Dr Stephanie Lawler
Reader in Sociology

  • Email: stephanie.lawler@ncl.ac.uk
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7497
  • Address: School of Geography, Politics and Sociology,
    Newcastle University
    Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU


After a first degree as a mature student at Liverpool University, I did my PhD (researching the mother-daughter relationship) at Lancaster University. I joined the school in 2006, after posts at Lancaster and Durham. My research interests centre on social and sociological aspects of identity, including the relationship between 'big issues' and the personal pleasures and pains of 'doing' identity. I am particularly concerned with the ways in which a concern with identity underwrites a number of contemporary troubling issues, such as authenticity, belonging, and value. Which identities are understood as worthwhile? Which are not? and why?

Roles and responsibilities 

 Head of Sociology


BA (Hons) Liverpool
PhD Lancaster

Previous Positions

Lecturer in Sociology and Women's Studies, Lancaster University
Lecturer in Sociology, Durham University


British Sociological Association.

research interests

Identities, especially in relation to gender, class and generation; the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu; people's negotiations with expert knowledges; narratives; psychoanalysis and psycho-social analysis; kinship and families; motherhood, childhood and the mother-daughter relationship, the sociology of everyday life.
I am happy to discuss supervision in any of these (or related) areas.

current work

My latest book (Identity: Sociological Perspectives, Polity) brings together many of the themes of my research over the last 10 years - notably how issues of identity act to 'trouble' social relations.
A second edition of the book has now been published (2013), and I am working on a book to be published in Palgrave's 'themes in social theory' book series (Identity and Social Theory). This book will discuss conceptual approaches to, and empirical investigation of, identity matters.

I have also been exploring themes of identity and inequality in recent articles (see list of publications). Work in progress includes an exploration of nostalgia,  the social contexts of parenting / non-parenting decisions, and historicizing class identity  

postgraduate supervision and examining

currently supervising:

Ipshita Debnath (ft) Log-in / Log-out: a Sociological Exploration of how the Internet is Affecting Kinship Relations. Supervision with Dr Anselma Gallinat.

Jacqueline Close (ft ESRC-funded)  Ideals and Expectations: Representations, Practices and Governance of Contemporary Motherhood. Supervision with Prof. Jackie Leach Scully

Erica Timoney (ft)  Falling Through the Gap: Muslim Women and the Construction of Identities in Tension. Supervision with Prof. Jackie Leach Scully.

Michelle Addison (ft. ESRC-funded) (Re)making and (Un)doing the classed and gendered ‘worker’: The use and exchange of emotions in the workplace. Supervision with Prof.  Jackie Leach Scully.

recently completed

Peter Steggals (ft ESRC-funded). Harming the body/constructing the self: identity, selfhood and power relations in the construction of a self-harming subject. Newcastle University. Supervised with Elaine Campbell

Victoria Mountford (ft ESRC-funded) Everyday class distinctions in Higher Education.  Newcastle University.  Supervised with Yvette Taylor / Robert Hollands

Gemma Metcalfe (ft. ESRC-funded) Contemporary Gender Relations in Former Mining Communities. Newcastle University.  Supervised with Alison Stenning / Tracey Warren.

Sabina Begum (M.Phil, ft) Narratives of Radical Lives: Women, Auto/Biography and Feminism in Bangladesh. Newcastle University.  Supervised with Peter Phillimore.

Ceri Black (ft. ESRC-funded) Queering virginity: social, cultural and embodied notions of the question of what counts as real sex. Newcastle University.  Supervised with Cate Degnen

Elaine Robson (ft. ESRC-funded) The Problem of Youth: Representations of Young People in the British Press. Durham University. 

Steve Walls (ft. ESRC-funded) 'Are you being served?' Gendered Aesthetics among Retail Workers. Durham University.  Supervised with Robin Williams

Judy Richards (ft. ESRC-funded) Marketing the self in cyberspace. Durham University. 

Andrew Smith (ft. Durham University funded)  The process of change in a public-private partnership.  Durham University.  Supervised with Ian Roberts.

Susan Parker (pt) Mothering in the New Moral Economy: Making, Marking and Classing Selves. Durham University.


external PhD examiner

Sarah Milton, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. 2014 

Charles Leddy-Owen, University of Surrey. 2013

Irina Cheresheva, Central European University. 2012 (comprehensive examination)

Nigel Cox, Sheffield Hallam University. 2011

Kaisa Ketokivi, University of Helsinki. 2010

Jane Liffen, Loughborough University. 2008

Dawn Gurbutt, Lancaster University. 2004

Annie Meyer, University of Manchester. 2004


internal PhD examiner

Angela Abbott. 2011

Alison Jobe. 2008

Elizabeth Brace. 2008

Thomas Hill. 2005

Emma Uprichard. 2004

Cynthia Horrocks. 2000

Heshni Moynifar. 1999.


professional service

2010-2013 Co-convenor of the Social Divisions / Social Identities stream, BSA annual conference

2009-2012 Member of the ESRC Peer Review College

2003-2006, co-editor of Sociology, the journal of the British Sociological Association.

arts and media

Interviewed by local and national UK press, Taiwanese press and Canadian public-service radio. 

2013 Discussant on Thinking Allowed (BBC R4): http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qm7pd 

2010  Invited participant in conversation with Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa, 'Mapping the social order'. Part of The Serpentine Gallery's Map Marathon, 16 October 2010: http://www.serpentinegalleries.org/exhibitions-events/map-marathon


2003 Participant in feature on mothers and daughters, Woman's Hour, BBC R4: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/2003_17_thu_04.shtml

Cited by Barbie - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5URYMzHAdQ0


plenary / keynote papers

'Truth and nostalgic tales of class in England' Finnish Gender Studies Conference, University of Lapland (2013)

 ‘Noble workers and angry young men: class nostalgia, progress and identity’, Enquire Conference, University of Nottingham (2011)

 ‘What’s love got to do with it?  on the difference between having and being a mother’, Motherhood Conference, Centre for Women’s Studies, University of Lancaster (2000).

 In addition, I have given invited public lectures, and 30 invited papers.


academic visits and collaborations

2013     Invited visitor at  University of Lapland, Finland.

2013     Invited visitor at  University of Uppsala.

2004     Socrates-funded teaching exchange,  Dept of Sociology, University of Helsinki.

1999      Participant in British Council /DTI sponsored Women’s Studies/Gender Studies visit to Taipei, Taiwan



British Academy Small Grant (with Dr Jackie Leach Scully) 'Parenthood and non-parenthood in an age of assisted conception'


Undergraduate Teaching

Lecturer on  SOC 2058, Understanding Social Change  (level 2)

Module Leader, SOC 1031, Knowing in Sociology (level 1)

Postgraduate Teaching