Abigail O'Connor

Postgraduate Researcher funded by ESRC

Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology



Abi completed a BA (Hons) in Sociology from the University of Liverpool (2014-2017), gaining a first-class degree and being awarded the Lundie Memorial Prize for best overall GPA in the final year. Following receipt of a departmental scholarship, Abi completed an MA in Social Research Methods at the University of Liverpool (2017-2018). She began her ESRC funded PhD studentship in 2018.


Abi's PhD research is a place-based study of Liverpool which explores how processes of stigmatisation shape and are shaped by the urban political economy, examining various articulations of social control over time within the city. Her undergraduate research was titled 'Truth as Justice, Truth as Violence' which was a longitudinal study of the competing accounts of the Hillsborough Disaster (1989). Abi's MA research titled 'the changing face of urban regeneration' explored the consequences of shifting political ideologies and economic conditions on contemporary urban governance both locally and globally through a case study of the 'Anfield Project'. 

Thesis title

Stigma and the City: A sociological exploration of the political economy of stigmatisation through a case study of Liverpool.

PhD supervisors - Dr Kirsteen Paton and Professor David Whyte

Publications and Presentations

Paton, K. and O’Connor, A. (2019). ‘Rent Gap Revised at 40: Rent Cap, Revanchism and Living in the Gap’. Nordic Geographers Meeting. Trondheim, Norway.

O’Connor, A. (2020). ‘Liverpool close to bankruptcy: how decades of stigma have pushed the city into financial ruin’. The Conversation. 26th May 2020. Available at: https://theconversation.com/liverpool-close-to-bankruptcy-how-decades-of-stigma-have-pushed-the-city-into-financial-ruin-138742

O’Connor, A. (2019). ‘Stigma and the City: A mixed methods approach to exploring stigma, power and the state’. Law and Social Justice PGR Conference. Liverpool.

O’Connor, A. (2018). ‘Exploring the local, national and global through a place-based study of Liverpool’. BISA International Political Economy Group. Liverpool

O’Connor, A. (2018). ‘Truth as Justice, Truth as Violence: A longitudinal narrative analysis of competing accounts of the Hillsborough Disaster’. British Criminological Society Annual Conference. Birmingham.