Portrait of Professor Julia Twigg

Professor Julia Twigg

Emeritus Professor of Social Policy and Sociology


Professor Twigg’s first degree was in History from the University of Durham followed by MSc and PhD in Sociology from the London School of Economics. She joined the teaching department at Kent in 1996. Previously, she had worked in the Social Policy department of the University of Hull, the Social Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of York, and the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU), University of Kent.

Professor Twigg’s research is part of a growing interest in the cultural constitution of later years, exemplified in the rise of cultural gerontology. With Wendy Martin, she edited 'The Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology'

Her earlier work addressed issues of health and social care. She has argued for the recognition of carework as a form of bodywork, and published  'The Body in Health and Social Care' (Palgrave). 

Research interests

Professor Julia Twigg’s research focuses on embodiment and age. Over the last decade she has been engaged in a series of research projects exploring the role of dress in the constitution of age. The first of these, funded by ESRC, looked at women and dress, and was published as 'Fashion and Age: Dress, the Body and Later Life' (Bloomsbury). The second, undertaken with Dr Christina Buse and funded by ESRC, explored the role of dress in supporting the embodied personhood of people with dementia. The third, funded by Leverhulme Trust, extends the analysis to older men. All three studies are concerned with the ways in which dress and age intersect, and the role of the concrete materiality of clothing in the expression of social identities.   

Professor Twigg has a particular interest in the body in social care and in 2000 published an analysis of the provision of personal care. She has written on informal or family based care, particular in relation to the presence or otherwise of support for carers and its effectiveness, and on the history and ideology of vegetarianism in Britain in the nineteenth end twentieth centuries. She has contributed to an historical analysis of Modern Asceticism that encompasses food practices. She is interested in obesity and eating disorders, the control of the body and food, and food and older people.





  • Joint convener of BSA Study Group Ageing, Body and Society. 
  • Editorial board member of Journal of Social Policy
  • Editorial board member of Ageing & Society
  • Editorial board member of Journal of Aging Studies
  • Editorial board member of International Journal of Ageing and Later Life

Recent speaking engagement

Think Kent lecture videos

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