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About Publics & Practices


Publics & Practices is a research cluster within the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology and includes social scientists from across faculties at the University of Liverpool.

The cluster draws on diverse theoretical and methodological approaches, and the research of the group coheres around a shared interest in the politics underlying the constitution and mobilisation of publics in capitalist societies.

Publics & Practices meet regularly for a variety of research-related activities such as: reading and discussion groups; seminars from internal and external speakers; symposia and conferences; writing retreats; and data sessions. Events are open to all and free to attend wherever possible.

The current co-chairs of the group are Dr. Elham Amini and Dr. Kirsty Morrin.

Please get in touch if you are interested in joining the Publics & Practices cluster.


  1. To bring together critical academic scholars from across faculties whose research interests address the constitution and mobilisation of publics;
  2. To provide a space for those working theoretically and/or empirically on a variety of related topics and studies;
  3. To create a collegiate, face-to-face context for supportive discussion and - where appropriate - collaboration.


Research strands

The research of the group can be divided into three broad areas of inquiry:

'Politics, Capital, and the State'

Members of this strand are involved in a range of theorisations and studies of contemporary state form and capitalist accumulation strategies. These ongoing and previous projects span a range of geographical sites and settings in seeking to make sense of the rationales of varied and variable neo-liberal market economies. In general terms this research is critical in orientation, and draws much from the radical and critical traditions of political-economic research in the social sciences (broadly understood). A key interest concerns the ways in which the local is imagined and represented in politics and in economic practices; again the claims made with respect to particular publics and the claims made for publics - including by academics - is a major interest here.

'Health, Technologies, and Bodies'

The focus of this strand takes developments in health, science and technology as fertile analytical ground for the study of politics, social structures, gender, culture and environment. Key and emergent concerns are focused on critiques of the ‘new public health’; the political and moral economies of health, risk and harm and critical studies of embodiment and the life course.

'Methods and Materials'

A third overarching research concern of the cluster lies in critical engagement with methods and methodologies; much of this work is in the context of addressing dilemmas associated with making sense of materials - of various kinds, ranging from syringes, military artefacts, photographs, architectural sites, motorcars and machines. This strand is supplemented by a series of epistemological inquiries concerning statistical research, feminism, ethnomethodology, political-economy and the values of description.