Professor John Goodwin

Professor of Sociology and Sociological Practice

School/Department: Media Communication and Sociology, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 5952



In early 2019 my Professorial title changed from Professor of Sociology to Professor of Sociology and Sociological Practice. To be clear 'sociological practice' is not a form of methodological fetishism but, instead, is something much simpler. A recognition that the sociology which is important to me is deeply rooted in the Millsean /Jephcottian ideas of sociology as 'craft and skills' (see Goodwin 2016). That being a sociologist requires certain skills and the best way to develop these skills is to enact them continually. This approach is also informed by the sociology of Norbert Elias (the best sociological understanding is offered by examining long-term historical, social processes) and the sociology of those who work with auto\biography such as Liz Stanley (histories and biographies intersect, and sociological insight into long term social processes can be gained by examining auto\biographical material in all its forms). We as sociologists belong to a 'community of practice' and the role of those who teach sociology is to teach the craft, teach the ‘doing’ and to enable membership of that community practice we call sociology.


I have a broad range of research interests including (i) Youth transitions employment training schemes (YTS) underemployment and precarity; (ii) The sociology of Pearl Jephcott Norbert Elias and C Wright Mills. The social psychology of Milgram and Zimbardo; (iii) Auto/biographical data methods and analysis (correspondence film photographs biography social media art); (iv) The 'reuse' of 'classic' British empirical studies post 1940; and (v) Non-standard' research methods and data source.


(0) Goodwin, J., O'Connor, H. and Parsons, L. (2021) Certainties and control in the lives of young men: Stories from three research projects, in Nico, M. and Caetano, A (2020) Structure and Agency in Young People's Lives. London Routledge.

Goodwin, J. Parsons, L., and O'Connor, H. (2020) COVID-19: A Global 'Civilising Offensive', Timelines, Issue 29 pp.13-15

Goodwin, J. and Parsons, L. (2020) Locating the auto/biographical: sociological exchanges through walking with Nelson Sullivan, School of Media, Commutation and Sociology: Occasional Paper. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.31346.73928

Droy, L. Goodwin, J. and O'Connor, H. (2020) Using a Multi-Strategy Approach to Manage Methodological Uncertainty about the Long-Term Effects of Government Sponsored Youth Training on Occupational Mobility, Bulletin of Sociological Methodology/Bulletin de Mathodologie.

Goodwin, J. and O'Connor, H. (2020) Imagination and the Analytical Potential of Working with Non-Interview or Unusual Data in Hughes, K., and Tarrant, A. (2020) Qualitative Secondary Analysis: London: SAGE

Goodwin, J., O'Connor H., Droy, L. and Holmes, S. (2020) Returning to YTS: the long-term impact of youth training scheme participation, Journal of Youth Studies, Volume 23, Issue 1

Droy, L. Goodwin, J. and O'Connor, H. (2019) The Impact of Youth Training Schemes (YTS) on Occupational Mobility in BCS1970: An approach considering methodological Uncertainty, School of Media, Commutation and Sociology: Occasional Paper. DOI:10.13140/RG.2.2.29787.11047



I am a very experienced supervisor having supervised well over well 230 MA/MSc dissertations and 40 Doctoral theses to completion (two of which won the Outstanding DSocSci prize). I also have a significant amount of Doctoral examining experience both at Leicester and beyond. I'd be interested in supervising doctoral and dissertation work in the of my research areas or any of the areas relating to or overlapping with my sociological practice.


SY1004: Sociology in Practice (with Steve Holmes and Laurie Parsons)
SY1008: Interpreting Key Sociological Texts (contributor)
SY1013: Ways of Researching
SY2091: Live Sociology (contributor)
SY2098: Sociology Through Literature and Film (with Laurie Parsons)
SY3042: Undergraduate Research Project
SY3100: Social Psychology
SY3094: The Autobiographical Society (with Laurie Parsons)
SY7005  Dissertation supervisor
Supervision of PhD students

Press and media

As per research areas


Visiting Scholar, University of Cambridge, Rudd Centre
Research Excellence Framework, 2021. 
Sub-panel 21: Sociology, Panel Member.
Chair of the Data, Infrastructure, Skills, and Methods Expert Advisory Group, ESRC.


Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS)
Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)


BSc (Loughborough) Sociology and Social Psychology
Ph.D. (Leicester) Sociology
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