Division of Sociology

Sociology is one of four divisions within the School of Social and Health Science, the others being Psychology, Mental Health Nursing and Counselling, and Sport and Exercise Science.

Sociology delivers degrees in Sociology, Social Science and Criminology, and our research profile takes a broadly social relational and social constructionist approach, placing specific emphasis on advancing theoretical developments. This is reflected in the diversity of our outputs, which cover social theory, criminology, class, gender and ethnicity, media and digital cultures, discourse analysis, social movements and political protest. Staff members contribute to three of the four University-wide interdisciplinary research themes: Society, Creative Industries and Security.

Interaction between Technology and Society and Social Innovation

One area of the Division’s research (led by Dr. Stefano de Paoli) focuses on the interaction between technology and society and social innovation. The Division completed the Framework Programme 7 project Wikirate on the subject of Social Innovation in March 2017 and in December 2017 the H2020 project STEP on e-Participation both funded by the European Commission. The Division is currently involved in the H2020 PIE Project, also on Social Innovation. The Division’s staff members are: Dr. Jason Annetts, Dr. Wallace McNeish, Dr. Nuala Killeen, Dr. James Moir, Dr. William Graham, Dr. Anna Wilson, Dr. Andrew Samuel, Mr Andrew Panay, Dr. Christos Memos, Dr. Stefano de Paoli, Dr. Ashley Rogers, Dr. Donncha Marron, Miss Hazel Work, Mr Roderick Lonie, Mrs Jan Law, Dr. Stuart Waiton and Professor Alexander Law

The Division also engages with non-academic user groups in the domains of:-

  • Policy Sociology - health, education, youth and environment – influencing public policy, communities and professional practice
  • Criminal Justice – influencing policing and criminal justice stakeholders
  • Media, arts and cultural industries – centring on digital design processes, media educationalists, artists and curators

Collaborations exist with criminal justice and policing researchers through the inter-university Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR); with the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA); and with media educationalists through the Association for Media Education in Scotland (AMES). 

Recent PhD Topics 

Sociology’s postgraduate culture centres on students completing Masters by Research or a PhD. Divisional Staff have supervised a wide range of projects including studies on ‘peer led recovery from addiction’, ‘UKIP and the construction of Immigration in the press’, ‘the policing of domestic violence’, ‘the experience of lesbian and gay male couples in the adoption process’. Recent PhD supervisions include ‘male prisoners experience of healthcare’, ‘social reproduction in modernity: the emergence of the creative class and the re-enchantment of the adventure habitus’ and a ‘discourse analysis of autobiographical text of people with early onset dementia’.

Our academics have also been involved in a range of interdisciplinary supervisions. For example ‘The social dimension of stormwater management practices in urban areas’ and ‘Imagining Sustainable Urban Environments’.

Collective Awareness Platform for Social Innovation

The PIE project (see earlier) is a Collective Awareness Platform for Social Innovation (CAPS) project, funded by the European Commission and conducted by 8 partners across Europe. Around 25% of people living in Europe are precarious workers, people unprotected by safety nets, and young people who are no longer in the education system, who face difficulties finding a job. The project seeks to facilitate the development of commonfare, a participatory form of welfare provision based on collaboration among people. The platform will offer a complementary channel for the provision of social welfare, allowing users to take better advantage of State offerings as well as to create their own alternative support and empowerment mechanisms. The Sociology Division at Abertay leads the work on “Social Dynamics” proposing solutions for the creation of Trust based on social network dynamics for facilitating the common-fare uptake.

Male and female students and researchers sitting around a table