Emma Jackson

Staff details

Emma Jackson


Reader and Director of the Centre for Urban and Community




e.jackson (@gold.ac.uk)

Goldsmiths Research Centres/Groups

Emma Jackson is an urban sociologist working on practices of place, belonging and the city - particularly London. .

Emma Jackson is an urban sociologist working on practices of place, belonging and the city. She is a Reader in Sociology and the Director of the Centre for Urban and Community Research [CUCR] (https://www.gold.ac.uk/cucr/). Before joining Goldsmiths in 2015, Emma held the Urban Studies Foundation fellowship at the University of Glasgow.

Emma's research focuses on people's everyday practices of belonging and the dynamics of urban space. Her work primarily focuses on London and the relationship between the production of space, belonging and forms of class, multiculture and urban change. She specialises in teaching creative research methods and urban sociology. She is currently working on the project ‘Place-making and the Rivers of Lewisham’(funded by Goldsmiths Strategic Research Fund).

She was an editor of the Sociological Review from 2017-2023 and is a trustee of the IJURR Foundation.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD in Sociology 2010
  • MA Social Research 2004
  • BA Sociology and Cultural Studies 2003

Teaching and supervision

Emma is the co-Director of Postgraduate Research and the convener of MA Sociology (urban Studies). She also convenes the courses Methodology Now (MA), Cities and Society (MA), Rethinking the City (MA) and London (BA). The latter is a course entirely taught through walking in the city.

Research interests

Emma's research has focussed on a wide range of urban spaces from day centres to leisure space to urban rivers.

Emma started out conducting ethnographic research with young homeless people. Through engaging with the young people's accounts of movement and space she argued that young homeless people became 'fixed in mobility', a condition that impacted on both possible futures and everyday life. She then went on to work on the project 'The Middle Classes and the City: A comparison of Paris and London' (ESRC) leading to the publication of a range of papers with Michaela Benson and Tim Butler about the spatial practices and imaginaries of the middle classes in London.

Emma was a Co-I on the project 'Mapping Immigration Controversies' led by Hannah Jones that set out to study Government anti-immigration campaigns in real time. In this project she particularly focussed on how anti-immigration campaigns unfold in, impact on and are met with resistance in particular locales.

Emma's next projects were an ethnography of a London bowling alley ('Bowling together?: the choreography of everyday multiculture', ESRC), allowing her to explore leisure practices, multiculture and urban change in a site that was ear-marked for demolition. And a project investigating the boom of high-up spaces of lesiure in Peckham (Above Street Level, British Academy). Emma concluded that while 'diversity' is is celebrated as an atmosphere and generator of capital, existing spaces of everyday urban multiculture are at best unprotected and at worst not recognised, devalued and demolished.

Most recently Emma has been working on a project called 'Place-making and the Rivers of Lewisham' which examines the relationship between formal and informal practices of place-making and the three rivers of the Borough of Lewisham – from the ways the rivers are represented in council and city level planning, to the everyday ways in which local people engage with river spaces.

Publications and research outputs


Jones, Hannah; Gunaratnam, Yasmin; Bhattacharyya, Gargi; Davies, Will; Dhaliwal, Sukhwant; Forkert, Kirsten; Jackson, Emma and Saltus, Roiyah. 2017. Go Home? The Politics of Immigration Controversies. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 9781526113221

Jackson, Emma. 2015. Young Homeless People and Urban Space: Fixed in Mobility. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9780415722162

Bacque, Marie-Helene; Bridge, Gary; Benson, Michaela; Butler, Tim; Charmes, Eric; Fijalkow, Yankel; Jackson, Emma; Launay, Lydie and Vermeesch, Stephanie. 2015. The middle classes and the city: a study of Paris and London. Houdsmill, Basingstoke: Palgrave. ISBN 9781137332592

Edited Book

Jackson, Emma, ed. 2023. Writing Walking (One day in late Spring during a global pandemic). London: Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths, University of London. ISBN 9781399945158

Jones, Hannah and Jackson, Emma, eds. 2014. Stories of Cosmopolitan Belonging: Emotion and Location. New York and London: Routledge Earthscan. ISBN 9781138000650

Book Section

Jackson, Emma. 2021. Flâneuse Fragments: Towards a critical & situated feminist approach to walking in the city. In: Anita Strasser and Carla Duarte, eds. Walking Places - Conference Proceedings. Lisbon: DINÂMIA’CET-IUL, pp. 32-39. ISBN 9789897813092

Benson, Michaela and Jackson, Emma. 2018. From class to gentrification and back again. In: , ed. The Handbook of Gentrification Studies. London: Edward Elgar, pp. 63-80. ISBN 9781785361739

Forkert, Kirsten; Jackson, Emma and Jones, Hannah Jones. 2016. Whose Feelings Count? Performance politics, emotion and government immigration control. In: Eleanor Jupp; Jessica Pykett and Fiona Smith, eds. Emotional States: Sites and Spaces of affective Governance. Abingdon: Taylor and Francis. ISBN 9781472454058


Lisiak, Agata; Back, Les and Jackson, Emma. 2021. Urban Multiculture and Xenophonophobia in London and Berlin. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 24(1), pp. 259-274. ISSN 1367-5494

Jackson, Emma; Benson, Michaela and Calafate-Faria, Francisco. 2021. Multi-sensory ethnography and vertical urban transformation: Ascending the Peckham Skyline. Social & Cultural Geography, 22(4), pp. 501-522. ISSN 1464-9365

Jackson, Emma. 2020. Bowling Together? Practices of Belonging and Becoming in a London Ten-Pin Bowling League. Sociology, 54(3), pp. 518-533. ISSN 0038-0385


Benson, Michaela and Jackson, Emma. 2018. Above Street Level Podcasts.


Drever, John L.; Jackson, Emma; Rondel, Louise; Weleminsky, Carter Joseph; Cook, Christopher; Cobianchi, Mattia and Leadley, Marcus. 2021. Sounding the River Quaggy.

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

Printed Ephemera

Jackson, Emma and Benson, Michaela. 2018. Above Street Level.


Jackson, Emma and Rondel, Louise. 2024. Place-making and the Rivers of Lewisham: End of Project Report. Project Report. Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR), Goldsmiths, University of London, London.

Jackson, Emma and Rondel, Louise. 2024. Place-making and the Rivers of Lewisham: Policy Brief. Project Report. Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR), Goldsmiths, University of London, London.

Research projects

2015-2019: Bowling Together? The choreography of Everyday Multiculture
An ESRC-funded ethnographic research project exploring leisure practices and urban change through the site of a London bowling alley

2023: Place-making and the Rivers of Lewisham
Exploring the relationship between urban rivers, everyday practice and development. Funded by Goldsmiths Strategic Research Fund

2016-2017: Above Street Level