Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research


profile image for Professor Larry Ray

Professor Larry Ray

Professor of Sociology

School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

Room 207
School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Cornwallis North East
Canterbury , Kent, CT2 7NF


I am a Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. See the rest of the Sociology team.

My main teaching and research interests are in the areas of sociological theory, globalization, postcommunism, memory and violence.

My most recent book, Violence and Society (Sage), develops a wide-ranging analysis of violence including prehistoric violence, long-term trends in homicide; masculinities, gender and violence; and modernity and the Holocaust. 

My current project is an examination of Jewish identity and memory in the UK and Europe which includes the role of music, food and community networks in sustaining identities and articulating relationships to the past. I am also continuing to work on aspects violence particularly in relation to inequality, consumer culture and desire.

Listen to Mark Carrigan’s podcast in which he interviews me about the 2011 summer riots in the UK. Read more on The Sociological Imagination website.


I joined the University of Kent in 1998. Before that I was in the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University. In 1996, I was visiting scholar, Victoria University Wellington, New Zealand. At Kent I was Head of the Department of Sociology and then SSPSSR between 1999-2001, and Sub-Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences between 2009-11. I am currently Director of Research for SSPSSR.


I completed my DPhil and MA in Sociology at Sussex University and my BA in Sociology at Lancaster University.

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  • 2011 'Violence and Society' (Sage 2011) Violence and Society - Cover
  • 2010 ‘Migration and Remembrance: Sounds and Spaces of Klezmer ‘Revivals’ Cultural Sociology
  • 2009 ‘At the end of the postcommunist transformation?  Normalization or Imagining Utopia? European Journal of Social Theory 12(3):321-336
  • 2007 ‘Reflections on the Demise of Communism in Europe’ European History Quarterly 37,3:442-56
  • 2007 Globalization and Everyday Life London: Routledge
  • 2007 Current Issues and developments in race hate Probation Journal, 54, 2:109-24 (with Liz Dixon)
  • 2007 ‘From Postmodernity to Liquid Modernity: What’s in a Metaphor?’ in Anthony Elliott ed. The Contemporary Bauman London: Routledge pp 63-80
  • 2006 ‘Mourning, Melancholia and Violence’ in Duncan Bell ed Memory, Trauma and World Politics London: Palgrave pp 135-56
  • 2005 Social Theory and Postcommunism Oxford: Blackwell. (with William Outhwaite)
  • 2005 ‘Violent Crime’ in Wincup E et al eds. ­Introduction to Crime and Criminology Oxford University Press pp.223-44
  • 2004 ‘Racist Offending, Policing and Community Conflict’ Sociology (with David Smith) vol 38 (3): 681-99
  • 2004 ‘Pragmatism and Critical Theory’ European Journal of Social Theory vol 7 (3): 307-21
  • 2004 ‘Shame, rage and racist violence’ British Journal of Criminology (with D. Smith and L. Wastell) 44:350-368
  • 2003 ‘Understanding Racist violence’ in B. Stanko ed., The Meanings of Violence London: Routledge pp 112-29 (with D. Smith & L. Wastell)
  • 2003 ‘Racist Violence from a probation service perspective: now you see it, now you don’t’ in R. M. Lee and B. Stanko eds,Researching Violence London: Routledge pp 217-31 (with D. Smith & L. Wastell)
  • 2001 ‘Racist Offenders and the Politics of “Hate Crime”’ Law and Critique 12, 3:203-221 (with D. Smith)
  • 1999  Theorizing Classical Sociology Buckingham: Open University Press.
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Research interests

My main research interests are sociological theory, globalization, postcommunism, memory and violence. For more than 20 years I have researched the crisis and transformation of post-communist societies and its implications for social theory.


One current project I am developing is an examination on the emergence of Jewish identity and memory in Poland with particular reference to the contested role of music in articulating relationships to the past and the Holocaust. I would welcome inquiries from anyone interested in postgraduate research on any of these topics.


In 2011 I published Violence and Society (Sage) which develops a wide-ranging analysis of violence including prehistoric violence, long-term trends in homicide; masculinities, gender and violence; and modernity and the Holocaust. This work is informed by an interest in sociological theory and social transformation.


In 2005 I published Social Theory and Postcommunism (Blackwell) with William Outhwaite at Newcastle University. In 2007 I published Globalization and Everyday Life (Routledge) which focuses on the diverse ways in which globalization is sustained through and embedded within the practices of everyday life.

A project on racially motivated violence in Greater Manchester (with Prof. David Smith, Lancaster University), that was part of the ESRC’s Violence Research Programme, led to a wider interest in the sociology of violence. This has involved work on 'hate crime' legislation and its effectiveness along with the politics of hate movements. This research has involved work with the Probation Service, Home Office, Ministry of Justice and other public sector bodies.


I welcome PHD proposals within my areas of interest. If you are interested in studying at the University of Kent, please email me to discuss further.


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My teaching interests at undergraduate and postgraduate levels include globalization, sociology of violence and sociological theory. I currently convene the following modules:

  • SO534 Sociological Approaches to Violence (higher level module - part of the Sociology and Criminology programmes)
  • SO824 Sociological Theories of Violence (Masters module on MA Sociology, Criminology and LLM programmes)

I also contribute to:

  • SO500 Concepts and Theories in Sociology (core intermediate level Social Theory module)
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  • Member of the British Sociological Association. 
  • Executive Committee member and President-elect British Association for Jewish Studies.


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Professor Larry Ray

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Telephone: +44(0)1227 823072 Fax: +44(0)1227 827005 or email us

SSPSSR, Faculty of Social Sciences, Cornwallis North East, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NF

Last Updated: 06/08/2013