Professor John Goodwin FAcSS FRHistS SFHEA AFCIPD

Professor of Sociology and Sociological Practice

John Goodwin profile

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.

In 2022 John was shortlisted by the THES as the outstanding research supervisor of the year


I have a broad range of research interests including (i) Youth. This includes transitions employment and precarity.  I also have a growing interest in past studies of juvenile delinquency and representations of 'troubled' youth. (ii) The sociology of Pearl Jephcott, Norbert Elias and C Wright Mills. The social psychology of Milgram and Zimbardo; (iii) Auto/biographical methods and analysis (correspondence film photographs biography social media art); and (iv) The 'reuse' of data and of the value of 'non-standard' forms of data.

You can find out more about my approach and research interests by watching the following films.




  • Goodwin, J. (ed) (2024) Sociological Practice, Edward Elgar (forthcoming - contracted).
  • Goodwin, J. (2024) Reintroducing Pearl Jephcott: A Sociological Pioneer of Gender, Youth, Community and Method, Routledge. (forthcoming - contracted).
  • Parsons, L. and Goodwin, J. (2024) Doing Sociology Through Film and Literature, Anthem Press (forthcoming - contracted).
  • Goodwin, J. and Parsons, L. (2024) How to Conduct Research Using Auto/biographical Materials, Edward Elgar (forthcoming - contracted).
  • Hughes, Goodwin, Parsons, Dunning and O’Connor (2024) Continuity and Change in Community Relations, Palgrave (forthcoming).

  • Goodwin, J. (ed) (2023) Selected Works of Pearl Jephcott: Social Issues and Social Research - 5 volumes (editor and forewords) Routledge. 
  • Ana Caetano, John Goodwin, Magda Nico & Anabela Pereira (2022) Back to basics? Portraits of the first Covid-19 lockdown in Portugal, Visual Studies, DOI: 10.1080/1472586X.2022.2134815
  • Goodwin, J. (2022) Slower Sociologies for the Sociology of the Future, Sociology, Vol.57. 2
  • Goodwin, J. O’Connor, H. and Parsons, L. (2022) From Nottinghamshire to Notting Hill: Contemporary Lessons from Pearl Jephcott’s Ethnographies of ‘Troubled Areas’, Serendipities. Journal for the Sociology and History of the Social Sciences Vol. 6 No. 1 , 39-54. 
  • Goodwin J, Parsons L. (2021) A Life in Motion: Exploring Auto/Biographical Exchanges by ‘Walking With’ Nelson Sullivan. Sociological Research Online. July 2021. doi:10.1177/13607804211025541
  • 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.


I am a very experienced supervisor having supervised well over well 230 MA/MSc dissertations and 44 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 Laurie Parsons)
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)

Press and media

John's work has featured in local, national and international print and broadcast media, including The Guardian, PublicoCNN, the BBC as well as advising on the content of documentaries. John is happy to discuss potential contributions in his research areas.


  • Visiting Scholar, University of Cambridge, Rudd Centre
  • Recommissioning the UK Data Service, ESRC. Chair of Commissioning Panel.
  • Doctoral Training Partnerships Commissioning an 2024, ESRC: Vice-chair for Panel B
  • Research Excellence Framework, 2021, Sub-panel 21: Sociology, Panel Member and IDR.
  • Data, Infrastructure, Skills, and Methods Expert Advisory Group, ESRC: Panel Member, founding Chair.
  • Early Life Cohort Advisory Group, ESRC: Chair.
  • Scoping the skills needs in the social sciences to support data-driven research, Steering Group, ESRC.
  • Panel member for the UK National Coordinator for the European Social Survey (ESS), Rounds 11 and 12 , ESRC
  • The Football Association - Disciplinary Commissions/National Serious Case Panel.


  • Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS)
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS)
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)
  • Academic Fellow, CIPD (AFCIPD)
  • Times Higher Education Awards 2022. Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year, Shortlisted.
  • University of Leicester, Discovering Excellence Awards 2019. Teaching Excellence. Finalist.
  • University of Leicester, Discovering Excellence Awards 2018. President’s Award. Nominated.
  • Emerald Publishing, Outstanding Paper Award for Excellence 2004. Winner.



  • Goodwin, J. (2023) Adventures in Restudies, Autobiographical Methods and Storytelling: Lessons for Possible Futures from the Past and Present, University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education/Rudd Research and Professional Practice Centre. 8th March 2023.
  • Goodwin, J. (2022) Disruptions, Disputes and Dilemmas: Elias and the ‘Empirical’ Sociology at Leicester 1950s-1970s, University of Warsaw, 9th December 2022.
  • Goodwin, J. (2022) A year in the life: Living portraits of the COVID-19 pandemic in Portugal. Centro de Ivestigação e Estudos de Sociolgia, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Portugal. Lisboa. Portugal. Biographical Echoes Conference 16th September 2022. 
  • Goodwin, J. (2022) Biographies and the Practice of Storytelling.  Centro de Ivestigação e Estudos de Sociolgia, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Portugal. Lisboa. Portugal. Biografias e Trajectories,  14th September 2022. 
  • Goodwin, J (2022) The Practice of Story Telling: Learning to Read, College Court, University of Leicester. 13th July 2022.
  • Goodwin, J (2022) The Sociological Practice of Story Telling, Attenborough Arts Centre, University of Leicester. 
  • Caetano, A., Goodwin, J., Nico, M. et al (2021) Back to Basics? Photographic Portraits of Domestic Confinement During the Covid-19 Pandemic, European Sociological Association Conference, 3rd September 2021. 
  • Goodwin, J. (2021) A Juventude através dos tempos. Keynote. QUESTÕES SOCIAIS: Novo Encontro Juventudes, 27th and 28th February, 2021. Fundaçāo Fransico Manuel Dos Santos, Pavilhão Carlos Lopes, Lisboa. Portugal
  • Goodwin, J. (2021) C. Wright Mills – ‘Reality Congruent Revolution’, Out of Time: Revolutionary Arguments - Past and Present, University of Leicester – Virtual International Symposium, Friday 10th September 2021. 


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