My research focuses on social connections and social advantage. I'm interested in the processes by which people become, and stay, advantaged, which raises issues of elites, social mobilities and social inequalities.
My main analytical tools are social network analysis and social survey methods. I'm particularly interested in the way that existing large-scale social surveys can be operationalised as social network datasets.
I have worked on the ESRC-funded project Is Britain Pulling Apart? which looks at the changes over time in social distance between different groups in the UK. This builds upon a previous ESRC-funded project, Social Networks and Occupational Structure, in which we examined patterns of connections between occupational groups.
Other research interests include elite theory and governance (my PhD, and a subsequent ESRC-funded Postdoctoral Fellowship, looking at the networks of quango board members), social capital more generally and exploring how people's social ties and connections influence their opportunities and life choices. I'm particularly interested in stratification effects and understanding how the socially advantage can utilise their connections to consolidate their position.
Current PhD Students
Alhena Curreri - A Social Network Analysis of Dementia Policies and Care Arrangements in Central America
Jennifer Ferguson - The Wellbeing and Organisational Ties of Older People Living in Care Homes
Kane Needham - Social Networking and the Role of Career Management Skills - A Sociological Perspective
Gaile Siusyte - Supporting the Key Influencers of Young People's Career Development
Claire Stuart - Charity Trustees, Governance and Accountability in Scottish Charites: Modelling Trustee Dynamics Using Linked Regulator Data
Trudi Tokarczyk - Understanding the experiences of 'Generation Rent': Examining inequalities within and across generations
Daniel Sage -Working for Welfare? Modifying the Effects ofUnemployment Through Active Labour Market Programmes