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Durham University

Department of Sociology

Sociology Department Staff

Dr Sol Gamsu, BA, MPhil, PhD

Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology

(email at sol.j.gamsu@durham.ac.uk)

Biography

I am a sociologist and a geographer of education with a strong commitment to the politics of education and envisaging alternative futures for education and society more broadly. My interests lie at the intersection of sociology, geography and history and the central theme running through my work is how structures and experiences of power and inequality in education are reproduced over time and through different local and regional geographies.

Before joining Durham sociology in January 2019, I was a postdoc at the University of Bath on the ESRC-funded project, the Geographies of Higher Education: spatial and social mobilities. With Mike Donnelly (PI), we developed an exciting programme of research on spatial inequalities of race and class in the transition to higher education and on inequalities in graduate recruitment. I was awarded my PhD in Geography from King’s College London in April 2017. It focussed on the geography of elite and middle-class schooling in England. Both my masters and undergraduate degrees were interdisciplinary, drawing on sociology, history, geography and languages (French and German) and this background plays out in my work which continues to span different disciplines.

I am keen to supervise PhD students with an interest in any aspect of educational inequality sociological, spatial or historical. I have particular expertise in secondary schooling, post-16 and higher education but I am also interested in lifelong learning and working-class education. I know the British systems of education best, though I have some knowledge of education in France, the US and Chile and am keen to work with students and colleagues internationally. Theoretically my background is Bourdieusian with a good dose of Doreen Massey, Antonio Gramsci and Stuart Hall but I try to be theoretically open and heterodox. I am also keen for my work to be politically engaged and engaging and to make my work publicly accessible.

When I’m not writing, teaching or tweeting about educational inequality you might find me walking in the hills (preferably the Pennines), reading sci fi (preferably utopian) or on a train/plane travelling somewhere to keep up with my own diaspora of friends and family.

Publications

Journal Article

Chapter in book

Book review

Newspaper/Magazine Article

Report

Indicators of Esteem

  • Editorial Board, The Sociological Review: Reviewer of papers, bursary awards for early career staff, seminar funding competitions.

Research Interests

  • Access to higher education
  • Elite education
  • GIS and social network analysis, LCA and other interesting statistical methods (especially in R)
  • History of education
  • Mixed methods research
  • Politics of higher education
  • Regional and local geographies of education and how these combine with race, class and gender
  • Secondary schooling, post-16 education and lifelong learning

Teaching Areas

  • Research Design and Process
  • Social Policy (co-convenor with Jonathan Wistow)
  • Sociology of Education (co-convenor with Vikki Boliver)

Supervises

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Education:
  • General policy:
  • Geography:
  • Social and ethical inequality:
  • Social sciences:
  • Sociology:

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