Professor Dawn Lyon

Professor of Sociology,
Director of Research and Innovation, Division for the study of Law, Society and Social Justice (LSSJ)
Professor Dawn Lyon


Professor Lyon is Director of Research and Innovation, Division for the study of Law, Society and Social Justice (LSSJ). Her research is in the sociology of work, time and everyday life.

Professor Lyon joined the University of Kent in 2006, having previously worked at the University of Essex, the European University Institute (Italy), Paris V, and Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She completed her PhD in Sociology at the European University Institute in 2003. She has been a Visiting Scholar at the Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives, University of Manchester; Dipartimento di Ricerche Economiche e Sociali, University of Cagliari, Sardinia; and Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK. 

Research interests

Professor Lyon’s research is in the sociology of work, time and everyday life. She has long been interested in what work means to people, whether from the perspective of looking back on an established career or imagining the future ahead of starting working life. She is equally interested in how work is organised, including the interconnections between labour undertaken in different socio-economic relations, and the coordination of work across time and space. She is also fascinated by the everyday experience of work and the embodied, sensory, temporal and material practices it involves.

Professor Lyon often draws on the notion of rhythm to make sense of work and specific workplaces as well as the patterning of everyday life more generally. She has developed the concept and practice of ‘rhythmanalysis’ originally proposed by Henri Lefebvre and Catherine Régulier in an audio-visual ethnography of London’s Billingsgate fish market, a book, What is Rhythmanalysis? (Bloomsbury, 2019) and an edited collection, Rhythmanalysis: Place, Mobility, Disruption and Performance (Emerald, 2022).

Professor Lyon has experimented with a variety of textual, audio-visual, sensory, creative and temporal methods, exploring the capacities of different research practices to capture the vitality of social life. Her current research (supported by the British Academy) is a study of the everyday experience of the ‘time’ of the COVID-19 pandemic. The collaborative project, A Day at a Time analyses Mass Observation diaries and uses the novel methodology of ‘feel tanks’ to capture the affective experience of pandemic time.

Professor Lyon is also interested in secondary qualitative analysis which allows researchers to reconsider previous analyses and keep their own open to different interpretations. In a series of collaborative projects which took place on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent about young people’s imagined futures, she ‘revisited’ archived materials, replicated the collection of imagined futures essays, and explored the future orientations of young people through improvisation and making.


Professor Lyon is currently Director of Research and Innovation, Division for the study of Law, Society and Social Justice (LSSJ). She has taught a wide range of sociology and methodology modules including Qualitative Research, Doing Visual Sociology, Gender, Work and Employment, Worlds of Work, and The Sociology of Time as well as the SSPSSR Summer School in Urban Ethnography.


Professor Lyon welcomes PhD students with proposals in any area of the sociology of work, time, and/or everyday life and is keen to work with students wishing to use novel qualitative methods.

She is currently supervising:

  • (with Tim Strangleman) Dan Forbes, Modernization and privatization in the Royal Mail: Identity, public service and the meaning of work     
  • (with Tim Strangleman) Jack Warner, From a ‘job for life’ to a ‘gig’ economy: Rethinking work, time and economic life       
  • (with Samantha Evans, KBS and Madeleine Wyatt, now Kings College, London) Rebecca Ashley, The Role of Accents in Influencing Employee Experiences and Inequalities in British Workplaces
  • (with Vince Miller) Silvia Rasca, Two sides of the fourth wall: YouTube as modern work and its impact on young people’s futures
  • (with Alison Body) Taylah Law, An ethnographic exploration of voluntary action in small rural primary schools in South East England
  • (with Carolyn Pedwell) Eve Stowe, Women walking-with digital technologies: mapping the affective, embodied and rhythmic dimensions of safety  
  • (with David Nettleingham) Tom Wilson, Sustainable Industrial Culture in a Deindustrialising Distric  

Previous doctoral students: 

  • (with Kate Bradley) Paul Cook, Deindustrialisation, community, and contemporary work    
  • (with Steve Roberts, now Monash University, Australia) Lena Karlin, Graduates in Transition (2019) 
  • (with Tim Strangleman) Sarah O’Connor, Exploring the Occupational Identity of the Watch Manager in the Fire Service (2016) 
  • (with Larry Ray) Barbara Adewumi, High expectations: Black professional parents’ aspirations for their children (2015) 
  • (with Tim Strangleman) Victoria Tedder, Making things our own: Material Nostalgia, Domestic Creation and Cultivation (2014) 


Professor Lyon is on the Editorial Board of two refereed journals: Qualitative Research and Time & Society  

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