I am an ESRC-funded PhD candidate at the School of Social Sciences.
My research explores the processes by which workers come to take collective action in hostile and precarious circusmtances in the UK.
In approaching this topic, I aim to synthesise methodological and theoretical insights from Employment Relations and Social Movement Studies, applying and developing Cultural-Historical Activity Theory as a bridge between the two fields
The project will therefore contribute an innovative theoretical perspective, as well as providing empirical insights into trade union decline and resurgence, agency and the labour process, and the rise of non-standard employment.
My other research interests include general social movement studies, class analysis, and political economy.
An up-to-date collection of my publications and activities can be found at mrhyspowell.com
Prizes and awards
SOCY20031 Work, Economy and Society, University of Manchester, 2022.
SOCY20601: Social Class and Inequality in Britain, University of Manchester, 2021.
Activities and esteem
Conference paper: ‘The Anatomy of a Platform Strike: Strategic Decision-Making in the 2021-22 Stuart Delivery Dispute’. British Universities Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA) Conference, July 2023.
Conference paper: ‘Deconstructing the Collective Actor: Strategy Formation and Transformation in a Platform Labour Dispute’. Alternative Futures and Popular Protest Conference, University of Manchester, June 2023.
Conference paper: ‘Class Struggle in McDonald’s Carparks: The Micro-dynamics of Platform Couriers’ Collective Action’. Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change (CERIC), Annual Doctoral Conference, University of Leeds, May 2023.
Invited member: Working Class Movement Library Collections Development Group.
Shortlist, PSRS Research Image Awards 2023.
Guest lecture: ‘Low-wage and precarious work in the global economy’. SOCY10912 Work, Organisations & Society, University of Manchester, April 2023.
Conference paper: ‘The beginning never ends: the erratic temporality of platform couriers’ collective action’. BSA Annual Conference 2023: Sociological Voices in Public Discourse, April 2023.
Conference paper: ‘Pay Rise, Not Pay Cut! Struggle over Strategy in a Platform Dispute’. Work and Equalities Institute, Fairness at Work Conference. January 2023.
Discussion facilitator: Cultural-Historical Activity Theory. Movements@Manchester Social Movements Reading Group, December 2022.
Organising Committee member: Alternative Futures and Popular Protest Conference, 2023.
Research Assistant (paid position): Recent Developments in the Sociology of Work, Department of Sociology, University of Manchester.
Invited speaker: ‘Unions 101’, RANK + FILE, July 2022.
Press contribution: Voice.Wales, ‘“Toothless” – How A Union’s Deal With Deliveroo Put Partnership Working In The Spotlight’, interviewed, 1st July 2022.
Council Member, Manchester Industrial Relations Society, 2022 – 23.
Conference paper: ‘Deciding to Defy: Collective Contention as Collective Cognition in the UK’s Gig Economy Strikes’. Department of Sociology, University of Manchester, June 2022.
Press contribution: The Northern Echo, ‘Just Eat drivers strike and picket fast food outlets in Darlington’, interviewed and advised on article, 17th May 2022.
Conference Organiser (paid position): Alternative Futures and Popular Protest conference, 2022.
Interview on management control and workers’ resistance in call centres, for: Horgan, A. (2021) Lost in Work: Escaping Capitalism. London: Pluto Press. PP 123-124.
Discussion facilitator: ‘Workers’ Power and Trade Unionism in Wales’. Welsh Underground Network, May 2021.
Conference paper: ‘The Network Makes Us Strong: Alternatives to the Union Form Amongst Organised Platform Couriers’. CRASSH, University of Cambridge, April 2021.
Discussion facilitator: Jane McAlevey’s No Shortcuts. Movements@Manchester Social Movements Reading Group, March 2021.
Press contribution: Interview with independent journalist Emma Doyle on the ongoing struggles of Deliveroo couriers in Sheffield, February 2020.
Invited speaker: ‘Call Centres and Mental Health’ with Broomhill & Sharrow Vale Labour Party, October 2019.
Master of Arts, Sociology and Social Research (Distinction), Newcastle University
Award Date: 11 Nov 2020
Bachelor of Arts, Human, Social and Political Sciences (First Class Honours), University of Cambridge
Award Date: 31 Aug 2017
Areas of expertise
- HM Sociology
- Trade Union Renewal
- Social Movements
- Political Economy
- Platform Labour
- Class Analysis
- Critical Theory