The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Sarah Winkler-Reid

Lecturer in Social Anthropology

Background

I am a social anthropologist focusing on growing up in contemporary Britain and questions of learning, personhood and ordinary ethics. I conducted fieldwork in a  secondary school in London and explore these questions through an in-depth focus on young people's everyday lives in school. 

I joined Newcastle University as a Lecturer in Social Anthropology in 2015. Prior to this I was a Teaching Fellow in Anthropology in the department of Archaeology and Anthropology at Bristol. I received my PhD in Anthropology from Brunel University.

I will be teaching the core stage one module Knowing in Sociology: An Introduction to Theory, Methods and Epistemology as well as the optional stage three module Moral Dilemma, Judgements and Debates: The Anthropology of Rights and Wrongs.

Research

I am a social anthropologist focusing on growing up in contemporary Britain and questions of learning, personhood and ordinary ethics. I conducted fieldwork in a  secondary school in London and explore these questions through an in-depth focus on young people's everyday lives in school.  

I explore the generative force of young people's actions; the hard work and effort they put into creating friendships, relations, networks and cumulatively a hierarchically ordered ‘informal realm’ within school. As part of these efforts, pupils produced, defined and situated themselves and each other as particular kinds of people within a constellation of differences. For my participants, race and ethnicity, sexuality, and gender emerged as particularly salient dimensions of difference. Ethics are intrinsic in these processes, I highlight a peer ethics of great force and efficacy in school and central to (inter)subjective formation.

From the perspective of young people’s daily lives, I have explored the importance of humour and joking to understandings of race and ethnicity, and challenged assumptions of the ‘autonomous Western individual’ illuminating the way individuality is produced through sociality by focusing on girls' friendships. Within cross-disciplinary arenas, I utilise this view from the ground to address anxieties about youth and social change, for example challenging discourses on sexualisation that cast young people as morally deficient and critiquing the representational bias in research on bodily dissatisfaction.

My interest in action and the practices of everyday life has also led to an interest in action-centred theory, traced through anthropological theories of value-production, situated learning, phenomenology and ‘ordinary ethics’.


Publications