Introducing the Power, Culture and Identities Research Group

Northumbria Sociology’s new research group will promote social research at Northumbria University

The Power, Culture and Identities research group aims to bring together social researchers working in the Department of Social Sciences and beyond, providing a focal point for debate and collaboration. Below we introduce the idea behind the group and give information about our forthcoming launch event:

The Power, Culture and Identities Research Group 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. We are 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.

Based in the Department of Social Sciences at Northumbria University, and 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. The Group is committed to offering a platform for early career as well as established academics and to advancing social research that is bold, innovative, and outward looking.

Contact: Edmund ( or Emma ( for information

Twitter: @SociologyNU


Launch Event

We will be hosting a launch event on the 21st of March, 3:30 to 5:30 in Squires Building, Room 107, all are welcome to attend.

We are pleased to have Dr Stephen Crossley presenting. The abstract for his talk is below:

The (Re)culturalization of Poverty Policy
We are approaching the 60th anniversary of Oscar Lewis’s first writings about a ‘culture of poverty’, which were extensively challenged and critiqued at the time of writing. Despite the largely evidence-free arguments in favour of cultural theories of poverty, they have remained influential, in various guises, over the last 60 years. In recent times, and in line with narratives surrounding other ‘social problems’, UK political rhetoric and government initiatives aimed at tackling poverty and disadvantage have increasingly focused, more or less explicitly, on cultural explanations, in a new iteration of what Mamdani has termed ‘Culture Talk’. This seminar will highlight some of the discursive shifts over the last 60 years and discuss the utility of cultural explanations of poverty at the current time.

Stephen Crossley is a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy in the Department for Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing at Northumbria University. His PhD was on the UK government’s Troubled Families Programme. His first book, In Their Place: The Imagined Geographies of Poverty, is out now with Pluto Press and his second book, Troublemakers: The Construction of ‘Troubled Families’ as a social problem, is out in April with Policy Press.

Twitter: @akindoftrouble