Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

Making sense of the social world


Professor Tim Strangleman

School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research - Director of Learning & Teaching

01227 82(4735)


I am a Professor in Sociology and Director of Learning and Teaching at the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research.

My research interests are wide ranging - spanning the sociology of work and its historiography, work identity and meaning; deindustrialisation; visual approaches and methods; corporate photography; working class studies; the sociology of nostalgia and mass-observation and in particular the work of Humphrey Jennings. The focus of my research includes the UK, EU, North America and China. I am currently the President of The Working Class Studies Association.

I am a founding member and co-convenor of the BSA Work, Employment and Economic Life Study Group (WEEL).

My work has featured on radio (UK, USA and Australia) in print media and on television including BBC’s The One Show.


I joined the University of Kent in 2007 as a Reader in Sociology, and promoted to Professor in 2011. During my career I have held a Lectureship in Sociology at the University of Nottingham and been a Research Associate at the Universities of Manchester and Durham. Prior to arriving at Kent I was Senior Research Fellow and Institute Research Manager at the Working Lives Research Institute, London Metropolitan University.


I started my working life as a signalman on the London Underground. In 1988, I left London Transport to go to Ruskin College in Oxford where I completed a Diploma in Social Studies. I studied for my BA (Hons) History and Sociology and PhD at Durham University. I also hold a PGCAP from the University of Nottingham. In 2010 I was elected as an Academician in the Academy of Social Science.



Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Strangleman, T. and Warren, T. (2015). WORK AND SOCIETY – Sociological approaches, themes and methods (ÇALIŞMA VE TOPLUM Sosyolojik Yaklaşımlar, Temalar ve Yöntemler) Turkish Translation. Temalar ve Yöntemler.
Strangleman, T. and Warren, T. (2008). Work and Society: Sociological Approaches, Themes and Methods. London: Routledge.
Strangleman, T. (2004). Work Identity at the End of the Line? Privatisation and Culture Change in the Uk Railway industry. [Online]. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Strangleman, T. (2015). Rethinking Industrial Citizenship: The Role and Meaning of Work in an Age of Austerity. British Journal of Sociology [Online] 66:1-18.
Strangleman, T. and Rhodes, J. (2014). The ‘New’ Sociology of Deindustrialisation?: Understanding Industrial Change. Sociology Compass [Online] 8:411-421.
Strangleman, T., Rhodes, J. and Linkon, S. (2013). Introduction to crumbling cultures: Deindustrialization, class, and memory. International Labor and Working-Class History [Online] 84:7-22.
Strangleman, T. (2013). Smokestack nostalgia, ruin porn or working-class obituary: The role and meaning of deindustrial representation. International Labor and Working-Class History [Online] 84:23-37.
Strangleman, T. (2012). Imagining The Thought of Work. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal [Online] 24:289-293.
Strangleman, T. (2012). Work Identity in Crisis?: Rethinking the problem of attachment and loss at work. Sociology [Online] 46:411-425.
Strangleman, T. (2012). Picturing work in an industrial landscape. Sociological Research Online [Online] 17:20.
Strangleman, T. (2011). Writing Workers: Re-reading Workplace Autobiography. Scottish Labour History 46:26-37.
Strangleman, T. (2010). Food drink and the cultures of work: Consumption in the life and death of an English factory. Food, Culture and Society [Online] 13:257-278.
Crow, G. et al. (2009). New Divisions of Labour?: Comparative Thoughts on the Current Recession. Sociological Research Online [Online] 14.
Halford, S. and Strangleman, T. (2009). In Search of the Sociology of Work: Past Present and Future. Sociology [Online] 43:811-828.
Strangleman, T. (2008). Representations of labour: Visual sociology and work. Sociological Compass [Online] 2:1491-1505.
Strangleman, T. (2008). Sociology, Social Class and New Working Class Studies. Antipode [Online] 40:15-19.
Strangleman, T. (2007). The nostalgia for permanence at work? The end of work and its commentators. Sociological Review [Online] 55:81-103.
Strangleman, T. (2006). Book Review: Dignity, respect and the cultures of work. Work Employment & Society [Online] 20:181-188.
Hanlon, G. et al. (2006). Risk society and the NHS-From the traditional to the new citizen? Critical Perspectives on Accounting [Online] 17:270-282.
Strangleman, T. (2005). Sociological Futures and the Sociology of Work. Sociological Research Online [Online] 10.
Hanlon, G. et al. (2005). Knowledge, technology and nursing: The case of MHS Direct. Human Relations [Online] 58:147-171.
Greatbatch, D. et al. (2005). Telephone triage, expert systems and clinical expertise. Sociology of Health & Illness [Online] 27:802-830.
Goode, J. et al. (2004). Risk and the responsible health consumer: The problematics of entitlement among callers to NHS Direct. Critical Social Policy [Online] 24:210-232.
Goode, J. et al. (2004). Male callers to NHS Direct: The assertive carer, the new dad and the reluctant patient. Health [Online] 8:311-328.
Strangleman, T. (2004). Ways of (not) seeing work: The visual as a blind spot in WES? Work Employment & Society [Online] 18:179-192.
Strangleman, T. (2002). 'Nostalgia for Nationalisation - the Politics of Privatisation' . Sociological Research Online [Online] 7.
Strangleman, T. (2002). ‘Constructing the past: railway history from below or a study in Nostalgia?'. Journal of Transport History 23:147-158.
Strangleman, T. (2001). Networks, place and identities in post-industrial mining communities. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research [Online] 25:253-267.
Strangleman, T. (2001). I was a Docker, I was a Railwayman. Work Employment & Society [Online] 15:645-651 .
Strangleman, T. (1999). The Nostalgia of Organisations and the Organisation of Nostalgia: Past and Present in the Contemporary Railway Industry. Sociology [Online] 33:725-746.
Strangleman, T. et al. (1999). Heritage work: Re-representing the work ethic in the coalfields. Sociological Research Online [Online] 4.
Strangleman, T. (1999). Making the difference in different places? Northern Economic Review 5.
Strangleman, T. and Roberts, I. (1999). Looking through the Window of Opportunity: The Cultural Cleansing of Workplace Identity. Sociology [Online] 33:47-67.
Roberts, I. and Strangleman, T. (1998). Managing culture and the manipulation of difference: a case study of second-generation transplant. Asia Pacific Business Review [Online] 5:161-182.
Book section
Strangleman, T. (2016). The Disciplinary Career of the Sociology of Work. in: Edgell, S., Gottfried, H. and Granter, E. eds. The SAGE Handbook of the Sociology of Work and Employment. London: Sage.
Strangleman, T. (2015). Industrial Structure of Feeling: Creating Industrial Gemeinschaft in a Twentieth Century Workplace. in: Dawson, M. et al. eds. Stretching the Sociological Imagination: Essays for John Eldridge. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Strangleman, T. (2015). Work: Experience, Identities and Meanings. in: Holborn, M. ed. Contemporary Sociology. Polity Press.
Strangleman, T. (2013). Visual Sociology and Work Organization: An Historical Approach (Chapter 15). in: Bell, E., Warren, S. and Schroeder, J. E. eds. The Routledge Companion to Visual Organization. London: Taylor & Francis Ltd.
Strangleman, T. (2013). Work (Chapter 12). in: Payne, G. ed. Social Divisions. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Strangleman, T. (2011). Working class autobiography as cultural heritage (Chapter 10). in: Smith, L., Shackel, P. and Campbell, G. eds. Heritage, Labour and the Working Classes. London: Taylor & Francis Ltd.
Strangleman, T. (2008). The Remembrance of a Lost Work: Nostalgia, labour and the visual. in: Whipps, S. ed. Ming Jue: Photographs of Longbridge and Nanjing . Walsall: The New Art Gallery Walsall.
Strangleman, T. et al. (2006). Telephone triage, expert systems and clinical expertise (Chapter 7). in: Allen, D. and Pilnick, A. eds. The Social Organisation of Healthcare Work. Oxford: John Wiley and Sons , pp. 115-142.
Strangleman, T. (2006). The nostalgia of organisations and the organisation of nostalgia: Past and present in the contemporary railway industry . in: Smith, L. ed. Cultural Heritage: Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies. London: Taylor & Francis Ltd.
Strangleman, T. (2006). Work, Sociology and the Visual. in: Vroege, B. ed. Changing Faces/Work In Progress. Göttinggen: Steidl, pp. 172-181.
Strangleman, T. (2005). Class Memory: Autobiography and the Art of Forgetting. in: Russo, J. and Linkon, S. eds. New Working-Class Studies. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, pp. 137-151.
Dingwall, R. and Strangleman, T. (2005). Organizational Cultures in the Public Services (Chapter 20). in: Ferlie, E. B., Lynn Jr, L. E. and Pollitt, C. eds. The Oxford Handbook of Public Management. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Roberts, I. and Strangleman, T. (2001). Building Again? Trade Unions and Formalisation in the British Construction Industry(Chapter 10) . in: van Gyes, G., de Witte, H. and Pasture, P. eds. Can Class Still Unite? The Differentiated Work Force, Class Solidarity and Trade Unions. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Group, pp. 275-294.
Roberts, I. and Strangleman, T. (1999). Managing Culture and the Manipulation of Difference: A Case Study of Second Generation Transplant . in: Garrahan, P. and Ritchie, J. eds. East Asian Direct Investment in Britain. London: Taylor & Francis Ltd, pp. 161-182.
Strangleman, T. and Roberts, I. (1997). Social reproduction, social dislocation and the labour market. in: Kristensen, C. J. ed. The Meeting of the Waters-Individuality and Community, Work and Solidarity in High Modernity. Oslo, Copenhagen: Scandinavian University Press.
Visual media
Hatton, P. et al. (2011). Living & Working on Sheppey/ Back and Forth on High Street Blue Town. [Live Event, website and video].
Total publications in KAR: 50 [See all in KAR]


Research interests

Research interests

My research interests are wide ranging - spanning the sociology of work and its historiography, work identity and meaning; deindustrialisation; visual approaches and methods; corporate photography; working class studies; the sociology of nostalgia and mass-observation and in particular the work of Humphrey Jennings. The focus of my research includes the UK, EU, North America and China.

The uniting themes underlying my work concern ideas of identity, representation and culture. I am fascinated by the idea of the cultural study of work, in particular how and in what ways work has meaning for those who do it and those who observe it.


Currently I am involved in a range of projects. My major focus at the moment is my research on the former Guinness brewery at Park Royal West London which closed in 2005 after seventy years of production. This study combines interviews with workers and a wide variety of photographic material generated as part of the project, as well as from the company archives. A range of the contemporary images of the site before closure can be seen here.

In 2009 I won a British Academy grant to extend this study and I am writing a range of papers and a book on the brewery entitled Imagining Work in the Twentieth Century: Guinness and the Transformation of Employment, which will be published by Oxford University Press. I am also working on a book with James Rhodes on Deindustrialisation.

The Watermark Project

Over the last year or so I have been working with Dover Arts Development (DAD) and film maker Marianne Kapfer on Watermark. This is a film about and which memorialises the history of Buckland paper mill which closed on 30 June 2000, when the then owners, Arjo Wiggins, announced the transfer of production from Dover to Scotland. I carried out some of the interviews for the film and trained some of the other members of the team in oral history techniques.

Living and Working on Sheppey: Past, present and future

This project explores the recent history and changes in working lives in Sheppey in the last decades of the 20th century and into the 21st through oral reminiscence with older people and documenting how young people imagine their futures.

It is supported by HEFCE knowledge transfer fund, South East Coastal Communities (£85,806). I am working in collaboration with Dawn Lyon (PI) Peter Hatton and Clive Arundel, University of Kent; Graham Crow, University of Southampton; community group, ‘Remember Bluetown’; and artists group, TEA; with the late Ray Pahl as project consultant.


During the course of my career I have carried out studies in a variety of industries and work settings, including railways, brewing, NHS, banking, teaching, construction and engineering.

I have been developing visual aspects of my work for more than a decade now. I have collaborated with a number of artists and photographers or various projects and have used and written about a variety of visual approaches and techniques. My work combines contemporary and archive material and explores what the visual adds to our sociological imagination.

In 2008, I completed a large project funded by the ESRC under the ‘Identities and Social Action' Programme - ‘Does Work Still Shape Social Identities and Action?'. This three-year study aimed to understand the nature of attachment to work in the contemporary workplace as well as historically. It involved interviews with workers from the teaching, banking and railway sectors across four different generations.

I have worked in collaboration with a number of photographers including Chris Clunn, David McCairley and Stuart Whipps. I hope to broaden this type of collaboration in the future.

Other projects, many of which I continue to develop

  • British Academy ‘Work organisation and the representation of labour in corporate photography’ Principal applicant £3,678, 2009.
  • HEFC SECC ‘Sheppey Restudy’ £84,000, 2009-2010 Co-applicant (Dr Dawn Lyon PI).
  • ESRC ‘Does Work Still Shape Social Identities and Action?', ESRC ‘Identities and Social Action' Programme, Principal applicant £179,000, 2005 -2008. RES-148-25-0038.
  • ‘Guinness was good for us', Diageo/Guinness, Principal applicant, £15,000, 2005.
  • ESF HE ‘Age Discrimination against older men', Principal applicant £187,000, 2003.
  • ESRC Seminar Series funding competition, ‘Spaces of Working Class Life', £14,000 Co-applicant 2003.
  • Youngstown State University, Centre for Working Class Studies Research Fellowship $2,000 (USD) 2003.
  • ESRC/MRC Innovative Health Technologies Programme, ‘NHS Direct: Patient Empowerment or Dependency?', £165,000 Co-applicant, 2001. L218252022.
  • ‘Social Change in British Coalfields', Department of Sociology, University of Manchester / International Centre for Labour Studies 1997-1999. ESRC project, Research Associate, with Huw Beynon and Ray Hudson.
  • ‘The relationship between Skilled and Unskilled Workers: Social Processes in Two Industries', Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Durham 1995-1996. ESRC project, Research Associate with Ian Roberts and Richard Brown.


I actively welcome potential PhD students to work with me in the areas of work and employment; nostalgia; visual methods and approaches; oral history; industrial change; deindustrialisation; the history of British sociology; working class studies. If you have a proposal in one of these areas and want to study at the University of Kent, please email me to discuss further.


I teach on and/or convene the following modules:

Undergraduate level

  • SO668 The Sociology of Work
  • SO602 Social Research Methods
  • SO336/7 1st Year Undergraduate modules in Sociology

Masters level

  • SO866 Worlds of Work
  • SO817 Qualitative Methods (sessions on ‘Oral History’ and ‘Visual Methods’)

PHD level

I am currently supervising four PHD students: Sara Baigent (Work identity in the UK Fire Service), Emma Pleasant (Working Class Identity), Sophie Rowland (Industrial Illness in the Kent Coalfield) & Luke Shoveller (Regeneration of the Kent Coalfield).


I have held awards from the ESRCMRCBritish Academy and ESF.

Professional bodies
I have been very actively involved in the British Sociological Association (BSA). I was elected to the Executive Committee of the BSA in 2001 and re-elected in 2003. I was the chair of the Publications Committee, which manages the Association's journals Work Employment & Society and Sociology, until 2004. I was on the editorial committee of the BSA's Network newsletter for four years from 1998 and Work, Employment and Society from 2002-2004. I was one of the judges for the 2004 BSA Philip Abrams Book Prize. I was a member of the editorial board of The Sociological Review from 2011-2014.

I am currently the editor of Sociology Compass Work and Organisation section. In 2009 I guest edited a special issue of Sociology ‘Re-thinking sociologies of work: Past present and future’ with Susan Halford, University of Southampton. And in 2013 I guest edited a special issue of International Labour and Working Class History.

I am a founding member and co-convenor of the BSA Work, Employment and Economic Life Study Group (WEEL) and of the Working Class Studies Association. I have also taken a lead in setting up Re-Working Kent, a cross faculty network of scholars at the University of Kent interested in work issues. I am also a member of:

I held a fellowship at the Center for Working Class Studies, Youngstown State University in Ohio USA in 2003.

I have acted as a referee for a number of sociological and interdisciplinary journals in the USA, UK and EU.

External examiner
I have acted as an external examiner at undergraduate level the University of Kent (2005-2006), University of Newcastle (2007- 2009) and Sheffield University (2008-2011).

I have acted as external examiner for postgraduate work at the Universities of York, Warwick, Salford, Anglia Ruskin, Newcastle, Sheffield Hallam, Essex and LSE.

I have worked as an external assessor Academy of Finland, Research Council for Culture and Society, and The Irish Research Council.

Conference and papers
I have given plenary presentations at conferences in Germany, USA, UK, Hungary, France and Ireland. Over the past few years I have given papers based on my work at York, Glasgow, City University London, Warwick, University of East London, Exeter, Manchester, Essex, Southampton, Newcastle, Georgetown in Washington DC, Cornell and Dublin.


Professor Tim Strangleman talks on BBC1's One Show
about time and motion studies in the workplace

BBC Radio 4 Thinking Allowed Programme on Smokestack Nostalgia

BBC Radio 4 Thinking Allowed Programme on Railway Work Identity

I also regularly blog at Working-Class Perspectives


Contact information

Please contact me by email to arrange a meeting

Office information

Room CE136
Cornwallis East
University of Kent
Kent CT2 7NF
Please contact me by email to arrange a meeting

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: 20/10/2015