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Personal profile


My academic career straddles the disciplines of sociology and history. Following a History degree in the School of Social Sciences at Sussex University, I completed a PhD on the cultural construction of girlhood in Lancaster University’s Educational Research Department and then held a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Centre for Women’s Studies. I joined Sociology at the University of Manchester in 1993.

My research centres on 2 inter-related fields: (i) Gender History with particular reference to Girlhood, Visual Culture, Consumption, Age and Ageing, Girls’ magazines; (ii) Biographical and Visual Methods, including Photographic methods.

I am a member of the British Sociological Association, the Women’s History Network, Gender & Education Association, and the Social History Society.


Research interests

Keywords: Gender History, Girlhood, Visual Culture, Consumption, Age and Ageing, Visual Methods, Photography, Biographical Methods, Girls’ magazines.

Girlhood and Later Life of women born 1939-52
My research interests currently focus on girls born 1939-52 who grew up in Britain in the 1950s-1970s, decades widely regarded by sociologists and historians as pivotal in the formation of late-modern gender and age identities.

Girlhood and Later Life Project - I was principal investigator on a ESRC-funded project entitled ‘Transitions and Mobilities: Girls growing up in Britain 1954-76 and the implications for later-life experience and identity’. This study, undertaken in collaboration with Dr Anne McMunn at UCL, addresses women born in Britain 1939-52 who became teenagers and young adults 1954-76. The youth of this generation of women has immense historical and current significance; recent studies suggest these young women were in the vanguard of postwar social change. They are now part of the largest group of over 60s in British history with unprecedented influence and are widely seen to be ageing differently from their predecessors partly due to their youth experiences. To learn more about this project and the publications emerging from it, click here http://projects.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/girlhood-and-later-life/.

Women and Girls in 1950s Britain – In collaboration with Stephanie Spencer and Claire Langhamer I published a co-edited book Women in Fifties Britain: a New Look (Routledge). First published as a special issue of Women’s History Review, this collection developed from a very successful ESRC seminar series (2009-11).

C20th girls’ and women’s history - I have written extensively on girls’ leisure, consumption, education and citizenship 1900-50, and published a book on teenage magazines and the cultural construction of girlhood - Constructing Girlhood: popular magazines for girls growing up in England, 1920-50 (Taylor & Francis, 1995). I have also published extensively on the feminization of smoking, including Smoke Signals: Women, Smoking and Visual Culture in Britain (Berg, 2006).

Using photographs in research I am interested in the use of photographs to explore questions about the present and past. See my book Using Photographs in Social and Historical Research (Sage 2013)

Doctoral examination process - I have undertaken research on policies, practices, perceptions and experiences pertaining to the PhD examination process in Britain. See Tinkler, P. and Jackson, C. The PhD Examination Process: A Handbook for Students, Examiners and Supervisors (Open University Press, 2004)



Further information

I am available to supervise PhDs on:

  • Gender, age and ageing, contemporary or historical
  • young people, youth cultures, youthful femininities, education (present/past)
  • consumption, especially historical
  • research topics that are explored using visual, especially photographic, methods
  • qualitative research involving biographical and historical perspectives
  • photographic practices present/past
  • research that addresses historical questions
  • girls and women historically

PhD Students:

  • R. Katz ‘Grinding their gears? Effects of tourists using Grindr on local and LGBT+ communities’. Awarded 2020.
  • N. Yodavich ‘Feminist paradigms in female fandom’. Awarded 2020.
  • W. Lai ‘The Japanese civilising process’. Awarded 2020.
  •  J. Yu ‘Chinese students in transnational Higher Education’. Awarded 2019.
  • L. Fenton ‘Women and Drinking in Post War and Contemporary Britain.’ Awarded 2018.
  • J. Bennett ‘Self Identity, Place and Community’. Awarded 2012.
  • A. West ‘The Role of Risk in Mediating the Identities and Practices of Rock Climbers.’ Awarded 2012.
  • D. Ilugbuhi ‘Adolescent sexuality and HIV/Aids in Nigeria.’ Awarded 2010.
  • A. Pechurina ‘Russian Communities in the UK.’ Awarded 2010.
  • L. Gibson ‘Popular music and the life course’. Awarded 2010.
  • S. Aguilar-Rodriguez ‘Cooking Modernity: Food, Gender, and Class in 1940s and 1950s Mexico.’ Awarded 2009.
  • J. Heynes ‘An exploration of girls’ perceptions of, and views on, the representation of women and gender in religious education.’ Awarded 2008.
  • J. van Hooff: ‘The experiences of different generations in heterosexual relationships.’ Awarded 2006.
  • S. Khamis ‘Egyptian women and television’s “public awareness” programmes.’ Awarded 2000

Current teaching:

  • Visualizing Society and Social Life – PGT module.
  • Research Design – PGT module

Additional information:

Media availability – girls, young people 1900-70

Media experience: Radio 4 Today programme (6/3/12); BBC 4 ‘Timeshift' (4/1/12); BBC Radio 2, ‘Smoke, Smoke, Smoke that Cigarette’ (19/6/07); BBC North West Tonight (29/6/07); Radio 4 Woman’s Hour (21/11/2000, 27/10/06); BBC Radio 5 Live (1/7/05). I've written features on girls’ magazines (Independent on Sunday Life magazine, pp.1-2. 19/1/03) and on the PhD examination (THES 21/5/04, 19/3/04, 21/10/05).

Media contact:

Email: penny.tinkler@manchester.ac.uk
Or contact Media Relations Officer: joe.paxton@manchester.ac.uk, 0161 275 8155 / 07823 537670


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 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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