Professor Sharon Wright
- Professor of Social Policy (Urban Studies)
I am an international expert in welfare reform and the marketisation of employment services.
My research advances knowledge of:
- lived experiences of policy implementation (user and front-line workers)
- welfare governance
- street-level bureaucracy
- agency and the active welfare subject
- Expert Adviser to the Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee
Live engagement with academic, policy and public debates about:
- poverty and inequalities
- transitions between work and welfare
- behaviour change.
- Director of Research and REF Champion for Urban Studies
- Leader of Policy Scotland Welfare Reform Network: http://policyscotland.gla.ac.uk/welfare-reform-network/
I have always been fascinated by the gaps between policy design, implementation and lived experiences.
I spent eight years on the Social Policy Association Executive Committee and edited the journal Social Policy & Society (2005-2010).
With theoretical roots in Sociology and Social Policy, and methodological expertise in applied social research, Sharon previously held the posts of:
- Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Stirling;
- Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Oxford (teaching postgraduate Comparative Social Policy and undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics); and
- Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Warwick (where she also completed the Warwick Teaching Certificate in Post-Compulsory Education, 2004).
My own PhD was an ethnographic study of ‘Confronting Unemployment in a Street-Level Bureaucracy: Jobcentre staff and client perspectives’ (University of Stirling, 2003).
Sharon's research specialism is in analysing British welfare reforms in international and comparative perspective. Her current research uses in-depth qualitative methods to:
•understand lived experiences of welfare reform in relation to concepts of ‘agency’;
•assess the ethics and effectiveness of ‘welfare conditionality’ in theory, policy and practice; and
•analyse how changes to both policy content and governance (e.g. marketisation and decentralisation) impact on front-line advisers and benefit recipients.
Sharon’s work also contributes to understandings of what poverty means to people in the context of social divisions and inequalities of income and wealth, particularly in the context of post-devolution Scotland.
£352,444 (Total Grant £2.56m) ESRC Centres and Large Grants Competition, Co-I (funded 20% FTE) for 5 year project on: ‘Sanctions, support and behaviour change: understanding the role and impact of welfare conditionality’ (ES/K002163/1). managing a full-time researcher (fully funded for 4 years from
£25,065 (Total Grant £79269)Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Co-I (funded 7% FTE) for 3 month project on ‘ Housing and work incentives’
£9960 Scottish Government, Co-I for project on ‘Impact of Welfare Reform on Housing’
£6, 973 The Baring Foundation/The City Bridge Trust, PI for 12 month project ‘Using different types of services for advice about benefits, tax credits and employment’
£870 The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, PI for four month project on ‘Welfare-to-Work Reforms: the UK and Australia in Comparative Perspective’
€13, 699.20 (Total Grant €4m) EC FP6 Network of Excellence Scientific Co-Coordinator ‘Reconciling Work and Welfare in Europe’ (028339)
€85, 244 (Total Grant €639,345)European Commission Leonardo da Vinci Community Vocational Training Action Programme, Co-I for 36 month project on: ‘Comparative and evaluative analysis of guidance and counselling services for out of work individuals and workers at risk in five European countries’ (ES/04/C/F/RF-80900)
£7, 411.50 ESRC SPA Postgraduate Advanced Research Training Residential School, University of Warwick
£6, 961.50 ESRC SPA Postgraduate Advanced Research Training Residential School, University of Warwick
PhD supervisor to:
Joanne Brown (University of Glasgow) ‘Behaviour change in action: Understanding agency and contextualised interaction in benefit recipients' encounters with street level advisers’
Evan Williams (ESRC) 'Welfare Conditionality in the UK: examining the health impacts of benefit sanctions'
David Barufatti - Getting Under the Skin: An urban ethnography exploring the links between deprivation and health within a working-class Glasgow community -
James Kaufman (ESRC) The welfare racket: conditionality and marketised activation in street-level welfare-to-work services (2018)
Daniel Sage (ESRC) ‘Working for Welfare? Modifying the Effects of Unemployment Through Active Labour Market Programmes ’ (2016)
Alasdair B. R. Stewart (ESRC CASE/Scottish Council for Single Homeless) ‘Managing a Tenancy: Young people's pathways into and sustaining independent tenancies from homelessness’ (2014)
Scott Jeffery (University of Stirling) ‘Superhuman, Transhuman, Post/Human: Mapping the Production and Reception of the Posthuman Body’ (2013)
Vikki McCall (ESRC) ‘The ‘Chalkface’ of Cultural Services: Exploring Museum Workers’ Perspectives on Policy’ (2012)
Christine Bertram (EC/ University of Stirling) 'Caught in the middle: how employment advisers mediate between user demands and managerial demands in UK services’ (2011)
- Baruffati, David
Getting Under the Skin: An urban ethnography exploring the links between deprivation and health across two socioeconomically contrasting Glasgow communities
- Kriz, Maximilian
The Future of Welfare in the Post-Work Smart City
- Richardson, Robert
Creating well-designed places in Scotland: What does it take
- Rochow, Thomas
Young people's lived experiences of welfare conditionality
- Honours option: Work, Welfare and the Politics of Reform
- Social & Public Policy dissertation supervisor
- Social & Public Policy 2B Policy, Politics and Power
- Social and Public Policy 1A
- Social and Public Policy 2A