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Durham University

Department of Sociology

Sociology Department Staff

Dr Hannah King

Assistant Professor, Director of Postgraduate Research in the Department of Sociology

Contact Dr Hannah King (email at


I joined Durham University in the autumn of 2012, contributing to the undergraduate Criminology programme. In 2013, I moved to a College-based post as the Assistant Senior Tutor at Ustinov College, Durham's only post-graduate College, but have since returned to the School of Applied Social Sciences as a Lecturer. Prior to this I worked as a Programme Director and research fellow in Social Policy at the University of York, where I also completed my PhD. This focused on the role of the voluntary sector in providing support for young people excluded from mainstream education.


Prior to entering academia, I worked within policy and practice roles, mostly with and on behalf of young people. As a professionally qualified Youth Worker, I taught on the Masters in Youth and Community Education for the University of Wales and held Officer level positions in both youth and play work within different organisations including a Local Authority Youth Service, voluntary sector organisations and a Youth Offending Team. My policy roles have included as a Senior Policy and Partnerships Officer in North Yorkshire, working at county and regional levels and providing research and policy advise to a senior MP. I bring this diverse experience to my academic roles in both research and teaching.


My research interests broadly lie in the area of young people's experiences of marginalisation and youth policy, drawing on my wider professional expertise. I am particularly interested in:

  1. Young people, crime and justice, with an emphasis on policy and community approaches – this includes the relationship between a) educational exclusion and personal traumas, including youth offending; b) young women, criminalisation and incarceration; c) comparative youth justice; and d) young people's experiences of violence and abuse.
  2. Innovative methods – this is a theme that applies throughout; in particular exploring Participatory Action Research (PAR), qualitative longitudinal, biographic, visual and arts based methods.


Here in the School of Applied Social Sciences, I currently convene a core sociology first year module, Societies in Transition and second year Children, Young People and Families module. I also contribute to both the undergraduate and postgraduate Criminology programmes. I am also part of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Programme team within Criminology. We are the first University outside of North America facilitating the programme, taking groups of third year undergraduate criminology students (Outside students) into HMP Durham and HMP Frankland to engage in a module on criminal justice with a group of prisoners (Inside students). Aimed at breaking down the barriers between those on the inside and the outside, we facilitate all students to engage in dialogue as equals, using the unique pedagogical approach of Inside-Out.

I am currently a member of the Management Group for PORSCH (Prison and Offender Research in Social Care and Health) North East; a Board Member of the European Sociological Association's RN03 Network: Biographical Perspectives on European Societies; and a member of the British Sociological Association's Youth Studies Group.


Enquiries from potential PhD students in the fields of young people, crime, justice, marginalisation, violence and abuse and policy are very welcome.


Selected Publications

Journal Article

Chapter in book

  • O’Brien, K., Meahsam, F. & King, H. (2017). University students and prisoners learning collaboratively. In ife Beyond Crime. Crane, P. Lemos Crane.
  • King, Hannah & Roberts, Brian (2015). Biographical research, longitudinal study and theorisation. In Advances in Biographical Methods: Creative Applications. O'Neill, Maggie, Roberts, Brian & Sparkes, Andrew C. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 106-123.
  • King, Hannah (2015). Young people and the predictability of precarious transitions. In In Defence of Welfare 2. Foster, Liam, Brunton, Anne, Deeming, Chris & Haux, Tina. Social Policy Association. 143-145.

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