The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Imagining Pasts and Futures

Imagining Pasts and Futures


This research theme is concerned with the social imagination of pasts and futures.

Memories of the past are shaped by visions of the future as well as conditions and contexts of the present, just as visions of the future are related to understandings of the past whilst also shaping actions in the present.

Staff interests related to this theme include:

  • the imagination of alternatives within and beyond capitalist democracies and environmentally sustainable futures
  • the complex interrelations between communist pasts and post-socialist futures in Europe
  • the study of the recent past from a historical sociology and anthropology perspective
  • the social importance of utopias and future-directed action in a post-political age

Our staff are interested in social and individual memory-work, in particular its significance for:

  • identity and personhood
  • older age
  • the moral significance of remembering and memorialisation
  • the bio-technological modification of memory

Other research interests include the intersection of pasts and futures in relation to urban and social regeneration, social transformation and nationhood. Staff further use temporality to think through and respond to the latest paradigm shifts in the discipline itself.

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If you are interested in joining the cluster or have comments please email us


Professor Elaine Campbell
Professor of Criminology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5030

Dr Mark Casey
Lecturer in Sociology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7921

Dr Cathrine Degnen
Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8467

Dr Dariusz Gafijczuk
Lecturer in Sociology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5610

Dr Anselma Gallinat
Senior Lecturer

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8483

Dr Lisa Garforth
Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7487

Dr Ruth Graham
Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6987

Professor Robert Hollands
Professor of Sociology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7501

Professor Jackie Leach Scully
Executive Director, PEALS

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7502

Professor Janice McLaughlin
Professor of Sociology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7511


Professor Geoff Payne
Associate Researcher

John Vail
Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6556

Dr Audrey Verma
Research Associate

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7496

Postgrad projects


Pardis Asadi Zeidabadi

Conceptions of democracy in secular and religious feminism in contemporary Iran. An empirical exploration
James Cummings A Study of Emergent Non-Normative Sexual Identities in Hainan Province, China
Matthew Hanchard Towards a digital sociology of map use
Diana Kopbayeva Building the Kazakh nation: an exploration of the discourse of nation building in Kazakhstan
Yang Li Screening Tibet from Three Perspectives: An Exploration of Representations of Tibet in Western, Tibetan and Han Chinese Films
Lauren Powell NE1 Using This Space? A Study of Inchoate Open Spaces in an Urban Setting


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