Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

Making sense of the social world


I am a political sociologist at the University of Kent’s School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Research, specialising in social movements, globalization, and the sociology of higher education. I am conducting research on the white-BME attainment gap as part of the Student Success (EDI) Project with Dr Lavinia Mitton.

I received my PhD in sociology from the University of Edinburgh in 2014, having previously completed an MPhil from the University of Cambridge in 2006, and a BA from the University of York in 2005. My PhD thesis was ESRC-funded, and used quantitative and qualitative methods to study participation and non-participation in the 2010/11 student protests against fees and cuts. This research forms the basis for my forthcoming monograph for Rowman & Littlefield, Participating in Student Activism (2016).

Contact Information


School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Cornwallis North East
University of Kent
Kent CT2 7NF

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Hensby, A. (2017). Open networks and secret Facebook groups: exploring cycle effects on activists' social media use in the 2010/11 UK student protests. Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest [Online] 16:466-478. Available at:
Hensby, A. (2017). Networks of Non-Participation: Comparing 'Supportive', 'Unsupportive' and 'Undecided' Non-Participants in the UK Student Protests against Fees and Cuts. Sociology [Online] 51:957-974. Available at:
Hensby, A. (2014). Networks, counter-networks and political socialisation – paths and barriers to high-cost/risk activism in the 2010/11 student protests against fees and cuts. Contemporary Social Science: Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences [Online] 9:92-105. Available at:
Hensby, A., Sibthorpe, J. and Driver, S. (2012). Resisting the 'protest business': bureaucracy, post-bureaucracy and active membership in social movement organizations. Organization [Online] 19:809-823. Available at:
Hensby, A., Driver, S. and Sibthorpe, J. (2012). The shock of the new? Democratic narratives and political agency. Policy Studies [Online] 33:159-172. Available at:
Hensby, A. (2017). Participation and Non-Participation in Student Activism. [Online]. London: Rowman & Littlefield International. Available at:
Hensby, A. and O'Byrne, D. (2011). Theorizing Global Studies. [Online]. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. Available at:
Book section
Hensby, A. and O'Byrne, D. (2018). Global Civil Society and the Cosmopolitan Ideal [Updated]. in: Routledge International Handbook of Cosmopolitanism Studies. London: Routledge, pp. 336-350. Available at:
Hensby, A. (2016). Campaigning for a Movement: Collective identity and Student Solidarity in the 2010/11 UK Protests against Fees and Cuts. in: Student Politics and Protest: International Perspectives. London: Routledge.
Hensby, A. and O'Byrne, D. (2012). Global Civil Society and the Cosmopolitan Ideal. in: Delanty, G. ed. Routledge Handbook of Cosmopolitanism Studies. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 387-400. Available at:
Total publications in KAR: 10 [See all in KAR]
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Research Interests

My research interests focus on three interlinking areas of study:


  1. Social movements and political participation: I am interested in the sociological processes that shape how individuals – particularly young people – become political actors. In particular, my research looks at how socialisation and network positioning might provide paths and barriers to political participation and identification. I am also interested in why individuals with political interests do not participate, and how networks help maintain their non-participation.
  2. The sociology of higher education: My work for the Student Success (EDI) Project looks at how different educational backgrounds and cultural experiences on campus might affect levels of academic and social attainment at university. Research takes a Bourdieusian approach in studying students’ access to academic capital, network resources, and experiences of ethnic and cultural discrimination. Research is geared towards recommending schemes and engagements that will help close the white-BME attainment gap. For more information on the project, please see our website.
  3. Globalization, global studies and social theory: recent publications have focused on the role played by social movements in shaping the politics of global civil society. I am also interested in the theory and history of global social change, which I explore in my book with Darren O’Byrne, Theorizing Global Studies (2011; Palgrave Macmillan).
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Between 2006 and 2010 I taught sociology, education and politics at the University of Roehampton, and was a supervisor for sociology and social theory at the University of Cambridge. In 2010, I was co-convener of the academic programme for the Fulbright Commission summer school, and in 2011 I co-convened the core course in the MSc in Global and International Sociology at the University of Edinburgh.

At Kent, I have taught on the Social and Political Movements postgraduate module.

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I have peer-reviewed for a number of academic journals including Social Movement Studies, International Sociology and The Journal of Social Issues.

I am a regular contributor to the LSE Review of Books, and have also reviewed books for Social Movement Studies.


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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: 12/10/2017