Dr Alexander Hensby

Senior Lecturer in Sociology,
Co-director Centre for the Study of Social and Political Movements,
Research Fellow, Student Success
+44 (0)1227 762349
Dr Alexander Hensby


Dr Alexander Hensby is a Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Social Policy, Social Research at the University of Kent. He is co-director of the Centre for the Study of Social and Political Movements, and a Research Fellow in Student Success. He completed his first degree in sociology at the University of York, followed by a Master's at the University of Cambridge. Dr Hensby taught sociology at Cambridge and Roehampton universities for four years before moving to the University of Edinburgh, where he received his PhD in 2014.

Dr Hensby’s principal research and teaching interests include social movements, political participation, race and ethnicity in higher education, and globalisation. He is the author of two books, Participation and Non-Participation in Student Activism (2017), and Theorizing Global Studies (2011, with Darren J. O’Byrne).

As Research Fellow in Student Success, Dr Hensby is responsible for designing and delivering a research programme that will help close the white-BAME attainment gap at the University of Kent. For more information on Student Success research, please visit the team’s website

Research interests

Dr Hensby’s research interests focus on two broad areas of study. First, he is interested in social movement participation, and the networks and cultures that form around participatory and non-participatory dispositions. Dr Hensby’s research has applied these questions and debates to a number of areas of study including:

  • UK student mobilisation and contention cycles
  • Youth participation and civic engagement
  • Social media and online participation
  • Race and heritage activism in the American South

Second, in his role as research fellow for the University’s Student Success Team, Dr Hensby is interested in the causes of racial inequities in higher education. Working with Dr Barbara Adewumi, this work takes inspiration from the educational sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, and the anti-racist scholarship associated with Critical Race Theory (CRT). Recent and ongoing projects and study topics include the following:

  • A 3-year longitudinal project of academic scholarship awardees
  • BAME transition from undergraduate to postgraduate study
  • Race, representation, and belongingness and campus 


Dr Hensby convenes the following modules:


  • Sociological Theory: The Classics SO408
  • Globalisation SO684


  • Social and Political Movements SO822 


Dr Hensby welcomes prospective PhD candidates with interests in any of the following topics: social movements, political participation, student protest, race and higher education.



  • Associate Board, Sociology
  • Fellow, Higher Education Academy


  • British Sociological Association
  • Memory Studies Association
  • Society for Research into Higher Education 

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