Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

Making sense of the social world



I am Lecturer in Cultural Sociology at the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, where I convene and teach core modules on the Cultural Studies and Sociology programmes. While I began this post in 2012, I have been a member of the School for much longer as both student and teacher. I studied at Kent for a BA in Sociology and Philosophy (2006), an MA in Sociology (2007) and a PhD in Sociology (2013), and taught as an Assistant Lecturer in Sociology and Cultural Studies from 2008 - 2012.


Contact Information


Room E137
Cornwallis East
University of Kent
Kent CT2 7NF

By appointment

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Nettleingham, D. (2018). Heritage Work: the Preservations and Performances of Thames Sailing Barges. Cultural Sociology [Online] 12:384-399. Available at:
Nettleingham, D. (2018). Community, Locality and Social(ist) Transformation. The Sociological Review [Online] 66:593-607. Available at:
Nettleingham, D. (2018). Beyond the Heartlands: Deindustrialization, Naturalization and the Meaning of an 'Industrial' Tradition. British Journal of Sociology [Online] 70:610-626. Available at:
Nettleingham, D. (2017). Canonical Generations and the British Left: The Narrative Construction of the Miners' Strike 1984–85. Sociology-the Journal of the British Sociological Association [Online] 51:850-864. Available at:
Edited book
Mushakavanhu, T. and Nettleingham, D. eds. (2009). State of the Nation: Contemporary Zimbabwean Poetry. The Conversation Paperpress.
Total publications in KAR: 5 [See all in KAR]
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Research Interests

My research is informed by interests in the politics of memory and narrative, perceptions of class, generation and community, and oral historical methods. I have written or am writing on the cultural life and collective memory of the British left, and the role that heritage practices play in shaping processes of deindustrialisation.

I am a member of the SSPSSR’s Work, Employment and Economic Life research cluster and the Centre for Heritage in the School of European Culture and Languages.


I am currently working on two research projects: an oral history of social change on the Isle of Thanet in Kent, and an historical and contemporary exploration of the cultural spaces and activities of the British and US left.


  • 2015-2017 Heritage Work and (De)industrial Displacement: This project explores the industrial legacies and imprints in the town of Faversham in Kent. Using oral historical, ethnographic and visual methods, it looks at the multiple roles that concepts and objects of industrial heritage and 'tradition' play in struggles over the social, cultural and economic identities of deindustrialised areas, and in plans for their regeneration.
  • 2008-2013 The Social Life of Utopia: My doctoral research examined the generational transmission of political ideals on the British left. Through oral historical interviews it explores the ways in which members' experiences are negotiated and understood through interpersonal, ideological and canonical group identities. It looks at how a sense of purpose and of what seems achievable are developed in the relationships activists have with the analytical narratives and internal cultures of their movements.

PhD supervision

I would be interested in receiving supervision enquires in the areas of cultural memory and heritage, autobiography, social and cultural history, generational identities, deindustrialisation, or political cultures and movements.

Current PhD students:

  • Joanna Malone: 'Insights into the Experiences, Stability and Nature of Unbelief for Older Adults in the UK'
  • Abigail MacGregor: 'A Life Sentence?: the impact of incarceration on long-term prisoner and ex-offender self-identity'
  • Rebecca Geach: 'Dissent from common-sense: To what extent have the socio-economic realities and rhetoric of a decade of austerity impacted upon how activists engage in political action?'
  • Ben Pollock: 'More than a Game: An Exploration of Three-Sided Football as a Counter-cultural Movement'
  • Luke Shoveller: ‘Industrial Heritage, Aesthetics and Legacies in the Garden of England: Forgetting, Remembering and Preserving in the Kent Coalfield’
  • Emma Pleasant: ‘Beyond the Dockyards: Changing​ Narratives of Industrial Occupational Cultures in Medway'
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SO334 Modern Culture
SO750 Popular Culture, Media and Society
SO621 Narrative, Myth and Cultural Memory
SO679 Research Dissertation
SO683 Cultural Studies Dissertation


SO886 Worlds of Work

I convene the Developing Your Teaching graduate teacher training programme and teach sessions on critical pedagogical reflection and seminar structure.

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Editorial work

  • Journal of Working-Class Studies - member of the Editorial Collective
  • The Conversation Paperpress - former Commissioning Editor (2009-2014)

Media work

My research has featured on BBC South East Today and BBC Radio Kent.

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Telephone: +44(0)1227 823072 Fax: +44(0)1227 827005 or email us

SSPSSR, Faculty of Social Sciences, Cornwallis North East, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NF

Last Updated: 25/07/2018