Professor John Goodwin

Professor of Sociology and Sociological Practice

Deputy Head - College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities

Programme Director BA Sociology                                                              Professor John Goodwin

Room 1.12, 107 Princess Road East.

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 5922


Research Gate:


Web of Science: B-1771-2012

Personal details

    • BSc (Loughborough) Sociology and Social Psychology
    • Ph.D. (Leicester) Sociology
    • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)
    • Academic Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (AFCIPD)
    • Member of i) The Working Class Studies Association; ii) The International Visual Sociology Association; iii) International Sociological Association (Research Committee on History of Sociology (RC08) & Research Committee on Youth (RC34); iv) American Sociological Association (sections on History of Sociology and Social Psychology); v) Archives & Records Association (UK & Ireland)

My Sociological Practice

In early 2019 my Professorial title changed from Professor of Sociology to Professor of Sociology and Sociological Practice. This is something I had thought about for some time based on a desire to do more of the ‘doing’ of sociology rather than talking about how others ‘do' sociology. 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 joined the University of Leicester in 1991, having previously taught briefly at Loughborough University and in the Sociology Department at Leicester as a tutorial assistant. For more than twenty years, including nearly five years as Head, I worked in the Centre for Labour Market Studies (CLMS) before returning to the Sociology Department (now School of Media, Communication and Sociology) in August 2014.

External activities

  • ESRC Strategic Advisory Network 2018-  (previously Capability Committee since 2015)
  • Editorial Board Member Human Figurations, Industrial Relations Journal, Education and Training, and the European Journal of Training and Development. Previously I was an Associate Editor of the Journal of Youth Studies the UK Regional Editor of the Irish Journal of Sociology. I have also served on the boards of Work, Employment and Society and Sociological Research Online and have edited special editions of the Women's History Review, Historical Social Research /Historischee Sozialforschung, the Journal of Education, Work and Education and Training.
  • Reviewer for: National Institute of Health Research; Finnish Academy of Social Sciences; The British Academy; Routledge; SAGE; Ashgate; Open University Press; Policy Press.
  • External Examiner (UG): Abertay University. University of Kent (Medway). Durham University (from Sept 2019)


Office hours: I operate an 'open office' system. Please email me directly for an appointment.

Undergraduate, Postgraduate & PGR

  • SY1004: Sociology in Practice (Co-Convener -  with Steve Holmes and Laurie Parsons)
  • SY1008: Interpreting Key Sociological Texts (Module Convener - Team Taught Module)
  • SY2091: Live Sociology (with Michael Dunning and Steve Holmes)
  • SY2098: Sociology Through Literature and Film (Module Convener - with Laurie Parsons)
  • SY3100: Social Psychology (Module Convener)
  • SY3094: The Autobiographical Society (Module Convener )
  • SY3093: Space, Place and Contemporary Culture (Module Convener)
  • SYTBC: Cosmic Sociology: Sociological Interpretations of Space Exploration (new Module Convener)
  • SY7005 and LM7504: Dissertation supervisor
  • Supervision of PhD students

Recent Publications


Goodwin, J. (2019) Visual Sociology Source Book. Leicester: Parva Press

Hughes, K., Coulton, J., Goodwin, J., and Hughes, J. (eds) (2018) Contemporary Approaches to Ethnographic Research - SAGE Library of Research Methods (Four Volumes). London: SAGE

Furlong, A., Goodwin, J., O’Connor, H., Hadfield, S., Hall, S., Lowden, H., and Plugor, R. (2018) Young People in the Labour market: Past, Present, Future. London: Routledge.

Edwards, R., Goodwin, J., O'Connor, H. and Phoenix, A. (2017) Working with Paradata, Marginalia and Fieldnotes: The Centrality of By-Products of Social Research. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Goodwin, J. and O'Connor, H. (2015) Norbert Elias’s Lost Research: Revisiting the Young Worker Project. London: Routledge

Hughes, J. and Goodwin, J. (2014) Human Documents and Archival Research. Sage Benchmarks in Research Methods (Four Volumes). London: Sage.

Goodwin, J. (2012) Secondary Analysis. (Four Volumes). London: Sage (Hardcover ISBN: 9781446246900)

Goodwin, J. (2012) Biographical Methods. (Four Volumes). London: Sage (Hardcover ISBN: 9781446246917)

Journal Articles, Book Chapters and Other Papers

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 Méthodologie (forthcoming)

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

Goodwin, J. and O’Connor, H. (2019) Imagination and the Analytical Potential of Working with Non-Interview or Unusual Data in Hughes, K., and Tarrant, A. (2019) Advances in Qualitative Secondary Analysis: London: SAGE (forthcoming)

Droy, L., Goodwin, J. and O’Connor, H. (2019) Inequity in the school-to-work transitions of YTS participants. School of Media, Commutation and Sociology: Occasional Paper. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.11060.71046

Droy, L., Goodwin, J. and O’Connor, H. (2019) Liminality, Marginalisation and Low-Skilled Work: Mapping long-term labour market difficulty following participation in the 1980s UK government-sponsored youth training schemes (YTS). School of Media, Commutation and Sociology: Occasional Paper. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.28494.92486

Goodwin, J. and O'Connor, H. (2018) Pearl Jephcott: Reflections, Resurgence and Replications. Women's History Review. DOI: 10.1080/09612025.2018.1472888

Goodwin, J. (2018) Searching for Pearls: 'Doing' Biographical Research on Pearl Jephcott. Contemporary Social Science, 1-14.

Goodwin, J. (2018) Quantity and Quality: Alan Bryman – Teacher, Mentor and Friend. International Journal of Social Science Methodology. Published online: 12 Feb 2018.

Hughes, K., Coulton, J., Goodwin, J., and Hughes, J. (2018)  Contemporary Approaches to Ethnographic. In Hughes, K., Coulton, J., Goodwin, J. and Hughes, J. (eds) (2018) Contemporary Approaches to Ethnographic Research - SAGE Library of Research Methods (Four Volumes). Delhi: SAGE pp xxiii - xlvii.

O’Connor, H. and Goodwin, J. (2017) Fieldnotes, Marginalia and Paradata in Youth Employment Restudies 1960-1985, in Edwards, R., Goodwin, J., O'Connor, H. and Phoenix, A. (2016) Working with Paradata, Marginalia and Fieldnotes: The Centrality of By-Products of Social Research. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Goodwin, J., Hughes, J., and O'Connor, H. (2016) 'Return to Winston Parva: Starting to Reconstruct The Established and the Outsiders ‘From the Margins’. Historical Social Research, 41:3 18-30.

Hughes, J. and Goodwin, J. (2016) 'Established–Outsider Relations and Figurational Analysis'. Historical Social Research, 41:3 7-17.

Hughes, K., Goodwin, J., and Hughes, J., (2016) Documenti e reperti umani come figurazioni. CAMBIO:Rivista sulle trasformazioni socialiJournal on Social Transformations, Anno VI, Numero 11/Giugno, 2016: 123-138 ( in Italian)

Goodwin, J. (2016) Sociology's Fate: Intersections of History and (My)Biography, Sociology, Vol. 50(5) 975–983.

Goodwin, J. and O’Connor, H. (2015) A Restudy of Young Workers from the 1960s: Researching Intersections of Work and Lifecourse in One Locality over 50 years, Chapter 3 in Worth, N., and Hardhill, I. (eds) (2015) Researching the life course: Critical reflections from the social sciences. London: Policy Press (June 2015)

Goodwin, J. and O’Connor, H. (2015) Pearl Jephcott: The Legacy of a Forgotten Sociological Research Pioneer, Sociology, 49(1) 139-155.

Goodwin, J. and O’Connor, H. (2015) A Critical Reassessment Of The ‘Complexity’ Orthodoxy: Lessons From Existing Data And Youth ‘Legacy’ Studies, Chapter two in Kelly, P., and Kamp, A. (2014) Critical Youth Studies for the 21st Century. Leiden: Brill, Chapter 2, pp 38-52.

Goodwin, J., O’Connor, H. and Plugor, R. (2014) Ifjúság és Elias: A Fiatal Munkás projekt. Erdélyi Társadalom, Évfolyam, 2. Szám, 12(2): 83–96.

Goodwin, J., Miklós, H., Hughes, J., Plugor, R. (2014) 'Bevezetés: Norbert Elias és a folyamatszociológia' (Introduction: Norbert Elias and Process Sociology). Erdélyi Társadalom, 12(2): 9–18.

Hughes, J., and Goodwin, J. (2014) Human Documents as Figurations: Towards a Relational Approach to Documentary Research, Volume 1, Sage Library of Research Methods. London: Sage Publications, pp. xxv-xlvii.

Goodwin, J. and O'Connor, H. (2014) Notions of Fantasy and Reality in the Adjustment to Retirement, Ageing and Society, 34(4): 569-589. (published online 2012)

Goodwin, J., O'Connor. H., and Quinn M. (2014) Training and Labour Needs of Young Workers in Vietnamese Organisations, Education and Training, 56(1): 35-46.

Goodwin, J. (2013) On Elias’s Theory of Communities. An Introduction to Verso una teoria della Comunità. CAMBIO: Rivista sulle trasformazioni sociali - Journal on Social Transformations (in English and Italian) Anno III, Numero 6/Dicembre 2013: pp. 161-163.

Hughes, J. and Goodwin, J. (2013) Becoming Elias: Themes From Four Interviews With Norbert Elias, Human Figurations, Volume 2, Issue 2, July 2013:

Goodwin, J. and O’Connor, H. (2013) Embodying Leisure: The Use of Images in Jephcott's Time of One's Own, LERN Occasional Papers No. 2

O’Connor H. and Goodwin J. (2013) Beyond 'Average' Family Life: a secondary analysis of atypicality in 1960s families, Families, Relationships and Societies DOI: 10.1332/204674313X667777

Goodwin, J. and O'Connor, H. (2013) Ordinary Lives: 'Typical Stories' of Girls' Transitions in the 1960s and the 1980s, Sociological Research Online, Sociological Research Online, 18 (1) 4:

O’Connor H. and Goodwin J. (2013) The Ethical Dilemmas of Restudies in Researching Youth, YOUNG: Nordic Journal of Youth Research, 21(3) 289–307.

Goodwin, J. and O’Connor H. (2012) 'The Impacts of Demographic Change: Young Workers, Older Workers and the Consequences for Education, Skills and Employment', Education and Training, Vol. 54, No. 7.

O'Connor, H., and Goodwin, J. (2012) 'Revisiting Norbert Elias's Sociology of Community: Learning from the Leicester Restudies', The Sociological Review, Vol. 60. No. 3, pp 476-497.

Goodwin, J., O'Connor, H., and Plugor, R. (2012) 'Doctoral Students' Experiences at the University of Leicester, Journal for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Vol 3,

Goodwin, J. and Hughes, J. (2011) 'Ilya Neustadt, Norbert Elias, and the Development of Sociology in Britain: Formal and Informal Sources of Historical Data'. British Journal of Sociology, Volume 26, No. 4. pp. 677-695.


I have a broad range of research interests including:

  • Youth transitions, employment, training schemes (YTS), underemployment and precarity
  • The sociology of Pearl Jephcott, Norbert Elias, and C Wright Mills. The social psychology of Milgram and Zimbardo
  • Auto/biographical data, methods and analysis (correspondence, film, photographs, biography, social media, art)
  • The 'reuse' of 'classic' British empirical studies post 1940
  • 'Non-standard' research methods and data sources

I'm a member of the Figurational Research Network. In 2014, I co-organised, together with Professor Jason Hughes, a major conference on the work of Elias held at the University of Leicester called 'From the Past to the Present and towards Possible Futures: The Collected Works of Norbert Elias'. The conference attracted more than 150 participants from 23 countries. In 2016 I was the lead organizer for the ISA RC33 9th International Conference on Social Science Methodology, held in Leicester.

Research Themes and Projects

Youth Opportunities? The Long-Term Impacts of Participation in Youth Training Schemes during the 1980s

The research team of Henrietta O’Connor, John Goodwin, the late Andy Furlong, Steve Homes, Laurence Droy and Laurie Parsons are revisiting the employment schemes that were on offer to young people entering the work in the 1980s. This research aims to provide a better understanding of youth training schemes and to explore their long-term impact over thirty-five years (1980-2015). The objective of the research is to undertake primary qualitative research and secondary analysis of contemporary and historical data to answer the research question: ‘What was the long-term impact of participating in youth training schemes during the 1980s?’ In answering this question, the research aims to: (i) Re-examine the nature and extent of youth training schemes during the 1980s; (ii) Explore how participants in youth training schemes now reflect on their experiences and the bearing that such schemes may/may not have had on their subsequent careers;  (iii) Develop an understanding of the potential consequences of positive and negative experiences of youth training; (iv) Document the transferable and job-specific skills youth training participants consider they developed via the schemes; (v) Situate the qualitative experiences of one group of youth training participants within broader youth training trends in the 1980s through an analysis of youth training data from the longitudinal British Cohort Study.

Return to Winston Parva Winston Parva

Building upon the success of the Adjustment of Young Workers re-study John, Henrietta O’Connor, Micheal Dunning, and Jason Hughes are undertaking a re-study of Elias and Scotson’s classic sociological text The Established and The Outsiders (1965). In this book Elias and Scotson develop the theory of established and outsider relations, illuminating how groups living within the same community had differential access to ‘power’ and different group identification as a consequence of the development of that community.

The principal objectives of the restudy are, firstly, to determine whether the established/outsider relationships described by Elias and Scotson still exist within the three districts of Winston Parva. Second, to consider whether variations in the social conditions of these different districts continue to impact upon young people’s transitions from education to work, and, moreover, we will explore the character of such influence. Finally, to develop an understanding of processes of transition through examining the interrelationships and interdependencies that comprise such ‘environments’, ‘experiences’, ‘processes’, and a consideration of how these interdependencies have emerged and changed over time.

Documenting Downtown: The Sociological Relevance of Nelson Sullivan

In this research John and Laurie Parsons are combining a number of inter are related materials – YouTube films, autobiographical methods, diaries, letters and walking. We use these ‘as lens’ through which to explore the sociological value of films of New York vlogger Nelson Sullivan (1948 – 1989).

The Sociological Relevance of Nelson Sullivan


Pearl Jephcott – Searching for Pearls

A programme of research reexamining the research work and publications of the sociologist Pearl Jephcott. Pearl Jephcott (1900-1980), in a research career spanning some forty years, made an outstanding contribution to British social science research. Her key works, including Girls Growing Up (1942), Rising Twenty (1948), Some Young People (1954), Married Women Working (1962), A Troubled Area: Notes on Notting Hill (1964), Time of One’s Own (1967) and Homes in High Flats (1971), alongside other reports and articles, paved the way for many of the subsequent developments

University of Glasgow Archive

that were to come in the sociology of gender, women’s’ studies, urban sociology, leisure studies and the sociology of youth. Moreover her work is fascinating as it is very detailed, extensive, methodologically sophisticated and is replete with originality, innovation and sociological imagination. Yet despite this Jephcott’s work has become neglected and relegated to second hand booksellers and ‘studies from the past’. Her legacy deserves more attention and should be more widely celebrated. John and Henrietta O’Connor have worked with Colleagues at the University of Glasgow Archive on a retrospective of Pearl Jephcott’s life and work with research initially focusing on a reanalysis of the visual images used in Jephcott's Glasgow studies. The photo set for Time of One's Own can be found at: book - Goodwin, J. Searching for Pearls: The Sociology of Pearl Jephcott. Parva Press. See


Continuity and Change in Forty Years of School to Work Transitions

John, Henrietta O’Connor and are undertaking a re-analysis of two classic transitions studies - Youth Labour Markets Young People’s Survey (1986 - Professor Ken Roberts) and Young Adults in the Labour Market (1983 - Professor David Ashton) with the overall aim of re-examining the transitional experience of young people during the 1980s. Along with the late Andy Furlong, University of Glasgow, we were funded by Economic and Social Research Council's Secondary Analysis Initiative Phase 1 (2012) for the project The Making of the 'Precariat': Unemployment, Insecurity and Work-Poor Young Adults in Harsh Economic Conditions and combines data from the Ashton and Roberts projects with data from Understanding Society.

Research Funding

Cancer Research UK
Adolescent Vaping Careers. C60744/A23882. FEC Value of £278,321.17. (Jason Hughes (Principal Investigator) Michelle O’Reilly (Co-Investigator ) Khalid Karim (Collaborator) Kahryn Hughes (Collaborator) and John Goodwin (Collaborator)).

British Academy
Youth Opportunities? The Long-Term Impacts of Participation in Youth Training Schemes during the 1980s: A Preliminary Study, £9,190, 2016-2018 (Henrietta O'Connor (PI) Professor John Goodwin and Professor Andy Furlong (University of Glasgow)).

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Making the 'Precariat': Unemployment, Insecurity and Work-Poor Young Adults in Harsh Economic Conditions, £178,035, 2013-2015 (with Henrietta O'Connor and Professor Andy Furlong (University of Glasgow)).

British Academy
Scoping Data Analysis on Youth Transitions and Class in Britain Post 1945, £5,752, 2008-2009 (with Henrietta O'Connor).

From Young Workers to Older Workers: Reflections on Work in the Life Process, £29, 671, 2001-2005, Rated Outstanding (with Henrietta O'Connor).

Other awards, from a variety of non-funding council sources, totalling £90,000.


I am a very experienced supervisor having supervised well over well 230 MA/MSc dissertations and 30 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 above areas or any of the areas relating to, or overlapping with my sociological practice. Current students include:

  • Abeer Bajandough
    The Role of Social Media in the Empowerment of Saudi Women in the Workforce, Ph
  • Charlotte Barrat
    How do families experience museums: a study of one super-diverse community and its local museum, PhD
  • Sam Belkin
    Your Co-Worker Undressed, PhD
  • Susan Foreseille
    How Post-Secondary Educated Students Transition from Program of Study to Meaningful Career, PhD
  • Steven Holmes
    Die Like a Man! The role of masculinity within suicidal ideation in middle-aged men, PhD
  • Hatice Kayman
    Ethnic Identity formation of Turkish young in Leicester and London, PhD
  • Matt McIntosh
  • Monica Mapp
    Sociological Investigation Into the Usage of Religious Symbolism in Fashion, PhD
  • Laurie Parsons
    Elias and Gender Identities: The Sociogenesis and Psychogenesis of Family Relations in Work of Fiction 12th - 21st Century
  • Zahide Yildiz
    Turkish Postgraduate Students’ Attitudes Toward Marriage: A Case of The United Kingdom, PhD
  • Jan Davis
    The Sociogenesis of a Village, PhD.
  • Will Davis
    Are Native Americans Still The ‘Invisible People’?: An Investigation Into How This Came To Be And What Can Be Done, PhD
  • Sagar Sonawane
    Highly Skilled Indian Migrants: A comparison of the social and cultural challenges of Indians in the United Kingdom versus India, PhD

Post Viva

  • Nadine Ingrid Vidia Newman
    Employee Perception of Engagement: A Case Study of a Higher Education Institution in Jamaica, DSocSci (School of Business)
  • Nerina Boursinou
    Digital freedom vs Physical Immobility: Appropriation of ICTs by the (Forced) Migrants in Greece, PhD
  • Josette Barbara Cardona
    The Building Blocks of Human Capital: The Career Development Process of Maltese Youths,  PhD

Recently Completed

  • Helen Lentall
    The Role of University Leadership and Management in the Development and Sustainability of Distance Learning in UK Dual Mode Universities: A View From Below, PhD.
  • Rania Alghamidi
    Factors that Motivate and Demotivate Employees to Participate in Knowledge Transfer Programs, DSocSci (School of Business)

Find out more about applying for a PhD

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School of Media, Communication and Sociology

Campus based courses
T: +44(0)116 252 3863

Distance Learning Courses
T: 0116 252 3755

Research degrees (campus-based and distance learning courses)
T: +44(0)116 252 2785

University of Leicester
Bankfield House
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United Kingdom

University of Leicester
107-111 Princess Road East
United Kingdom

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