Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

Making sense of the social world



I am a Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research who joined the school in September 2012.

My main interests are welfare legitimacy and the values, attitudes and perception underlying and supporting different types of welfare arrangements across the world. Currently I am developing and working on several research strands: one focusing on deservingness and stereotyping of welfare claimants, one focusing on comparative views of government responsibilities in East-Asia, China and Europe, and, lastly, one aiming to improve research methods research as well as teaching, and in particular research on systematic review methodology and the ‘what works’ tradition.

I am also Joint Coordinator of the University of Kent's Q-Step Centre, a Centre were we aim to combine innovative teaching and applied social sciences to the benefit of both our own students as well as the wider population in Kent, and in particular students in Secondary Education. For any questions on our centre email


I did my PhD at the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the University of Kent and have a MSc in Comparative Politics (Research) from the London School of Economics and Political Science as well as an Mphil in Political Science from the University of Oslo.


Contact Information


Room E126
Cornwallis East
University of Kent
Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NZ

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Sundberg, T. (2014). Attitudes to the Welfare State: A Systematic Review Approach to the Example of Ethnically Diverse Welfare States. Sociological Research Online [Online] 19. Available at: .
Taylor-Gooby, P., Gumy, J. and Sundberg, T. (2014). Can 'New Welfare' Address Poverty through More and Better Jobs? Journal of Social Policy:1-22.
Sundberg, T. and Taylor-Gooby, P. (2013). A Systematic Review of Comparative Studies of Attitudes to Social Policy. Social Policy & Administration [Online] 47:416-433. Available at:
Sundberg, T. (2014). A Crisis in Welfare Legitimacy? A review of citizens' support for the welfare state in times of change.
Total publications in KAR: 4 [See all in KAR]
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Research Interests

I have a wide range of research interests including comparative welfare state attitudes, deservingness, immigration and methods. My research so far has focused on understanding what trends and dynamics are at play in people's attitudes towards welfare states. I am in particular interested in comparative perspectives as well as the theoretical underpinnings and dynamics of values, attitudes and stereotypes across different cultures. Among the questions I have researched are: What, if any, changes are there in citizen's attitudes towards the welfare state? Is there less or more support for principles such as redistribution? What differences are there between and within countries?  I also have a special interest in the relationship between immigration and welfare state legitimacy, and in particular the deservingness and negative out-group judgement.

My main current interests include:

  • The relationship between immigration and welfare legitimacy;
  • Research on stigma of welfare claimants, and deservingness in a welfare state setting;
  • Comparative welfare attitudes in Europe, East-Asia, China and North America;
  • The impact of political and welfare institutions on welfare attitudes;
  • The use of systematic review in Social Policy.
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I convene the Masters course on Critical Social Research (SO832) as well as the core modules Key Welfare Issues (SA503) at Stage 3 and Social Research Methods (SO602) at Stage 2.

I am also involved in innovating and changing quantitative methods teaching across the Social Sciences at the University of Kent. Our focus in the Q-Step Centre is to create engaging teaching material and teaching environment and to ensure that students make use of their skills on ‘real life’ data.

My teaching focuses on two main areas; research methods and comparative welfare issues. These two areas reflect two of my main interests; to carry out high quality research in a highly interconnected world, and to understand cross-national variations. It is my aim to make my teaching not only relevant and related to current social issues, but also to make it clear and comprehensive for students.

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Editorial board membership

Editorial board member, Radical Statistics
Editorial board member, Social Policy & Society (from January 2015)


Social Policy Association UK
International Political Science Association

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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: 08/09/2016