton, S, Fahmy, E, Tamiya, Y (2014) 'Stigma, Shame and the Experience of Poverty in Japan and the United Kingdom', Social Policy and Society, 13(1) 143-154.

Pemberton, S, Sutton, E, Fahmy, E (2014) Life on a Low Income in Austere Times. Working Paper - Analysis Series, Bristol: University of Bristol.

Pemberton, S, Sutton, E, Fahmy, E (2013) A review of the qualitative evidence relating to the experience of poverty and exclusion. Working Paper No. 22, Bristol: University of Bristol.

Pantazis, C and Pemberton, S (2013) 'Resisting the advance of the security state: The impact of frameworks of resistance on the UK's securitisation agenda'. International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, 41 (4) 358-374.

Fahmy E, & Pemberton S. (2012) A Video Testimony on Rural Poverty and Social Exclusion. Sociological Research Online, 17 (1) 2 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) ‘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.  

View all publications in research portal