Yasmin Gunaratnam BSc MSc PhD

Position held:
Senior Lecturer

+44 (0)20 7919 2957

y.gunaratnam (

Body, care, health and illness, death, race, gender, methodologies.

I have spent much of my career in an ambivalent relationship to Higher Education (I would tell people that I didn’t seem to fit in, academics could be snobby and tedious, and research was often elitist and dull, far removed from my everyday world and experiences). I joined the Department in 2008 and have had to revise my narrative. Sociology is a diverse and lively department. Our students continually stretch and reinvigorate the curriculum and the classroom. I have learned most about sociology from teaching them. Before I came to Goldsmiths I was involved in research, teaching and training in Higher Education, for local government and in the voluntary sector. I cared for my father during 1985-1992 and this experience stimulated my interest in medical sociology and in matters of embodiment, debility and care.


I have taught across all levels of the undergraduate curriculum and have expertise in the areas of research methods, culture and representation, race and gender. I have convened ‘Researching Society and Culture’, and I co-taught Vision, Truth and Knowledge (now the Sociology of Visuality), and Culture, Representation and Difference (with Mariam Motamedi-Fraser). I co-convened the BA Media and Sociology Programme with Liz Moor (Media and Communications) between 2008-2012.

At a Masters level I convened MA Gender, Media and Culture between 2010-12, teaching on the Introduction to Feminist Theory, and The Body and Affect courses. I also teach on the MA Social Research.

I received a Peake Award for teaching in 2010 (awarded by Goldsmiths for excellence in teaching).  

In January 2013 I will begin my British Academy Fellowship project on the palliative care philosophy of ‘total pain’.

Areas of supervision

I supervise 3 doctoral students; one of whom is investigating racial intermixture. The 2 students whom I co-supervise with Nirmal Puwar are working on projects in the areas of value and measure with regard to student experience, and on Palestinians in exile. I am interested in supervising students in the broad areas of health and illness, race, gender, and stories and narrative.

Research interests

My theoretical concerns and empirical research coalesce around three inter-related themes: corporeal vulnerability, care and social research methodologies. My engagement with social theory has included my monograph ‘Researching race and ethnicity: methods, knowledge and power’ (2003) that examined the history and development of epistemic regimes, social scientific values and methodological practices in researching race. My empirical research includes an early ethnographic study of dying migrants in a London hospice (1999); participatory action research with cancer patients in identifying patient priorities for cancer research (the Macmillan ‘Listening Study’, 2006); and a recent study using narrative interviews and psychoanalytic infant observation to examine and theorise identity transition amongst first-time mothers (Open University, 2008). A hallmark of my current work has been the pursuit of practices, sites and methods that bring into closer dialogue the worlds of theory, policy and practice. The productive interrelations between these worlds can be seen in my co-edited collection ‘Narrative and Stories in Health Care’ (2009), which was shortlisted and ‘Highly Commended’ in the British Medical Association Book Awards 2010.

Research Projects

2006-9 - Involving people of diverse ethnicities in cancer research: An exploration of experiences, attitudes and barriers, with Dr David Wright, Macmillan Research Unit, Southampton University, funded by Macmillan Cancer Support.

2005 - Older people, ethnicity and palliative care dissemination project.Managed by the Policy Research Institute on Ageing and Ethnicity and funded by the Department of Health.

2002-5 - ‘Stories That Matter’- a narrative project on older people, ethnicity and palliative care. Managed by the Policy Research Institute on Ageing and Ethnicity and funded by the Department of Health.

2001 -  ‘Race’, gender and professional identity amongst mental health nurses. With Dr Gail Lewis (Psychology, Open University), funded by Research Development Committee, Open University.

Selected publications

Number of items: 34.


Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2014. black British feminisms: many chants. Feminist Review, 108, pp. 1-10. [Article]

Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2014. Morbid mixtures: Hybridity, pain and transnational dying. Subjectivity, 7(1), pp. 74-91. ISSN 1755-6341 [Article]

Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2014. Rethinking Hybridity, Interrogating Mixedness. Subjectivity, 7(1), pp. 1-17. ISSN 1755-6341 [Article]

Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2013. Roadworks: British Bangladeshi mothers, temporality and intimate citizenship in East London. European Journal of Women's Studies, 20(3), pp. 249-263. ISSN 1350-5068 [Article]

Anim-Addo, Joan and Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2013. Secrets and lies: Narrative methods at the limits of research. Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, 5(3), pp. 383-396. [Article]

Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2012. Learning To Be Affected: Social suffering and total pain at life’s borders. The Sociological Review, 60(S1), pp. 108-123. ISSN 0038-0261 [Article]

Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2009. Care, artistry and what might be. Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care, 1(1), pp. 9-17. ISSN 1757-0980 [Article]

Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2007. Where is the Love? Art, aesthetics and research. Journal of Social Work Practice, 21(3), pp. 271-287. ISSN 0265-0533 [Article]

Corner, J., Wright, D., Hopkinson, J., Gunaratnam, Yasmin, McDonald, J. W. and Foster, C.. 2007. The research priorities of patients attending UK cancer treatment centres: findings from a modified nominal group study. British Journal of Cancer, 96(6), pp. 875-881. ISSN 0007-0920 [Article]


Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2013. Death and the Migrant: Bodies, borders, care. London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 1-208. ISBN 9781472515339 [Book]

Book Section

Clark, Nigel and Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2013. Sustaining Difference: Climate Change, Diet and the Materiality of Race. In: Rachel Slocum and Arun Saldanha, eds. Geographies of Race and Food Fields, Bodies, Markets. Burlington: Ashgate, 00-00. ISBN 9781409469278 [Book Section]

Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2009. Narrative Interviews and Research. In: David Oliviere, ed. Narrative and Stories in Healthcare: Illness, Dying and Bereavement. Oxford University Press, p. 224. ISBN 978-0-19-954669-5 [Book Section]

Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2009. What Difference Does Our Difference Make in Researching Infertility?. In: Lorraine Culley, Nicky Hudson and Floor van Rooij, eds. Marginalized Reproduction: Ethnicity, Infertility and Reproductive Technologies. Earthscan: London , 80-94 . ISBN 978-1-84407-576 8 [Book Section]

Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2008. Where is the Love? Art, aesthetics and research. In: Prue Chamberlayne and Martin Smith, eds. Art, Creativity and Imagination in Social Work Practice. Routledge , 13-29 . ISBN 978-0415465083 [Book Section]

Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2006. Complexity and Complicity in Researching Ethnicity and Health. In: Jenny Douglas, Sarah Earle and Stephen Handsley, eds. A Reader in Promoting Public Health: Challenge and Controversy. Open University , 147-156 . ISBN 978-1412930758 [Book Section]

Conference or Workshop Item

Puar, Jasbir, Gunaratnam, Yasmin, Hickey-Moody, Anna Catherine and Ahmed, Sara. 2014. 'Debilities: Sensing Bodies and Worlds'. In: Debilities: Sensing Bodies and Worlds. Goldsmiths, Universirty of London, United Kingdom. [Conference or Workshop Item]


Jones, Hannah, Bhattacharyya, Gargi, Forkert, Kirsten, Davies, Will, Dhaliwal, Sukhwant, Gunaratnam, Yasmin, Jackson, Emma and Saltus,, Roiyah. 2014. "Swamped" by anti-immigration campaigns. [Digital]


Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2014. In extremis. Autograph ABP, London.

This list was generated on Sun Mar 29 19:51:37 2015 BST.


2003 Researching Race and Ethnicity: Methods, Knowledge and Power.London: Sage. ISBN 0 7619 7286 2.


2009 Gunaratnam, Y.and Oliviere, D. (Eds)Narrative and Stories in Health Care: Illness, Dying and Bereavement. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978–0–19–954669–5


 In Preparation: Mortal Cartographies: Transnational Dying and Care (Bloomsbury Academic, planned publication 2012)


Chapters in Edited Books


2009 Elliott, H, Gunaratnam, Y., Hollway, W. and Phoenix, A. Practices, Identification and Identity Change in the Transition to Motherhood. In M.Wetherell (Ed) Theorizing Identities and Social Action. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. pp.19-37. ISBN 978-0-230-20500-0.


2009 What Difference Does Our Difference Make in Researching Infertility?  In L. Culley, N. Hudson and F. Rapport (Eds) Marginalised Reproduction: Ethnicity, Infertility and New Reproductive Technologies. Earthscan: London.  pp.80-94. ISBN 978-1-84407-576-8


2009 Where is the Love? Art, aesthetics and research.  In P. Chamberlayne and M. Smith (Eds) Art, Creativity and Imagination in Social Work Practice. London: Routledge pp. 13-29. ISBN 978-0-415-46508-3.


2009 Narrative Interviews and Research. In Gunaratnam, Y. and Oliviere, D. (Eds)Narrative and Stories in Health Care: Illness, Dying and Bereavement. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 47-62.  ISBN 978–0–19–954669–5


2008 Ethnicity, Difference and Care. In J. Corner and C. Bailey (Eds) Cancer Nursing - Care in Context. Blackwell Publishing. pp. 620-37. ISBN 0-632-03998-1


2007 Complexity and Complicity in Researching Ethnicity and Health. In J. Douglas, S. Earle, S. Handsley, C. Lloyd and S. Spurr (Eds) A Reader in Promoting Public Health: Challenges and Controversy. Basingstoke: Palgrave. pp.147-56. ISBN 978 1 4129 3074 1


2004 ‘Bucking and Kicking’: ‘race’, gender and embodied resistance in health care. In U. Apitzsch, J. Bornat, and P. Chamberlayne (Eds), Biographical Methods and Professional Practice: An International Perspective. pp.205-19. Bristol: Policy Press  ISBN 1 86134 492 9


2004 Skin Matters: 'Race' and Care in the Health Services. In J. Fink (Ed) Care: Personal Lives, Social Policy. Bristol: Polity Press. pp. 112-44.  ISBN 1 86134 519 4.


2003 More Than Words: dialogue across difference. In M.Sidell, J.Jones. J. Katz. A. Peberdy and J.Douglas (Eds) Debates and Dilemmas in Promoting Health: A Reader. Basingstoke: Palgrave. pp.112-121 ISBN0 1 4039 0228 3.  


2002 Whiteness and Emotions in Social Care. In B.Bytheway, V.Bacigalupo, J. Bornat, J. Johnson and S. Spurr (Eds), Understanding care, welfare and community: A reader. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 158-167  ISBN 0415 25860.  


1993 Breaking The Silence: Asian carers in Britain. In J.Bornat, C.Pereira, D.Pilgrim and F.Williams (Eds) Community Care – A Reader. pp.114-123. ISBN 0-333-5815-4.



Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals


2011 Cultural Vulnerability: A narrative approach to intercultural care,

Qualitative Social Work published online 29 December 2011

DOI: 10.1177/1473325011420323;1473325011420323v1


2011 Cultural Vulnerability and Professional Narratives (2011), Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life Care, 7:1-12.


2009 Auditory Space, Ethics and Hospitality: ‘Noise’, Alterity and Care at the End of Life.Body and Society. 15(4): 1-19.


2008 Towards multi-sensory research: acoustic space, racialisation and whiteness Journal of Research in Nursing, 13 (2) 155-64.


2008 Care, artistry and what might be. Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care, 1 (1): 9-17.


2008 From Competence to Vulnerability: care, ethics and elders from racialised minorities. Mortality 13 (1) 24-41.


2007 Wright, D., Corner, J., Hopkinson, J., Gunaratnam,Y. and Foster, C. The research attitudes, understanding and information seeking behaviour of cancer patients: an exploratory study: What do patients think about cancer research? British Journal of Cancer, 96, 875-81.


2007 Where is the Love? Art, aesthetics and research. Journal of Social Work Practice, 21(3) 271-287.


2001 ‘We mustn’t judge people….but’: Staff dilemmas in dealing with racial harassment amongst hospice service users, Sociology of Health and Illness, 23 (1) 65-83.


2001 Eating into Multiculturalism: Hospice staff and service users talk food, ‘race’, ethnicity and identities, Critical Social Policy, 21 (3) 287-310.


2001 Gunaratnam, Y. and Lewis, G. Racialising emotional labour and emotionalising racialised labour: anger, fear and shame in social welfare, Journal of Social Work Practice, 15(2) 125-142.


2000 VanDyke, R. and Gunaratnam, Y. Ethnic monitoring in higher education: some reflections on methodology, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 3 (4) 325-345.



Learning to be affected: Transnational dying, social suffering and total pain. Special Issue of Sociological Review, N.Puwar and L.Back (eds).  The issue will be published in 2012. 

Gunaratnam, Y. and Clark, N. Pre-Race Post-Race: Climate Change and Planetary Humanism. Special Issue of DarkMatter. The issue will be published in 2012. 


Articles in Journals and Magazines


2011 Precarious Street Life, Street Signs, Centre for Urban and Community Research, Spring, 24-26.


2010 Death in the City, Street Signs, Centre for Urban and Community Research, Autumn, 31-33.


2009 Elliott, H. and Gunaratnam, Y. Talking about breastfeeding: emotion, context and ‘good’ mothering. The Practising Midwife 12 (6) 2-6.


2007 Intercultural palliative care: do we need cultural competence? International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 13(10) 470-477.


2006 A Sweeter Palliative. Community Care, 28-4October:36-37.


2005 Awareness Differs by Ethnicity and Age. Practice Nursing, 16 (11): 528-530.


2000 Implications of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry for Palliative Care. International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 6(3) 147-149.


1998 Gunaratnam, Y., Bremner, I., Pollock, L. and Weir, C. (1998) Anti-discrimination, emotionsand professional practice, European Journal of Palliative Care, 5(4): 122–4.



Briefing Papers and Information Resources (for public and professional audiences)


2008 Improving the quality of palliative care. Briefing Paper. London: Race Equality Foundation.


2007 Palliative Care – information and help for older people. Leeds: Policy Research Institute on Ageing and Ethnicity. ISBN 0 9537642 7 3


2006 Access to Hospice Care, Equality and Diversity: A Briefing Paper for Managers and Board Members. London: Help The Hospices. ISBN 10 871978 58 0 (Produced in hard copy but also available on-line)


1993 Checklist: Health and Race. London: Kings’ Fund. ISBN 10 1857170423.


1993 Design and Development of Carers' Support. Service Development Briefings for Social Services Departments. London: Kings Fund ISBN 10 185717044


1990 Call For Care. London: Health Education Centre/Kings Fund. Translated into Gujarati, Bengali, Urdu and Punjabi. ISBN: 1854481738


On-line writing

2007 Dr Terrorist. Dark Matter




Poems and Creative Writing


2011 Secrets and Lives (for James) You are here, the journal of creative geography, XIV, 57-68.


2008 For Phyllis. In E.Earle and C.Bartholomew (Eds) Death, Dying and Bereavement: An Anthology. London: Routledge and Open University. pp.44. ISBN 978 1 84787 512 9


2008 Blind Date. In E.Earle and C.Bartholomew (Eds) Death, Dying and Bereavement: An Anthology. London: Routledge and Open University. pp. 45-6. ISBN 978 1 84787 512 9                                              


2005 The Bed. In Malone, C, Forbat, L. Martin, R. and Seden, J. (Eds) Relating Experience: Stories from Health and Social Care. London: Routledge and Open Universitypp.120-1. ISBN0 415 32657 5.

Content last modified: 19 Jul 2013

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