Professor Larry Ray

Emeritus Professor of Sociology
Professor Larry Ray


Professor Larry Ray completed his DPhil and MA in Sociology at Sussex University and his BA in Sociology at Lancaster University. He joined the University of Kent in 1998 from the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University. In 1996, he was visiting scholar, Victoria University Wellington, New Zealand. At Kent, he was Head of the Department of Sociology from 1999-2001, and Sub-Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences from 2009-2011. He is currently Chair of the Sociology Pathway in the South East Network Doctoral Training Partnership

Research interests

Professor Ray’s main research interests are sociological theory, post-communism, the sociology of violence, Jewish studies and visual sociology. He has worked in recent years on the political philosophy of Hannah Arendt, the challenge to social science explanations of violence from neuroscience, and the sociology of Jewish identity and culture. He has also worked with Dr Sławomir Kapralski on Disputed Holocaust Memory in Poland, which is the subject of a special issue of the Journal of Holocaust Studies. He is currently working on photography, sociology and visual modernity, and disputed Holocaust memory in current European culture wars. 

In 2018, Professor Ray published the second edition of Violence and Society, which develops a wide-ranging analysis of violence including prehistoric violence, long-term trends in homicide; masculinities, gender and violence; and modernity and the Holocaust. This work is informed by an interest in sociological theory and social transformation. 

A project on racially motivated violence in Greater Manchester (with Professor David Smith, Lancaster University), part of the ESRC’s Violence Research Programme, led to a wider interest in the sociology of violence. This involved working with the Probation Service, Home Office, Ministry of Justice and other public sector bodies on 'hate crime' legislation and its effectiveness along with the politics of hate movements.  



  • Member of the British Sociological Association
  • Member and former President of the British and Irish Association for Jewish Studies
  • Fellow of the British Association for Holocaust Studies 


  • Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Holocaust Studies
  • Member of the Editorial Board of the Max Weber Studies


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