Dr Sarah Armstrong
- Senior Research Fellow (Sociology)
My research concerns prisons, policy and culture, and often all three of these at once. I am interested in how penal policy and popular culture separately and jointly shape our understanding of punishment. To explore this I draw on diverse methods (ethnography, statistical analysis, semiotics, discourse analysis, evaluation) and disciplines (anthropology of policy, human geography, actor-network-theory, creative arts). I both work with and study policy makers involved in criminal justice, having advised the Scottish Government on its penal policy and attempted to make sense of policy as a distinctive cultural world.
Recent funded research has included an artist in residence project (Leverhulme Trust); an ethnography of penal policy (Economic and Social Research Council); an evaluation of open prisons and electronic monitoring in Scottish Prisons (Scottish Government); a review of Circles of Support and Accountability in Scotland (Sacro); and a study of the views of the punished (SCCJR).
I have a BA in history (with a concentration in East Asian Studies) from Carleton College (Minnesota, USA). I did my graduate work at University of California, Berkeley, where I earned a JD in law (2000) and PhD in Jurisprudence and Social Policy (2006); the latter was on decarceration of young people from reform institutions in what is now known as the Massachusetts Experiment. During my doctorate I dedicated much time to studying classic and contemporary social theory, and have a particular affinity for Georg Simmel. Prior to joining Glasgow University in 2007, I was a lecturer in Criminology at the University of Edinburgh, School of Law.
As the PGR Convenor in Criminology, I have responsibility for overseeing existing PhD students and advising on the applications of prospective ones.
My research has been funded by:
- Economic and Social Research Council
- Leverhulme Trust
- Adam Smith Research Foundation
- Scottish Government
- Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research
I am interested in supervising research students working on: social policy and organisational topics (including but not limited to criminal justice topics); all aspects of prisons and punishment; actor-network-theory and science and technology studies topics; and cultural theory and representation, particularly in criminal justice.
I teach postgraduate courses in Crime, Media and Popular Culture and Punishment and Penology, as well as coordinate MSc/MRes Criminology Dissertations.