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Research activity at the Department of Social Sciences

Social Sciences research at Northumbria is concerned with analysing and explaining how the lives of individuals, societies and nations are being transformed by multi-level processes of change, from the global to the local.

Researchers draw upon insights from a range of disciplines including Criminology, International Development, International Relations, Politics and Sociology, with the distinctiveness of this interdisciplinary approach also reflected in the impact of our work on research users across public, private and voluntary sectors, including the most marginalised groups in society. 

Research in Social Sciences is supported by two specialist research centres, the Centre for International Development and the Centre for Crime and Policing and three research clusters – Insecurity, Violence and Harm, Power, Culture and Identities and International Relations. Staff in Social Sciences also actively contribute to two University multi-disciplinary research themes (MDRTs) – Global Development Futures and Integrated Health and Social Care – and a cross-university research network, the Gender, Violence and Abuse Research Network.

Research in the Centre for International Development brings together academics and practitioners from the UK and internationally to promote research, consultancy, teaching, training and public engagement on global poverty and inequality, the communities and individuals who experience it, and the policies, practices and approaches that seek to address it. Research is organised around four key themes: governance, environmental resources and sustainability; volunteering, activism and civil society; participatory design and digital civics; mobilities and inclusive development.

The Centre for Crime and Policing provides world-leading research on crime and policing that will enhance understanding and practice in relation to some of the key global challenges of the 21st Century. These include transnational organised crime, the use (and abuse) of technology, social harm, forensics, law enforcement and criminal justice cooperation, and a host of related matters. This work is an important contribution to the development of evidence-based policy-making to inform the work of stakeholders globally, nationally, and regionally, including both domestic and international criminal justice systems, governments, third sector agencies, private companies and civil society organisations. Policing is understood, in its broad sense, to include this broad catalogue of organisations and agencies engaged in the regulation of contemporary societies. Crime is also conceived, in broad terms, to include a social harms as well as criminal offences.

The research cluster Insecurity, Violence and Harm is a group focusing upon wide interpretations of the concepts of ‘security/ insecurity’, ‘violence’, and ‘harm’. Areas of research within the cluster include: green/environmental harm and violence; aspects of the prison estate; gender, violence and abuse; honour crime; terrorism; international conflict and security; criminological theory; and transnational organised crime.

The Power, Culture and Identities research cluster seeks to extend social scientific understandings of power, culture, and identity through critical, theoretically informed research, interdisciplinary modes of collaboration, and by embedding public engagement in our work. The diverse research agendas of the group’s members attends to the historical and contemporary production of social divisions and inequalities via an explicit reference to cultural processes and relations of power. The group interested in understanding how various cultural practices are manifested within the contemporary social world, and how those may be explored through developing methods that reshape ways of thinking about and doing social research. With a commitment to critical understandings of class, gender, race and ethnicity, sexuality, and disability, the group is interdisciplinary and international in the scope, ambition and focus of its research. This cluster includes research on: disability, sexuality and identity; educational inequalities and disadvantage; mental health services and policy; media presentation, power and inequality; class and gendered inequalities and identities in consumption; contemporary social work with UK children and families; UK social policy in relation to exclusion and poverty; sociology and social policy of happiness and identity; digital inclusion and exclusion.

The International Relations research cluster focuses upon: democracy and active citizens (philanthropy, civil society, representation, activism, social media/media in the democratic process and campaigning); war, conflict and security (terrorism, risk, organised crime, migration, European security, Latin American security, jihadism, Middle East conflicts, UN and collective security, peacekeeping, R2P, international law and security); nation, state and identity (independence movements, secession, nation building, memory and museums in identity construction); the role of international organisations (policy development, autonomy, authority, leadership, gender). Areas of research include: EU internal security; the politics and policies of the EU; gender and international political organisations; French politics, terrorism and human rights; middle east politics and conflict; Chinese and South East Asian foreign and environmental politics; gender and islamophobia.  




Research at Northumbria

Research at Northumbria

Research is the life blood of a University and at Northumbria University we pride ourselves on research that makes a difference; research that has application and affects people's lives.

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