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Michael has been working as a Lecturer in Criminology in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research since 2016, teaching across all stages of the undergraduate criminology programmes and on the MA in Criminology.
Michael currently convenes SSPSSR’s Crime, Media, and Culture and undergraduate Research Dissertation module.
Michael's current research interests centre on 'doomsday' prepping. Prepping is a primarily American practice undertaken by individuals and small groups preparing to survive future moments of crisis or social collapse – be it by developing survival skills and/or storing food, water, and weapons in advance.
Michael’s work has engaged on the prepping movement’s growth and development in the United States from 2008 onwards. Throughout this time, it has involved using up-close ethnographic methods and survey-based research to undertake multiple stages of research during Obama’s presidency, Trump’s presidency, the covid-19 pandemic, and after the 2020 election.
Generally speaking, this work questions the usefulness of media-driven stereotypes, and theories concerned with older (20th century) survivalist activity, to today’s prepping movement. Whereas such understandings regularly suggest that prepping culture is apocalyptic, politically-extreme, and reflects the outermost fringes of American society, Michael’s work offers a counter to this narrative: demonstrating that preppers’ fears and activities often reflect politics and disaster-based fears that resonate throughout wider mainstream US culture.
Within and around Michael's work on prepping, his research interests more broadly address themes around cultural criminology, political extremism, crime in the media, apocalypticism, American political culture, right-wing movements, late modernity, and risk.
I am interested in supervising PhD candidates who are interested in ‘doomsday’ prepping, survivalism, disaster preparation, apocalypticism, right-wing political movements, political extremism, cultural criminology, ethnographic and innovative research methods, and the sociology of risk.
Michael is a member of the British Society of Criminology, European Society of Criminology, and the British Sociological Association. He is also on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Extreme Anthropology, and has peer-reviewed for several journals in Criminology, American Studies, Anthropology, Sociology and Geography.
Additionally, Michael is a Co-Chair in the European Society of Criminology’s Working Group on Qualitative Research Methods and Epistemologies. He is also a member of the Steering Committee for the international series of Between Edges and Margins conferences on social research methods.
Michael’s work on prepping regularly receives media attention around the world. He has advised multiple broadcasters regarding documentaries on US prepping culture. Meanwhile, his work and comments on prepping have been featured across numerous areas of the British media outlets, including the BBC, Metro, Independent, Sky News, and Daily Mail.