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School of Geography

Social Justice, Cities, Citizenship – PhD projects

The Social Justice, Cities, Citizenship research cluster aims to understand the complexities of social (in)justice and citizenship at different geographical and temporal scales and contribute to efforts at achieving a radically fairer world. We have a track record for internationally relevant, engaged and impactful research which is often co-produced with academic and non-academic partners, such as public bodies, NGOs, community groups, campaigners and practitioners. 

We have considerable experience in guiding students successfully through a PhD and helping applicants develop proposals and seek funding. A list of broad themes where we can supervise can be found below and we encourage you to look at the websites of individual members of staff for our more specific research expertise. A list of our staff can be found here. You can submit your own research proposal as part of an application for research degree study but we strongly advise you to get in touch with specific members of staff before writing a detailed application. We can also provide supervision for Masters by Research projects and advise you to contact staff directly to discuss your ideas.

For details of available PhD scholarships and funding opportunities, please click here or visit the University's Postgraduate Scholarships website  

We conduct world-leading research related to several interrelated themes and welcome research proposals for PhD study in the following areas:

Social Movements and Scholar Activism

Our research is committed to researching and working alongside social movements and community groups that are involved in environmental, social and urban justice. We have an international reputation for scholar activist research and methodologies. 

Urban contestation and Alternatives

Our research seeks to understand current urban transformations and futures and in particular how different actors, from the state and private sector to community groups, negotiate their diverse interests in cities. We challenge the existing neoliberalising trends in urban policy, such as residential and retail gentrification, privatisation of housing, displacement and also promote research on alternative and socially just urban models. 

Migration, Precarity and Forced Labour

Our work in this area has a particular focus on forced labour, particularly amongst migrants and asylum seekers and more generally about the precarious lives of vulnerable groups. We are also interested in understanding and challenging the proliferation of carceral and detention approaches to manage migration and more broadly the increasing fortressing of everyday life. 

Identity, Difference and Citizenship

Our members are making significant contributions to debates regarding new formations of citizenship and changing social identities (particularly related to gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion, and national identity) in diverse international contexts. Our research in these areas intervenes in high-profile and often politicised debates regarding social cohesion, integration, exclusion, national values and how people live with difference in an era of rapid change.  We also have a long-standing track record of research on issues related to children, youth and intergenerational relationships and justice. 

Consumption, Public Space and the Arts

We are interested in the significance of past and current consumer cultures and the changing daily experiences of urban life and lifestyles on- and offline. We have particular expertise in the role of public space in cities, cultural policy, (digital) public art practices, sustainable consumption, food, the nightlife and hospitality sectors, and urban memorial landscapes.