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Research in Sociology at Goldsmiths

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Our research has long been recognised as vital in defining the shifting boundaries of the discipline.

Sociology research

We have been an important point of entry for numerous methodological, philosophical and theoretical innovations that have enlivened the sociological imagination in the UK and beyond. Sociology at Goldsmiths celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014.

Sociology at Goldsmiths has prospered because of its unique intellectual culture that manages to combine radical, cosmopolitan, interdisciplinary, creative and inventive approaches to research and teaching across the social sciences, arts, humanities and creative technologies. 

Members of Goldsmiths Sociology have played a key role in the development of the discipline, contributing to the development of social research methods, setting agendas in social and cultural theory, working in interdisciplinary fields, and linking theory to practice. The Department is forward-looking, global in orientation, and reaches out to a wide variety of audiences and users of sociological research. We describe our approach as ‘live sociology’.

The intellectual culture of Goldsmiths provides a unique context for creative developments in sociology. We have a track record in: international research that is global in scope; interdisciplinary research across the social and natural sciences, computing, arts and humanities; collaboration of international significance, both with other universities and with major partners in industry, government and the creative sector; and exploration of the interface between theory and practice, whether in the social, creative, scientific or professional spheres.

World Class and international

Goldsmiths is internationally recognized as world leading in its main research areas. The department is committed to developing a global sociological imagination that is in tune with the scale of today’s social relations in a global society.

Interdisciplinary and imaginative

Drawing on the creative mix of disciplines at Goldsmiths we have expertise in building a reflexive inter-disciplinarity into Sociology, taking interdisciplinarity as both topic and resource in conferences and research projects, as well as developing interdisciplinary methods.

Collaboration and engagement

Partnership and engagement with a wide range of research partners and users is a vital part of our research activity. This collaboration connects us to a range of stakeholders, research partners and user communities in our locality, nationally and internationally.

Past and present partners include:

  • industry – for example Intel, Sapient, HomeChoice, Tiscali, The Brand Union;
  • international and european organisations and agencies, for example, United Nations, UNICEF, EU European Initiative for Biotechnology Education, UNESCO
  • national and local government – for example, Home Office, DTI, Department of Health, ODPM, CRE, London Directorate of Health and Social Care, London Strategic Health Authorities, and numerous London boroughs
  • public bodies – for example, BBC, RSA, Charity Commission, Cancer Research Campaign, City Parochial Foundation, Civic Forum, National AIDS Trust, Human Rights Watch, Voice of the Listener and Viewer, Advertising Association, Runnymede Trust Race Forum
  • charities – for example Leverhulme, Wellcome, The Rothschild Foundation, Amnesty UK and Amnesty International

Practice-informed research and creative

We have expertise in the development of models of practice-led research in social science, exploring the intersections between traditional academic modes of knowledge production and the practices of designers, engineers, architects and artists, legal and NGO practitioners, whether in universities, industry, or the field.

Research in the department is best classified as falling under the following five broad thematic headings:

  • Digital Sociology, Live and Inventive Methods
  • Politics, Rights and Justice
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Theory, Culture and Society
  • Urban Sociology

All staff undertake research under the auspices of at least one of these themes, the majority working under two or three of them, and a small number work across four. Each has a programme of funded research and organizes conferences, seminars, and other research-related activities. Many are associated with a Masters programme, enabling teaching and research to enrich each other or are associated with a research centre, unit or initiative that provides an infrastructure for research activities. These clusters are the focus of our research strategy, with their development being overseen by the department research committee and consist of academic staff and research students working individually and collectively on shared interests; most academic staff contribute to more than one.

Goldsmiths continues to be inherently interdisciplinary and committed to forms of highly engaged collaboration with a wide range of colleagues and organizations, especially other universities and major partners in design, industry, government, the arts and the creative sector. We are committed to a forward-looking, wide-ranging and risk-taking research culture that recognises that if any ‘coming crisis’ for the discipline is to be avoided then the fullest engagement possible with the affordances that ‘new’ technologies - digital media in particular – present is absolutely essential. 

Research in the department is formally organised around a number of centres:

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