Jeanette Edwards

Jeanette Edwards


Personal profile



I completed my PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester in 1990 and went to work as a senior research officer at the Public Health Research and Resource Centre in Salford (1991-93), and then as a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Keele University (1994-99). I joined the department here in Manchester in 1999,  became a professor in 2007 and was head of department 2010-13. I am currently working on an ESRC funded project on Brexit, and recently chaired a Nuffield Council on Bioethics working party on 'cosmetic procedures'. I was an Associate Editor of American Ethnologist, served two terms as vice president of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (2010 - 4), and served on several ERC Advanced Grants panels in the social sciences (2008-14).


Visiting appointments have included:  

  • Fellow in residence, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research, Bielefeld, Germany (2017)  
  • Visiting Scholar, Pontificia Universidad Católica, Santiago de Chile (2013)
  • Visiting Professor, University of Balamand, Beirut (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Professeure Invitée,  École des Haute Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris (2006)
  • Visiting Research Fellow, Department of Anthropology, Universitat Autònoma, Barcelona, Spain (1998)
  • Visiting Scholar, Women’s Studies, University of California at Berkeley (1997)  


Research interests

Specific research interests:

My research interests revolve around kinship, class, gender and biotechnology. I am interested in the anthropology of science more broadly and on the relationship between medical science and its various publics more specifically. My original fieldwork was in the north of England where I focused on notions of social class, 'community' and belonging and I am still keenly interested in the ethnography of Britain and in what anthropologists can contribute to our understanding of the contemporary workings of inequality. Since my PhD research, I have carried out further fieldwork in England in both community and organisational settings.  I have also convened a large European project working with interdisciplinary teams across Europe looking at kinship in the light of new reproductive and genetic technologies, and developed research collaborations in Lebanon, focusing on the body and biotechnology.

Current research projects:

My recent research has followed two tracks: the first on 'the genealogical imagination' which embraces the contemporary passion for family history and genealogical research and looks at interconnections between place, past and persons; the second on biotechnology, gender and the body. Both are embedded in, and further, a long-standing research interest in the Anthropology of Britain. I am currently PI on a multidisciplinary research project on Brexit, funded by the ESRC under their Governance after Brexit programme.   

Further information

I was a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (NCoB) working party on donor conception and disclosure: the final report can be found here:

And chaired a NCoB working party on cosmetic procedures

I have received awards from the Council for British Research in the Levant for work in Lebanon and from the ESRC,  including two CASE awards - one for collaboration with Marketa Dolezalova and Leeds Advocacy Support for a study in Leeds with Roma on well-being and security. 


Supervision areas:

I am not currently taking on new doctoral students.  In the past I  have supervised graduate students who have focused on kinship, biomedicine and technology, and/or with a regional interest in Europe. 

Current PhD students (supervisees):  

Thomas Sullivan (ESRC 3+1) 'Contemporary British Cosmologies of Spirituality and the New Age' 

Tom Boyd (ESRC 3+1) 'How do rapid shifts in land, weather and climate shape emotional subjectivities and notions of ‘the good life’ in Northeast India?' 

Stephanie Meysner (ESRC CASE award) 'Diagnosing the ‘Cancer-Patient-In-Liverpool’: A Cultural Excavation of the Classificatory Moment'  


PhD (supervisees) completed
Vlad Schuler Costa, 'Science after humans: an ethnography of a ‘science automation lab’' 
Letizia Bonnano (ESRC + 2) 'Crisis and ethics: the Greek neoliberal politics of health in the aftermath of 2008 crisis'
Jasmine Folz,  'Free and open source software in India; reconfiguration technology, autonomy and the state' (2019)
Marketa Dolezalova (ESRC CASE award) 'Czech and Slovak Roma migrants in Leeds: a study of the relationship between 'well-being' and kinship, identity and belonging’ (2018) 
Alice Stefanelli (SoSS studentship) 'The state and the politics of freedom of expression in Lebanon' (2017)
Jenna Murray de Lopez, ‘Political Economy of Childbirth in Mexico’ (2016) 
Theodoros Kyriakides, ‘Phronesis of State and Population: The Success of the Cypriot B-Thalassaemia Prevention Scheme’ (2016)
Hester Clarke, ‘Exploration of Islamic identity amongst second and third generation Muslim women of Kashmiri heritage, residing in Sheffield (UK)’ (2016) 
Adam Brisley, ‘Enacting Personhood: Multiple Practices in a UK Cancer Unit’ (2015)
Patricia Scalco, ‘Reconciling boundaries: deconstructing virginity in contemporary urban Turkey’ (2015) 
Camilla Lewis, ‘Class, ethnicity and ‘British-ness’: the effects of urban regeneration in East Manchester’ (2014)
George Poulton ‘Changing location and belonging amongst white-working class male football fans’ (2013)

Rachel Wilde,  ‘Creating ‘proper’ persons: Gap Year Organisations and Development’ (2013)

Lorena Valencia,  ‘Social class and motherhood in England’ (2012)

Michael Upton,  ‘Patent fever: Intellectual property and access to HIV treatment’ (2011)

Tanya Rahman,  ‘True Blues, Blacks and In-Betweens: Changing Categories of Ethnicity in the Wake of Maine Road and the approaching Gentrification of Moss Side’ (2009)

Rebecca Fletcher,  (ESRC, CASE award) ‘Teenagers and the pill: a study of how the contraceptive pill is perceived and used by young people in Trafford’ (2007) 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities


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