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Professor Sophie Day MA PhD

Position held:

+44 (0)20 7919 7811

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Department of Anthropology
Goldsmiths, University of London
New Cross
SE14 6NW

Office hours:
Wednesdays 11am - 1pm

Sophie Day is on research secondment to Imperial College London for three years from 1 April 2011.

Professor Sophie Day studied at Cambridge University, Stanford University, Ca., and the London School of Economic and Political Sciences, where she completed a PhD on spirit possession in Ladakh, North India. She holds an honorary chair at Imperial College, London in the School of Public Health, where she is seconded for three years from April 2011. She was awarded the Eileen Basker Prize and the Wellcome Medal for Anthropology as Applied to Medical Problems for her 2007 monograph, 'On the Game: Women and Sex Work'.
London: Pluto Press.

Whilst on secondment at Imperial College London, Professor Day is continuing to supervise her Goldsmiths PhD students whilst conducting research on several topics, ranging from biobanking to collaborative research with nursing staff on patient experiences locally and evaluation of a three country intervention to prevent cardiovascular illness. She is teaching on Society and Health to first year medical students and contributes to other courses such as the BSc in Global Health

See Sophie Day's Ladakh Portraits from her doctoral fieldwork in the early 1980s here.


Sophie Day teaches the Anthropology of Health and Medicine II: Research Focus course.

Areas of supervision

Sophie Day supervises research students in medical anthropology, and in a wide range of topics related to kinship, labour and temporality. She is also interested in students researching Ladakh (India)

Current MPhil/PhD students supervised:

  • Krzysztof Bierski, Mental Health: Something We All Have
  • Kate Cooper, Migration and the London sex industry
  • Claude Jousselin, Remembering turbulent times: accounting for Adult ADHD through the reconstruction of childhood


Research interests

Professor Sophie Day is currently working on concepts and relations of care in the NHS (supported by the Imperial NIHR Biomedical Research Centre & the Imperial College Healthcare Charity). She has also been engaged in documenting, digitalizing and returning images from her 1980s fieldwork to Ladakh, North India (with Dr Leizaola, supported by the British Academy). Earlier in the 2000s, she completed a restudy of sex work in London (supported by the Wellcome Trust), and a European project on HIV prevention among prostitutes (supported by the European Commission).

As a medical anthropologist, she has worked on sexual & occupational health, patient journeys and pathways, new technologies and spirit possession. She approaches the study of health through research on work and the division of labour (including the informal economy), sexuality and gender, and the anthropology of temporality.


Photographic Exhibition

Sophie Day presented two photographic exhibitions on Ladakh in 2011, one in Leh (Ladakh) and one at Goldsmiths. You can see a virtual copy of the first one entitled Leh (1981-2010): The Span of a Generation here.


Selected publications


Day, S. (2007). On the Game: Women and Sex Work. London: Pluto Press. (Awarded the 2007 Eileen Basker Prize, and the Wellcome Medal for Anthropology as Applied to Medical Problems (RAI).

Day, S. (2004). Sex work, Mobility and Health in Europe. eds S Day, H Ward. London: Kegan Paul. pp. 281 ISBN: 0-7103-0942-2 (see Contents page [pdf])

Day, S. (1999). Lilies of the Field: Marginal People Who Live for the Moment, eds Sophie Day, Evthymios Papataxiarchis, & Michael Stewart. (USA: Westview) pp.260


Selected articles and chapters

Day S, Leizaola R. (2012). Picturing Ladakhi nomads over the span of a generation. Accepted for publication, 2012, Vis. Anth. Review.
Day S. (2012). Demographies in Flux. In The Sage Handbook of Social Anthropology eds. Richard Fardon, John Gledhill, Olivia Harris (decd), Trevor Marchand, Mark Nuttall, Cris Shore, Veronica Strang and Richard Wilson. Sage, 2012: 2007-2038.

Day, S. (2010). Ethics between Public and Private: Sex Workers' Relationships in London. In Michael Lambek ed. Ordinary Ethics. NY: Fordham University Press.

Day, S. (2010). The re-emergence of 'trafficking': sex work between slavery and freedom. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 16: 816-834

Day, S. and Goddard, V. (2010). New beginnings between public and private: Arendt and ethnographies of activism. Cultural Dynamics 22 (2):137-154

Day, S. (2009). Renewing the war on prostitution: issues of 'trafficking' and 'slavery'. Anthropology Today, 2009; 25 (3): 1-3 (Guest editorial).

Day, S. (2008). 'Wolfenden 50: revisiting state policy and the politics of sex work in the UK'. In Demanding Sex: Critical Reflections on the Regulation of Prostitution (eds.) Vanessa Munro, Marina Della Giusta. Ashgate.

Day, S. (2008). 'Visions of Ladakh: Nicola Grist, 19 April 1957 - 26 August 2004'. In Modern Ladakh: Anthropological Perspectives on Continuity and Change, M. van Beek and F. Pirie (eds.), Leiden, Brill.

Day, S. (2007).   'Threading time in the biographies of sex workers'. In Ghosts of Memory: Essays on Remembrance and Relatedness, J Carsten (ed.), Oxford, Blackwell.

Day, S., Cooper, K., Green, A. and Ward, H. (2007). 'Maids, Migrants and Occupational Health in the London Sex Industry'. Anthropology and Medicine 2007; 14 (1): 41-53.

Day, S. and Ward, H. (2006). 'What happens to women who sell sex? Report of a unique occupational cohort'. Sexually Transmitted Infection 82; 413-417

Day, S. (2004). with H. Ward, A. Green, K. Cooper and JN Weber. 'Declining prevalence of STI in the London sex industry, 1985 to 2002'. Sexually Transmitted Infections 80(5);374-379.

Day, S. (2003). 'Secret enterprise: market activities in London sex workers', in Workers and narratives of survival in Europe: The management of precariousness at the end of the XXth century, A. Procoli (ed.). SUNY Press

Day, S. (2001). 'Biological Symptoms of Social Unease: the Stigma of Infertility in London Sex Workers', in Managing Reproductive Life: Cross-Cultural Themes in Fertility and Sexuality, S. Tremayne (ed.). NY and Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp.85-103.

Day, S., Ward, H., Ison, C. A., Ghani, A. C., Garnett, G. P., Bell, G., Kinghorn, G. and Weber, J. N. (2000). 'A prospective social and molecular investigation of gonococcal transmission'. The Lancet 356: 1812-1817.

Day, S. (2000). 'The Politics of Risk Among London Prostitutes', in Pat Caplan (ed.) Risk Revisited. Pluto: London, pp. 29- 58

Day, S., Ward, H. and Weber, J. (1999). 'Risky business: health and safety in the sex industry over a 9 year period'. Sexually Transmitted Infections 75:340-343.

Day, S. (1998). 'Sexual Networks: The Integration of Social and Genetic Data'. Social Science and Medicine 47(12):1991-1992.

Content last modified: 02 Oct 2014

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