Personal profile


I completed both my BA and PhD at the University of Sheffield, in the Sociology Department. I then worked, between 1993 and 1998, as a lecturer in the sociology and philosophy of psychiatry, at the Centre for Psychotherapeutic Studies (part of the Dept of Psychiatry) at Sheffield. I joined Manchester Sociology in Sept 1998, as a lecturer, and worked my way through the ranks, becoming a professor in 2005. I was head of sociology at Manchester between summer 2007 and summer 2010. Since stepping down I have had a number of other admin roles. Currently I am the REF lead for Sociology.

In addition to the Sociology Department I am strongly involved in the Mitchell Centre for Social Network Analysis, which I co-founded and co-direct. We run a weekly seminar with external speakers during term time, run both internal and external training courses in social network analysis (including both introductory and advanced courses in the School's annual Summer School), we engage in external consultancies and our members are involved in a range of related research activities.

Research interests

Specific research interests:

  • Music worlds and sociology of music
  • Social networks and network analysis.
  • Social theory and relational sociology in particular.

Current research projects:

  • Music worlds. Having recently published two music-focused books with Manchester University Press (Networks of Sound, Style and Subversion: the Punk and Post-Punk Worlds of Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield, 1975-1980 (MUP 2015) and Connecting Sounds: the social life of music (MUP 2020)) I continue to research in this area, further elaborating the theoretical framework I have developed through both further theoretical reflection and empirical analysis. I was recently part of a major grant application to the Australian Research Council, with colleagues there, which, if succesful, will explore networks of experimental electronic musicians (outcome awaited). I am also currently part of a team with colleagues here in the UK preparing a bid to research the rave revival and return of older 'ravers' to the dancefloor.
  • Relational Sociology and Social Structure. I currently have a paper under review which offers a new, 'relational' conception of social structure. This extends my previous work on relational sociology and reflects my current interest in the concept of social structure. If the paper is succesful I hope to follow it up with a paper on the related concept of 'social space' (which I will merge into the concept of social structure), developing ideas from Pierre Bourdieu and more especially Peter Blau. As I envisage it currently this paper will involve an empirical reflection upon homophily (involving multiple statuses) in social networks, and I am yet to identify an idea dataset to work with. I expect to run with this exploration of social structure for some time.

Further information

Supervision areas:

I have 28 successful PhD supervisions under my belt and am currently supervising 6 students.

Much of my supervision work has been for projects which overlap with my own research interests but I have also supervised in other areas and am always happy to consider a project if a prospective student specifically wants to work with me or thinks that I am the right supervisor for their project.


I currently teach a second year undergraduate course on the 'Sociology of Popular Music', a third year course on 'Body and Society' and a Masters course on 'Social Theory and Cultural Identity. I also contribute to both a Masters course and several short courses on social network analysis. I have always enjoyed teaching and still find it stimulating and (usually!) fun.

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

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Creative Manchester


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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