Current students

Summary profiles of the work being undertaken by our current students are provided in the table below.

postgraduate researcher Title of study Funded in collaboration with Main supervisor (2nd supervisor)
Maimon Ali Housing quality in Malaysia: an assessment on current practices Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia Barry Goodchild (Paul Hickman)

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Maimon Ali, MSc BA

0114 225 3562 /

Maimon is currently a full time phD student at CRESR and funded by Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia. Her thesis entitled 'Housing Quality in Malaysia: An Assessment on Current practice'. Her research objectives are:

  • to undertake an evaluation of Malaysian practice in assessing housing quality
  • to examine the possibilities for development of quality assessment tools for Malaysia housing
  • to provide an appraisal of controlling quality in new housing development in Malaysia

In line with that, she will see the method and theory which practices in the United Kingdom and other countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong and the applicability of the theory and methodology for housing quality into Malaysian context.

Christopher Devany 'Hidden NEETs'; Understanding marginalisation through relational class Sheffield Hallam University Richard Crisp (Tony Gore)

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0114 225 3562 /

Chris' phD research aims to address the significant gap in knowledge around the experiences and conditions for young men who are NEET, whilst not claiming welfare. Recent evidence suggests that this problem is substantial, with 59.7% of unemployed young people not claiming Jobseeker's Allowance. This group is termed as the ‘hidden NEETs’, with the word ‘hidden’ denoting how being unemployed and not claiming benefits leaves young people obscured from the formal support structures of the state.

Methodologically his research shall compare the practices of young working-class and middle-class men in Sheffield around finding work and how they navigate their lives without work.

In addition to his phD research, Chris is also working for CRESR as a Graduate Research Assistant.

Julian Dobson Can urban anchor institutions become low carbon leaders? Sheffield Hallam University peter Wells (Will Eadson)

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Julian Dobson

0114 225 3562 /

Julian comes to CRESR following an extensive career as a journalist specialising in public policy and urban regeneration, and as a consultant and trainer working with practitioners. Through a range of writing and research projects he has explored the interface between policy and practice. He is the author of How to Save Our Town Centres, to be published by policy press in February 2015.

His phD will examine the link between concepts of urban governance and theories of low carbon transitions, examining in particular the role of non-elected 'anchor institutions' in major cities. He is particularly interested in ideas of civic leadership in the context of climate change, and the concepts of civic leadership and approaches to action deployed both in aspiration and in practice by influential organisations that do not have a democratic mandate.

Joe McMullan A Working-Class Backlash”? An Exploration of How Class, Culture and Identity Shape ‘Rupture’ in a Post Brexit World Sheffield Hallam University Rich Crisp (Bob Jeffery)

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Joe McMullan

Brexit has raised profound questions about the complex actualities of working-class life and the formations of class, culture and identity within ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods. The notion of Brexit as ‘backlash’ is variously presented as: the dissolution of the Labour vote alongside the rise of UKIP over fears of immigration, an assertion of control as a response to perceived marginalisation and an expression of frustration over a lack of economic opportunity. This timely study will critically interrogate the notion of Brexit as ‘backlash’ and question ‘against what’. In doing so, this PhD project will explore the social, economic, cultural and political processes that informed this point of ‘rupture’.

However, it is imperative to understand that the working-class did not vote as a homogenous group. Hence, this study will explore the differences and tensions within the way individuals, households and the wider community perceived and responded to the referendum. Ethnographic work on working-class life is relatively sparse and it is crucial to revisit and develop this in the context of the perceived socio-political rupture of Brexit, against a wider backdrop of political and economic crisis in the 'urban vortex' (Hall and Savage, 2015).

Jamie Redman An Investigation into Young Jobseeker's Experiences of Benefit Receipt in an Era of Conditional Welfare, Insecure Labour Markets and Pejorative Welfare Narratives Sheffield Hallam University Del Fletcher (Richard White)

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Jamie Redman

My PhD research aims to offer insight into the lived experiences of young claimants under a welfare regime that has increasingly endeavoured to re-condition their behaviour. Customarily, conditional welfare is understood of as cementing rights to benefit entitlements with responsible behaviour. For the young Jobseeker demographic specifically, conditional welfare is more concerned with utilising unemployed labour to ensure benefit entitlements produce economically conducive behaviour. The crux of this research will explore the perennial pressures and consequences that a conditional welfare regime can inflict upon young people, especially when contextualised against a backdrop of labour market fragility and dominant, pejorative welfare narratives.

Tom Shore Spaces of informalization: the geography of behaviours and manners at music festivals ESRC Ryan powell (Tony Gore)

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Tom Shore BA (Hons), MA

0114 225 3562 /

My phD explores the spatial and cultural politics of manners and behaviours at music festivals. Under the working title of 'Spaces of Informalization: The Geography of Behaviours and Manners at Music Festivals' this ESRC-funded research project explores many areas of human geography, the sociology of Nobert Elias, as well as, insights from wider philosophical and theoretical debates in spatial theory. The research project will investigate the notion that music festivals are in essence 'de-controlled' spaces where looser more informal behavioural alternatives become permissible.

My other main research interests include social and cultural geographies, historical geographies of 'modernity', critical Marxist theory - especially Lefebvre, Debord, Benjamin et al, and local geographies - the urbanisation of Sheffield.

Beth Speake Compounding vulnerability? The impact of the post-2012 welfare regime on women survivors of sexual violence Sheffield Hallam University Kesia Reeve (Angela Maye-Banbury)

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I am exploring how the post-2012 welfare regime has impacted on women who have experienced rape and sexual abuse. My study will consider the mental health, emotional and material impacts of the current welfare regime; the ways in which the system might prolong or reproduce trauma; the parallels between experiences of abuse and experiences of the welfare system; and the similarities in ‘victim-blaming’ experienced by survivors of sexual violence and welfare claimants.

My analytical approach is centred on an inclusive definition of violence: i.e., that my participants have experienced direct violence through their experiences of rape/sexual abuse/domestic violence; cultural violence through the stigmatising discourses of 'welfare scroungers' and victim blaming within rape culture/misogyny; and structural violence through the social policies enacted through the welfare system which is reproducing avoidable harm/poverty etc.

Key References

Farmer, P. (1996) On suffering and structural violence: A view from below. Daedalus, 25 (1), pp. 261.

Galtung, J. (1969) Violence, Peace, and Peace Research. Journal of Peace Research, 6 (3), pp.167-191.

Galtung, J. (1990) Cultural violence. Journal of Peace Research, 27 (3), pp. 291.

Krumer-Nevo, M. and Benjamin, O. (2010) Critical Poverty Knowledge: Contesting Othering and Social Distancing. Current Sociology, 58 (5), (SAGE Publications).

Lee, B.X. (2016) Causes and cures VII: Structural Violence. Aggressive and Violent Behaviour, 28, pp. 109-114.

Jordan, J. (December 01, 2013). From victim to survivor - and from survivor to victim: Reconceptualising the survivor journey. Sexual Abuse in Australia and New Zealand, 5 (2), 48-56.

  Larissa Povey Female Ex-offenders and Welfare Conditionality Vice Chancellor's PhD Studentship Del Roy Fletcher (Richard Crisp, Tony Gore)

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Larissa Povey

0114 225 3562

Funded in collaboration with: Vice Chancellor's PhD Studentship

Description: This PhD examines the gendered dimensions of Wacquant’s 'carceral-assistantial net' as female ex-offenders navigate a tougher conditionality and sanctions regime. The use of sanctions in the UK has grown exponentially as a means of inducing correct behaviour in welfare recipients. As the role of the welfare state shrinks, responsibility has shifted to individuals who have an ‘obligation to work’. These punitive ‘activation’ reforms have arguably impacted vulnerable groups in unforeseen ways; it is no coincidence that the rise in sanctions has been accompanied by an increase in the award of financial hardship grants.

Within both welfarist and penal discourses ‘welfare dependent’ and ‘criminal’ are constructed as social ‘problems’; employment is heralded as a panacea to these ‘problems’. The convergence of these discourses impacts on how women in poverty and women in conflict with the law are perceived, and the conceptualisation of women being 'at risk'. This PhD project seeks to understand women's experiences at the carceral-assistantial nexus and the suitability of the welfare system to successfully engage with female ex-offenders and those 'at risk' of offending. It examines this emerging 'precariat' by exploring the experiences of women under reformed welfare policies and how this affects their behaviour, attitude and wellbeing as well as the wider impact on their dependants.

Latest publication: POVEY, L. (2017). Where welfare and criminal justice meet: applying Wacquant to the experiences of marginalized women in austerity Britain. Social Policy & Society (16)2, pp. 271–281

This PhD is linked to the ESRC-funded 'Welfare Conditionality: Sanctions, Support and Behaviour Change' project (

  Lucy Taylor The dehumanising of failed asylum seekers: challenging prevailing narratives and restrictive social policy Sheffield Hallam University David Robinson (Kesia Reeve)

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Lucy Taylor

0114 225 3562

Dominant discourses on migration and asylum serve to dehumanise failed asylum seekers. This reinforces and normalises a policy response which deems these people to be deviant and not worthy of the assistance of the British state. This phD will challenge this positioning of failed asylum seekers through an exposition of the reality of their situations, experiences, histories, motivations and aspirations. It will do so using in-depth life history interviews and photography.

  Abigail Woodward Community self-help as a coping strategy: Experience of Pakistani Muslims in Sheffield Sheffield Hallam University Dr Richard White (Peter Wells and Nadia Bashir)

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Abigail Woodward

0114 225 3562 /

My PhD study aims to address the significant gap in knowledge relating to the experiences of Pakistani Muslims living in the UK and their engagement with community self-help (CSH) as a coping strategy. This will be achieved through exploring how Pakistani Muslims living in deprived areas of Sheffield are getting by. CSH acts as a crucial ‘safety net’ for marginalised groups but is often hidden and overlooked and while much is known about the coping strategies of low-income individuals and families who are predominantly White, the experiences of other ethnicities have remained largely unexplored. Evidence suggests that the Pakistani group is most likely to be in persistent poverty but also less likely to access welfare services and food-aid provision. Subsequently, Pakistani Muslims may be accessing less formalised resources to get by, driven by religious, cultural or family values rather than public policy.

Key References

Burns, D., Williams, C., and Windebank, J. (2004) Community self-help. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Power, M., Doherty, B., Small, N., Teasdale, S. and Pickett, K. E. (2017a) All in it together? Community food aid in a multi-ethnic context. Journal of Social Policy, 1-25.

Richardson, L. (2008) DIY Community Action: Neighbourhood problems and community self-help. Policy Press.

Soteri-Proctor, A. (2017) Getting below the radar: micro-mapping ‘hidden’ community activity. In: McCabe, A., and Phillimore, J. (Eds.). Community groups in context: Local activities and actions. Bristol: Policy Press.

Williams, C.C., (2004) Fostering community self-help in deprived neighbourhoods. International journal of sociology and social policy. 24(6), 30-43.

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For further information please contact Will Eadson at or call 0114 225 4173.

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