Portrait of Professor Tim Strangleman

Professor Tim Strangleman

Professor of Sociology
Director, Work, Employment and Economic Life Research Cluster


Professor Tim Strangleman started his working life as a signalman on the London Underground. In 1988, he left London Transport to go to Ruskin College in Oxford where he completed a Diploma in Social Studies. He studied for his BA (Hons) History and Sociology and PhD at Durham University. He also holds a PGCAP from the University of Nottingham.

Research interests

Currently, the major focus of Professor Strangleman's research is on the issue of deindustrialisation and the consequences of industrial loss. 2019 sees the publication of his book 'Voices of Guinness: An Oral History of the Park Royal Brewery', Oxford University Press. This is the culmination of over a decade and a half research and examines the experience of industrial change over the twentieth century. Tim is also completing a major project with his colleagues Michele Fazio and Christie Launius 'The Routledge International Handbook of Working Class Studies'. He is also working on a book on deindustrialisation with James Rhodes, University of Manchester.

Over the years Tim has worked with a range of photographers, artists, film makers and other non-academics as part of his research. 


At undergraduate level, Dr Strangleman teaches sociology modules on the sociology of work, culture and sociological theory. In 2018, he developed a writing module for first year students called Write Right! He is currently developing a module entitled The Sociology of Englishness. 

At postgraduate level, he teaches modules on the world of work and qualitative methods. 


Dr Strangleman welcomes potential PhD students to work with him 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. 

He is 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) and Luke Shoveller (Regeneration of the Kent Coalfield).


Professor Strangleman has held awards from the ESRC, MRC, British Academy and ESF. 

Professor Strangleman edited 'Sociology Compass', Work and Organisation section. In 2009, he guest edited a special issue of 'Sociology', ‘Re-thinking sociologies of work: Past present and future’ with Susan Halford, University of Southampton. In 2013, he guest edited a special issue of 'International Labour and Working Class History'. He is currently the Chair of the editorial board the BSA journal 'Sociology'

Professor Strangleman was elected to the Executive Committee of the British Sociological Association (BSA) in 2001 and re-elected in 2003. He has been chair of the Publications Committee, which manages the Association's journals 'Work Employment & Society' and 'Sociology', on the editorial committee of the BSA's 'Network' newsletter and 'Work, Employment and Society', a judge for the BSA Philip Abrams Book Prize and a member of the editorial board of 'The Sociological Review'. He is a founding member and co-convenor of the BSA 'Work, Employment and Economic Life Study Group' (WEEL) and Past President of the Working Class Studies Association. 

Professor Strangleman held a fellowship at the Center for Working Class Studies, Youngstown State University in Ohio, USA in 2003. He is a Visiting Fellow at the Scottish Oral History Centre based in Strathclyde University Glasgow.

External examiner
Professor Strangleman has acted as an external examiner at undergraduate level at the University of Kent, University of Newcastle, Sheffield University, Manchester University and Aberdeen. At postgraduate level, he has acted as external at the Universities of York, Warwick, Salford, Anglia Ruskin, Newcastle, Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam, Essex, Strathclyde and LSE.  

Conference and papers 
Professor Strangleman has given plenary presentations at conferences in Germany, USA, UK, Hungary, France, Spain, Italy and Ireland. Over the past few years he has given papers at York, Glasgow, City University London, Warwick, University of East London, Exeter, Manchester, Essex, Bristol, Southampton, Newcastle, Brighton, Georgetown in Washington DC, Humboldt University Berlin, Ghent University Belgium, Cornell and Dublin. 

Dr Strangleman's work has featured on radio (UK, USA and Australia) in print media and on television, including: 

He also regularly blogs at Working-Class Perspectives


Showing 50 of 57 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.


  • Strangleman, T. (2017). Deindustrialisation and the Historical Sociological Imagination: Making Sense of Work and Industrial Change. Sociology [Online] 51:466-482. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0038038515622906.
    Following recent calls for a more self-aware and historically-sensitive sociology this article reflects on the concept of deindustrialisation and industrial change in this spirit. Using E.P. Thompson’s classic The Making of The English Working Class and his examination of industrialising culture with its stress on experience, the article asks how these insights might be of value in understanding contemporary processes of deindustrialisation and work. Drawing on a range of sociological, cultural and literary studies writers it conceptualises the differences and similarities between two historic moments of industrial change and loss. In particular it draws on the literary concept of the ‘half-life of deindustrialisation’ to explore these periods. The paper has important implications for how we think about contemporary and historical industrial decline.
  • Strangleman, T. (2017). Mining a productive seam? The coal industry, community and sociology. Contemporary British History [Online] 32:18-38. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13619462.2017.1408532.
    Recently there have been calls for sociology in Britain to reflect on its longstanding historical attention and focus, something which has been neglected of late. At the same time there is growing interest in the historiography of British sociology and critical reflection on how its early post-war assumptions went on to structure later research, writing and scholarship. Developing both of these insights this article looks at British sociology’s longstanding relationship with the coal industry, its work and especially its communities. From Coal is our Life (1956) through to Coal was our Life (2000) the sector has been an important site of sociological attention. It was an early focus of post-war community studies, becoming home to a residual traditional working class. Later still it was an arena of conflict on the front line of Thatcher’s Britain, before becoming a site on which to study loss and deindustrialisation. This article asks what sociology learnt from the deep coal mining industry and what it might still explore in the future around questions of regeneration and the ‘half-life’ of deindustrialisation.
  • Strangleman, T. (2015). Rethinking Industrial Citizenship: The Role and Meaning of Work in an Age of Austerity. British Journal of Sociology [Online] 66:673-690. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-4446.12135.
    T. H. Marshall in his famous tract Citizenship and?Social?Class wrote briefly about what he called ‘industrial citizenship’, a type of belonging rooted in the workplace. Here Marshall's ideas are developed alongside a consideration of Durkheim's Professional?Ethics and?Civic?Morals together with research material from the Guinness Company. It shows the way the Company actively sought to create ‘Guinness citizenship’ within its London brewery. The article draws out the ways in which the significance and potential of work based citizenship for ameliorating the ills of industrial society are clearly articulated in mid-twentieth century Britain and echo earlier neglected Durkheimian sociological ideas on work. These ideas have real potential to inform contemporary academic and policy debates about the nature of capitalism and the form and content of work now and in the future.
  • Strangleman, T. and Rhodes, J. (2014). The ‘New’ Sociology of Deindustrialisation?: Understanding Industrial Change. Sociology Compass [Online] 8:411-421. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/soc4.12143.
    This article reviews a range of new and established writing on deindustrialisation. It traces the origins of the concept from its popularisation in the early 1980s with the onset of large scale loss in the industrial regions of North America and Europe. We argue that with the passage of time, the academic field of deindustrialisation has matured as the scale and consequences of industrial loss become more apparent. We suggest here that sociology has not made the contribution it could have in this debate and that one of the key strengths of the area is its interdisciplinary nature; especially from disciplines such as geography, anthropology, and social history. Its key aim is to explain why this is the case and suggest that by fully engaging with the issue of deindustrialisation and the range of new material available, the sociology of economic life can develop a more rounded account both of work and its absence.
  • 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. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0147547913000239.
    This article explores some of the visual imagery that has emerged from the process of deindustrialization. It seeks to understand the similarities and differences between post-industrial photography collected in book format in both North America and Europe and the critics of this genre. It makes sense of the value and meaning of this publishing trend and what it says about its market. While it would be easy to dismiss this material as simply nostalgic, representing another manifestation of smokestack nostalgia, this article suggests that we need a more nuanced account which asks questions about the continuing desire to reflect back and find value in the industrial past. In so doing it makes a contribution to a wider critical account of the role of cultural approaches to interpreting industrial change and working-class history. Copyright © 2013 International Labor and Working-Class History, Inc.
  • 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. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0147547913000227.
    In this introductory essay we review key themes in the scholarly literature on deindustrialization over the last twenty-five to thirty years. While the term deindustrialization has been in use since the early 1980s, more careful attention needs to be brought to bear on the cultural significance of industrial change over time, including on how individuals and communities reinterpret deindustrialization through the lens of memory. This essay highlights contributions that reflect multiple disciplines and approaches, including interdisciplinary work. We also argue that cultural representations such as photography, literature, the media, and personal narratives offer especially useful insights into the continuing significance of deindustrialization, giving us access to the ways people are drawing on and constructing their memories of industrial work and of the process of deindustrialization itself. This essay and the wider special issue suggest that taking a long view - from the perspective of more than two decades after major shutdowns - and examining documentary, personal, and creative representations provides important insights into the meanings and consequences of the experience of deindustrialization for individuals, communities, and nations.
  • Strangleman, T. (2012). Picturing work in an industrial landscape. Sociological Research Online [Online] 17:20. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.5153/sro.2683.
    This paper explores the notion of the visual landscape of work. Coming from a sociological perspective it attempts to view work, its meanings and the identities that surround it, through the lens of landscape. It takes on recent challenges to work sociology made by economic/labour geographers who argue that sociological understanding of employment are insufficiently spatial - space if used as a concept at all is reduced to the notion of a boundary containing economic processes rather than something that is constructed and in turn constructs work. Using material from ongoing research into the former Guinness Brewery at Park Royal in West London, and in particular a range of archival and contemporary visual sources, this paper illustrates the ways in which spatial ideas underpin complex sociological notions of work practice and culture. It will examine the way space is implicated in the location, construction, labour, and closing of this once famous brewery and how visual material helps to unlock theoretical and methodological understandings of work and industry.
  • Strangleman, T. (2012). Imagining The Thought of Work. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal [Online] 24:289-293. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10672-012-9206-6.
    This article develops the idea of the interrelated complexity of work attested to in John Budd's (2011) The Thought of Work. Drawing on material from oral history and other non-academic writing about work I argue that we need to be alive to the complex paradox of labor and the workplace. We have to be attuned to and more attentive of the realities of employment. This way of understanding work has a rich tradition and is exemplified in the writing of people like Studs Terkel or Humphrey Jennings.
  • Strangleman, T. (2012). Work Identity in Crisis?: Rethinking the problem of attachment and loss at work. Sociology [Online] 46:411-425. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0038038511422585.
    The identity and meaning people obtain from their work is a central issue in contemporary sociology. There is a debate between those suggesting that we have witnessed either great rupture or continuity in the way employees engage with their jobs. This article reframes the question posed, developing a critical theoretical framework for understanding narratives of change derived from a range of theorists using concepts of nostalgia, tradition and generations. This framework is then used to read a set of work/life history interviews and autobiographical material from mainly older male workers in the UK railway industry who lament the erosion of their workplace culture and the sustainable moral order of the past. The article seeks to move beyond dismissing such accounts as simple nostalgia and instead suggests that these narratives can be understood as valuable organic critiques of industrial and social change emergent from work culture.
  • 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. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175174410X12633934463231.
    This paper looks at the consumption of food and drink in the context of the workplace. It examines a variety of ways in which work culture and identity are constructed and reproduced across time and space. The paper is based on the author's research into the former Guinness brewery at Park Royal, London, which closed in the summer of 2005 after nearly seventy years of production. The paper reflects on industrial culture, memory, loss and nostalgia for a workplace in transition and in particular the role played by food and drink in this process. The paper draws on material generated by a mixture of methods and approaches including semi-structured interviews, archival research as well as visual methods.
  • Halford, S. and Strangleman, T. (2009). In Search of the Sociology of Work: Past Present and Future. Sociology [Online] 43:811-828. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0038038509341307.
    This paper traces relations between the study of work and the evolution of British sociology as an academic discipline. This reveals broad trajectories of marginalization, as the study of work becomes less central to Sociology as a discipline; increasing fragmentation of divergent approaches to the study of work; and — as a consequence of both — a narrowing of the sociological vision for the study of work. Our paper calls for constructive dialogue across different approaches to the study of work and a re-invigoration of sociological debate about work and — on this basis — for in-depth interdisciplinary engagement enabling us to build new approaches that will allow us to study work in all its diversity and complexity.
  • Crow, G., Hatton, P., Lyon, D. and Strangleman, T. (2009). New Divisions of Labour?: Comparative Thoughts on the Current Recession. Sociological Research Online [Online] 14. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.5153/sro.1929.
    This article argues that it is useful to compare the current recession with that which occurred three decades ago. Drawing on research undertaken at that time by Ray Pahl, it is suggested that four questions are once again revealing in the study of the current economic downturn: 'How have we come to be where we are currently?', 'Who gets what?', 'How do we know what we claim to know?', and 'What sorts of lessons can be drawn to inform thinking about the future?' The usefulness of asking these questions is discussed, even though the answers must await further research.
  • Strangleman, T. (2008). Sociology, Social Class and New Working Class Studies. Antipode [Online] 40:15-19. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8330.2008.00574.x.
  • Strangleman, T. (2008). Representations of labour: Visual sociology and work. Sociological Compass [Online] 2:1491-1505. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-9020.2008.00149.x.
    This paper explores the potential that visual methods, approaches, and resources offer to the sociologist of work. It looks at the way work is represented in a range of publications and asks questions about what the visual can add to our understanding of the workplace, workers, and work processes. It argues that we need to develop and expand a sociological language of the visual in order to better understand cultural and other aspects of work and employment
  • Strangleman, T. (2007). The nostalgia for permanence at work? The end of work and its commentators. Sociological Review [Online] 55:81-103. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-954X.2007.00683.x.
    This article examines a contemporary trend in the sociology of work that is labelled here the 'end of work' debate after Jeremy Rifkin's book of the same name. It explores this trend, suggesting that marked similarities exist between a range of authors in Europe and North America who propose that work regimes and the meaning derived from them are changing fundamentally. This literature is then placed in the context of an older canon on decline in work and employment. Using the insights of newer qualitative studies that have emerged over the last decade it is suggested that much of the 'end of work' type of writing over-generalises a complex situation, suggesting that sociology needs to incorporate macro theorisation with detailed empirical research if it is to properly understand changes in the contemporary world of work
  • Hanlon, G., Goode, J., Greatbatch, D., Luff, D., O’Cathain, A. and Strangleman, T. (2006). Risk society and the NHS-From the traditional to the new citizen?. Critical Perspectives on Accounting [Online] 17:270-282. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cpa.2003.08.013.
    Much has been written about reflexive modernity and risk society in the recent past. It has been argued that a shift has occurred within late modernity which has led to the emergence of the reflexive citizen. Supposedly, this citizen engages with his or her world in ways that are significantly different to the past. This paper maps out the thrust of these theories, some criticisms of them and then outlines a strategy for researching them. It does so by explaining how these changes can be traced through an examination of NHS Direct, the UK telephone health advice line. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Strangleman, T. (2006). Book Review: Dignity, respect and the cultures of work. Work Employment & Society [Online] 20:181-188. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0950017006061291.
    A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to attend a session at a conference in Youngstown, Ohio, where a recently redundant steelworker talked with great eloquence about his former working life. He related the story of his first job while still a schoolboy collecting baseballs at his local diamond. One day his father was talking to the owner when the boy’s boss ordered him about with a wag of a finger. The boy’s father, a steelworker himself, took the boy home and never let him collect balls again. The story for the teller illustrated the interlinked qualities of dignity and respect at work. His father recognized in the other man’s gesture a disrespect for his son’s labour. The narrator spoke of the profound effect of this event on his working life and the way he subsequently viewed his treatment at work.
  • Strangleman, T. (2005). Sociological Futures and the Sociology of Work. Sociological Research Online [Online] 10. Available at: http://www.socresonline.org.uk/10/4/strangleman.html.
    This essay is a response to the call for a discussion about future trends in sociology by focusing broadly on the sub-discipline of work and employment. In doing so the piece directly engages with earlier interventions made by John Scott (2005) and Gayle Letherby (2005) in Sociological Research Online. It examines the current state of the sociology of work by charting its foundation and subsequent development. It suggests that there is currently a problem in the area caused in part by intellectual trends and fragmentation. It argues that those sociologists working in the field need to engage collectively in a reflective process to refocus the subject combining elements from its 'golden age' as well as from more contemporary sources.
  • Greatbatch, D., Hanlon, G., Goode, J., O’Caithain, A., Strangleman, T. and Luff, D. (2005). Telephone triage, expert systems and clinical expertise. Sociology of Health & Illness [Online] 27:802-830. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9566.2005.00475.x.
    This paper reports on a qualitative study of the use of an expert system developed for the British telephone triage service NHS Direct. This system, known as CAS, is designed to standardise and control the interaction between NHS Direct nurses and callers. The paper shows, however, that in practice the nurses use CAS in a range of ways and, in so doing, privilege their own expertise and deliver an individualised service. The paper concludes by arguing that NHS Direct management's policy of using CAS as a means of standardising service delivery will achieve only limited success due not only to the professional ideology of nursing but also to the fact that rule-based expert systems capture only part of what 'experts' do.
  • Hanlon, G., Strangleman, T., Goode, J., Luff, D., O’Cathain, A. and Greatbatch, D. (2005). Knowledge, technology and nursing: The case of MHS Direct. Human Relations [Online] 58:147-171. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0018726705052179.
    NHS Direct is a relatively new, nurse-based, 24-hour health advice line run as part of the UK's National Health Service (NHS). The service delivers health advice remotely via the telephone. A central aspect of the service is the attempt to provide a standard level of health advice regardless of time, space or the background of the nurse. At the heart of this attempt is an innovative health software called CLINICAL ASSESSMENT SYSTEM (CAS). Using a number of qualitative methods, this article highlights how the interaction between the nursing staff and this technology is key to the service. The technology is based on management's attempt to standardize and control the caller-nurse relationship. Thus the software can be seen as part of an abstract rationality, whereas how it is deployed by nurses is based on a practical rationality that places practice and experience first and sees the technology and protocols as tools.
  • Goode, J., Hanlon, G., Luff, D., O’Cathain, A., Strangleman, T. and Greatbatch, D. (2004). Male callers to NHS Direct: The assertive carer, the new dad and the reluctant patient. Health [Online] 8:311-328. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1363459304043468.
    It has been suggested in the light of mortality and morbidity rates, and men's reluctance to seek medical help and advice, that there is a crisis in men's health. Little is known about men's experiences of using health care services, despite an emergent UK men's health movement. NHS Direct, the new telephone advice line, was designed to be more accessible, convenient and responsive to the public's needs for health care. In-depth interviews with male callers to the service, aged between 29 and 59, reveal that they sought help in their roles as fathers, partners and on their own behalf. Having used it once, they anticipated doing so again. Their learning about health matters, from both the formal structure and the informal agenda of the telephone consultation, suggests the potential of men's use of this service for 'normalizing' help seeking by men, and thereby for longer-term improvements in men's health.
  • Strangleman, T. (2004). Ways of (not) seeing work: The visual as a blind spot in WES?. Work Employment & Society [Online] 18:179-192. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0950017004040768.
  • Goode, J., Greatbatch, D., O’Cathain, A., Luff, D., Hanlon, G. and Strangleman, T. (2004). Risk and the responsible health consumer: The problematics of entitlement among callers to NHS Direct. Critical Social Policy [Online] 24:210-232. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0261018304041951.
    NHS Direct, the 24-hour telephone helpline, uses modern communications technology to offer easier and faster access to advice about health, illness and the NHS so that people are better able to care for themselves and their families. In-depth interviews with callers to the service show that they bring with them discourses of the 'deserving' and 'undeserving' familiar in the provision of other welfare services. The figure of the 'time-waster' is the NHS equivalent of the welfare 'scrounger', acting as a mechanism to problematize entitlement. NHS Direct dispels such fears and legitimizes demand. At the same time, ever-rising levels of service use constitute a threat to what callers value most about it.
  • Strangleman, T. (2002). ’Nostalgia for Nationalisation - the Politics of Privatisation’. Sociological Research Online [Online] 7. Available at: http://www.socresonline.org.uk/7/1/strangleman.html.
    This article reviews the current problems of the UK railway industry and in particular the effective re- nationalisation of Railtrack by the government during 2001. The present state of the industry is placed in the context of the process of privatisation, and of the historical development of the sector. It reviews the current literature and media debate that deals with rail privatisation.
  • Strangleman, T. (2002). ‘Constructing the past: railway history from below or a study in Nostalgia?’. Journal of Transport History 23:147-158.
    This article seeks to highlight the importance of an underused and underappreciated resource, namely working-class autobiography written by those who were employed in the railway industry. Because of the sheer number of such publications, a peculiar feature itself of the industry, I have chosen to focus this discussion specifically upon the autobiographies and oral histories produced by those who experienced employment in railway workshops. The article opens with an examination of railway historiography, and in particular the criticism made of it by academics and other writers who view the field as overly romantic and nostalgic. Close attention will be paid to what could be viewed as the inherent tension between such criticism and unexpected advantages of these very flaws, namely that the demand on the part of the enthusiasts for detail of railway operation creates a market for the publication of shopfloor reminiscences. The second focus of interest will be the autobiographies themselves, written by employees from various railway workshops in England and Scotland, both public and private-sector. Questions will be asked as to how far these publications represent an important resource for the study of railway history, and the methodological problems entailed in their use will be examined. The article will conclude by attempting to locate these examples of autobiography within the wider historical debate on the use of qualitative material.
  • Strangleman, T. (2001). Networks, place and identities in post-industrial mining communities. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research [Online] 25:253-267. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-2427.00310.
    This article engages with the theme of the symposium by examining the role and meaning of networks in the context of a former coal-mining region in the UK. Mining communities have historically been noted by sociologists and historians for their strong social ties and extended families as well as for forming the bedrock of discussion of class and place. In the wake of the closure programme of the 1980s and early 1990s, such identities have been fundamentally challenged. The notion of networks is explored in four distinct but ultimately interrelated senses: occupational/work networks; networks around place; networks of class relations; and, finally, networks as relationships of family, kin and generation. Material presented here is based on research that investigated four former coalfield communities in the UK after closure, focusing on a former pit village in the North East of England. It begins with a discussion of community and the coalfield within sociological and historical literatures. It then proceeds to discuss the changing nature of community and social networks post-coal by focusing on the experience of two separate cohorts of former workers. It concludes by arguing for a historical understanding of the patterning of networks.
  • Strangleman, T. (2001). I was a Docker, I was a Railwayman. Work Employment & Society [Online] 15:645-651. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/09500170122119048.


  • Strangleman, T. and Warren, T. (2015). WORK AND SOCIETY – Sociological Approaches, Themes and Methods (ÇALI?MA VE TOPLUM Sosyolojik Yakla??Mlar, Temalar Ve Yöntemler) Turkish Translation. Temalar ve Yöntemler.
  • Strangleman, T. and Warren, T. (2008). Work and Society: Sociological Approaches, Themes and Methods. London: Routledge.
    Work and Society is an important new text about the sociology of work and employment. It provides both undergraduate and postgraduate students of sociology, business and politics, with a firm and enjoyable foundation to this fascinating area of sociology, giving comprehensive coverage of traditional areas of the sub-discipline as well as new trends and developments. The book is divided into three complementary and interconnected sections - investigating work, work and social change and understanding work. These sections allow readers to explore themes, issues and approaches by examining how sociologists have thought about, and researched work and how the sub-discipline has been influenced by wider society itself. Novel features include separate chapters on researching work, domestic work, unemployment and work, and the representation of work in literary and visual media.
  • Strangleman, T. (2004). Work Identity at the End of the Line? Privatisation and Culture Change in the Uk Railway Industry. [Online]. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9780230513853.
    What do we mean by workplace culture? Is culture change in an organization possible, and what happens when managers and politicians try? Work Identity at the End of the Line? is the story of workplace culture and identity in the railway industry before, during and after privatisation in the mid-1990s. Drawing on original interviews as well as autobiographies from those who worked for British Rail, the author analyses the experience of the privatisation process. By placing those events in their historical context of previous private and state ownership, this book provides a critical and highly readable understanding of what happened to the railway industry and its workforce during the 1990s. It provides a powerful critique of the attack on the wider public sector and the culture of its workforce since the 1980s. The book will be of interest to sociologists, cultural and economic historians, policy makers, as well as those studying culture change in business and management.

Book section

  • Strangleman, T. (2017). Portrait of a deindustrializing island. In: Crow, G. and Ellis, J. eds. Revisiting Divisions of Labour: The Impact and Legacies on a Modern Classic. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, pp. 55-68. Available at: http://www.manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/9781526107442/.
  • Strangleman, T. (2017). La désindustrialisation au Royaume-Uni: mort, deuil et nostalgie industrielle. In: Daumas, J., Kharaba, I. and Mioche, P. eds. La désindustrialisation: Une fatalité?. Presses Universitaires de Franche-Comté. Available at: http://pufc.univ-fcomte.fr/la-desindustralisation-une-fatalite.html.
  • Strangleman, T. (2017). Nostalgia for lost work. In: Brownsword, N. ed. Factory. Stoke on Trent: Obsolete Publications.
  • Strangleman, T. (2017). Obsolescence and Industrial culture. In: Topographies of the Outside. Stoke on Trent: Obsolete Publications.
  • 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). Work: Experience, Identities and Meanings. In: Holborn, M. ed. Contemporary Sociology. Polity Press.
  • Strangleman, T. (2015). Industrial Structure of Feeling: Creating Industrial Gemeinschaft in a Twentieth Century Workplace. In: Dawson, M., Fowler, B., Miller, D. and Smith, A. eds. Stretching the Sociological Imagination: Essays for John Eldridge. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • 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. Available at: http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=349912.
  • 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. Available at: http://www.taylorandfrancis.com/books/details/9780415618113/.
  • 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. (2006). Work, Sociology and the Visual. In: Vroege, B. ed. Changing Faces/Work In Progress. Göttinggen: Steidl, pp. 172-181. Available at: https://doi.org/3865212115.
  • Strangleman, T., Hanlon, G., Goode, J., O’Caithain, A., Luff, D. and Greatbatch, D. (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.
    This paper reports on a qualitative study of the use of an expert system developed for the British telephone triage service NHS Direct. This system, known as CAS, is designed to standardise and control the interaction between NHS Direct nurses and callers. The paper shows, however, that in practice the nurses use CAS in a range of ways and, in so doing, privilege their own expertise and deliver an individualised service. The paper concludes by arguing that NHS Direct management's policy of using CAS as a means of standardising service delivery will achieve only limited success due not only to the professional ideology of nursing but also to the fact that rule-based expert systems capture only part of what 'experts' do. © Blackwell Publishing Ltd/Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness 2005. Published by Blackwell Publishing
  • 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. Available at: http://www.taylorandfrancis.com/books/details/9780415352420/.
  • 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.
    This article considers how an important social scientific concept became a management fad. It begins with the idea of culture and its history in organizational studies. It then looks at contemporary debates about the way that an understanding of culture may contribute to successful management and concludes by considering whether there are differences between public and private sectors that are relevant to this task. Anthropologists have traditionally seen the study of culture as a defining feature of their discipline: Social anthropologists, in studying the institutionalised social relationships that are their primary concern, have found it essential to take account of the ideas and values which are associated with them, that is, of their cultural content. No account of a social relationship in human terms can be complete unless it includes reference to what it means to the people who have it. Culture does not have a material existence, although physical objects may be treated as cultural artefacts, by virtue of the meanings that people assign to them.
  • 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. Available at: https://doi.org/0801489679.
  • 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.


  • O’Connor, S. (2017). ’Swinging the Lamp’: The Watch Manager’s Career, Role and Occupational Identity Within the Modernising Agenda of the UK Fire and Rescue Service.
    This research focuses on the career and work identity of watch managers in the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS). Their role is to manage firefighters who are infamously known in political circles to possess grass root cultures that remain resistant to forms of change and modernisation. Watch managers are not only tasked with leading emergency teams at incidents but they are also at the receiving end of a relentless stream of political pressure to achieve change. This research draws on qualitative data collected within two fire services consisting of thirty-nine face-to-face interviews, four focus groups and field observations, which in combination highlight various ways the watch manager becomes an important construct in relation to the momentum of organisational change.

    Previous FRS research has explored the creation and enactment of masculinities in the watch and 'how' and 'why' the watch sustains highly masculinised images (Salaman 1986, Baigent 2001, Ward and Winstanley 2006). Despite Woodfield (2016) and Perrott's (2016) recent contributions focusing on women inhabiting FRS managerial and leadership roles, there has been limited emphasis in broader FRS research on how managerial work identities develop against watch cultures resistant to change, or in relation to male dominated 'informal' hierarchies in the watch. In order to manage their team successfully, watch managers show themselves to possess differing forms of managerial masculinities, and in so doing, draw on various combinations of charismatic, traditional and rational-legal authority. These phenomena highlight new understandings of the invisible and hidden processes by which watch managers attend to power tensions between them, the watch, and senior management. My findings suggest these power dynamics impact on the shaping of the watch manager's own sense of work identity and in reverse, the ways these tensions are handled also influence the way they are socially constructed as managers by firefighters and senior managers. Particularly revealing are the ways transformations of work identity develop as watch managers move from new to time-served firefighter, then upward to the watch manager role, and how differing identity-enabling resources are drawn from to manage and keep an equilibrium between firefighters and the watch they manage.


  • Strangleman, T. (2019). Voices of Guinness: An Oral History of the Park Royal Brewery. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
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