Caroline Knowles BSc PhD

Staff details

Position Professor of Sociology
Department Sociology
Email c.knowles (
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7393
Caroline Knowles BSc PhD

Caroline writes about migration and circulations of material objects – some of the social forces constituting globalisation. She is interested in cities, having done research in London, Hong Kong, Beijing, Fuzhou, Addis Ababa, Kuwait City and Seoul. She is currently the Director of the British Academy’s Cities and Infrastructure Programme, which comprises a portfolio of 18 multi-disciplinary projects delivering, with local partners, vital improvements in infrastructure in cities in the global south.

Author of many books and papers, she specialises in visual, spatial and biographical methods, often working with photographers and artists, most recently with Michael Tan (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), and Douglas Harper (Duquesne University, Pittsburg). Caroline is the author of Flip-Flop: a journey through globalisation’s backroads, published by Pluto Press in 2014 and in Brazil in Portuguese in 2018 as Nas Trilhas De Um Chinelo. The accompanying website can be found at She is co-author, with Douglas Harper, of Hong Kong: Migrant Lives, Landscapes and Journeys, published (2009) by the University of Chicago Press.

Caroline holds a Major Leverhulme Research Fellowship Serious Money: a Mobile Investigation of Plutocratic London. She recently worked with Ho Wing Chung, at the City University Hong Kong, on an ESRC project, ‘What calculations and Strategies Drive Young Migrants? An Investigation of the Traffic between London, Hong Kong and Beijing’, and with Roger Burrows, Rowland Atkinson, Tim Butler and Mike Savage on ‘The Very Affluent Worker: A Study of Everyday Life in the Alpha Territory’.


Publications and research outputs


Knowles, Caroline. 2014. Flip-Flop: A Journey Through Globalisation's Backroads. London: Pluto Press. ISBN 9780745334110

Knowles, Caroline and Harper, Douglas. 2010. Hong Kong: Migrant Lives, Landscapes and Journeys. Chicago: Chicago University Press. ISBN 9780226448565

Knowles, Caroline and Alexander, Claire, eds. 2005. Making Race Matter: bodies, space and identity. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1403904146

Knowles, Caroline and Swetman, Paul. 2004. Picturing the Social Landscape. London: Routledge. ISBN 9780415306409

Knowles, Caroline. 2003. Race and Social Analysis. Sage. ISBN 0761961267

Knowles, Caroline. 2000. Bedlam on the Streets. london: Routledge. ISBN 9780415232999

Knowles, Caroline. 1996. Family Boundaries. Toronto: Broadview Press. ISBN 155111108x

Knowles, Caroline. 1992. Race, Discourse and Labourism. Lo ndon: Routledge. ISBN 041505012x

Book Section

Knowles, Caroline. 2018. Researching and Photographing Cities: Getting started. In: S Nichols and S. Dobson, eds. Learning Cities. Singapore: Springer, pp. 9-22. ISBN 9789811080982

Atkinson, Rowland; Burrows, Roger; Glucksberg, Luna; Ho, Hang Kei; Knowles, Caroline and Rhodes, David. 2017. Minimum City? The Deeper Impacts of the 'Super-Rich' on Urban Life. In: Ray Forrest; Sin Yee Koh and Bart Wissink, eds. Cities and the Super-Rich: Real Estate, Elite Practices and Urban Political Economies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 253-271. ISBN 9781137557155

Knowles, Caroline. 2017. Walking W8 in Manalos. In: Charlotte Bates and Alex Rhys-Taylor, eds. Walking Through Social Research. London: Routledge. ISBN 9781138674042


Amit, Vered and Knowles, Caroline. 2017. Improvising and Navigating Mobilities: Tacking in Everyday Life. Theory Culture & Society, 34(7-8), pp. 165-179. ISSN 0263-2764

Knowles, Caroline. 2017. Reframing sociologies of ethnicity and migration in encounters with Chinese London. The British Journal of Sociology, 68(3), pp. 454-473. ISSN 0007-1315

Knowles, Caroline. 2017. Untangling Translocal Urban Textures of Trash: plastics and plasticity in Addis Ababa. Social Anthropology, 25(3), pp. 288-300. ISSN 0964-0282

Knowles, Caroline. 2017. Walking Plutocratic London: Exploring erotic, phantasmagoric Mayfair. Social Semiotics, 27(3), pp. 299-309. ISSN 1035-0330

Knowles, Caroline. 2015. The Flip-Flop Trail and Fragile Globalisation. Theory Culture and Society, 32(7-8), pp. 231-244. ISSN 0263-2764

Knowles, Caroline. 2014. The Urban Problematic: A Response to Ryan Bishop and John WP Phillips. Theory Culture and Society, 31(7-8), pp. 319-322. ISSN 0263-2764

Knowles, Caroline and Burrows, Roger. 2014. The impact of impact. Etnográfica, 18(2), pp. 237-254. ISSN 0873-6561

Knowles, Caroline. 2014. Trajetórias de um chinelo: micro-cenas da globalização. Contemporânea - Revista de Sociologia da UFSCar, 4(2), ISSN 2236-532X

Knowles, Caroline. 2014. Dancing with Bulldozers: Migrant life on Beijing's periphery. City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, 18(1), pp. 41-57. ISSN 1360-4813

Knowles, Caroline. 2013. Nigerian London: re-mapping space and ethnicity in superdiverse cities. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 36(4), pp. 651-669. ISSN 0141-9870

Knowles, Caroline. 2011. Cities on the Move: Navigating Urban Life. City, 15(3), pp. 136-153. ISSN 1360-4813

Knowles, Caroline. 2011. Cities on the move: Navigating urban life. City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, 15(2), pp. 135-153. ISSN 1360-4813

Knowles, Caroline. 2010. 'Mobile Sociology' Commentary on John Urry's Work. British Journal of Sociology, 61, pp. 373-379. ISSN 0007-1315

Knowles, Caroline. 2008. The landscape of post-imperial whiteness in rural Britain. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 31(1), pp. 167-184. ISSN 0141-9870

Knowles, Caroline. 2007. ‘It’s not what it was’: British Migrants in Postcolonial Hong Kong. Sociology Working Papers, pp. 1-25.

Knowles, Caroline. 2007. Theorizing Race and Ethnicity – Contemporary Paradigms and Perspectives. Sociology Working Papers, pp. 1-20.

Knowles, Caroline. 2006. Handling your Baggage in the Field: Reflections on research relationships. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 9(5), pp. 393-404. ISSN 14645300

Knowles, Caroline. 2006. Seeing Race through the Lens. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 29(3), pp. 512-529. ISSN 01419870

Harper, Douglas; Knowles, Caroline and Leonard, Pauline. 2005. Visually narrating post-colonial lives: ghosts of war and empire. Visual Studies, 20(1), pp. 4-15. ISSN 1472-586X

Knowles, Caroline. 2000. Burger King, Dunkin Donuts and community mental health care. Health & Place, 6(3), pp. 213-224. ISSN 13538292

Knowles, Caroline. 1996. The symbolic empire and the history of racial inequality. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 19(4), pp. 896-911. ISSN 01419870


Knowles, Caroline. 2015. Young Londoners in Beijing. Discussion Paper. Goldsmiths University of London

Knowles, Caroline. 2015. Young Chinese Migrants in London. Discussion Paper. Runnymede Trust, London.

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