Dr Vicki Harman

Personal profile

My research interests centre on social identities and social divisions, with particular attention to gender and ethnicity.


Educational Background

BA (Hons) Social Policy (University of Sussex) First Class

MPhil Criminological Research (University of Cambridge)

PhD Sociology (Royal Holloway)


Current Research

My current research focuses on Ballroom and Latin American dancing as a leisure activity. This ethnographic study examines the experiences of dancers at a number of stages - starting to dance, finding a partner, attending lessons and classes and taking part in competitions. This research explores what Ballroom and Latin American dancing means to those who practice it today and analyses how contemporary men and women negotiate the gender roles embedded in this form of dancing.

Emerging findings from this research have been presented at British Sociological Association and International Sociological Association conferences. I was also interviewed by Laurie Taylor for Radio 4’s Thinking Allowed (20/04/11). I am currently working on a journal article and book manuscript based on this ethnography.


Previous Research

My doctoral research (completed in 2007) explored the experiences and support networks of lone white mothers of mixed-parentage children. This was funded by an Economic and Social Research Council CASE studentship, in collaboration with the NSPCC. Findings from this research were published in Ethnic and Racial Studies, The British Journal of Social Work and chapters in edited books. In April 2010 I co-organised (with Professor Ravinder Barn) a conference titled ‘Mothering Across Racialised Boundaries: Inter-disciplinary Perspectives in a Changing World’. Two further papers on the experiences of interracial families are currently under peer review.



I currently co-ordinate and teach the following courses:

  • Social Problems and Social Policy (Year 1 core course)
  • Introduction to Sociology (Year 1 core course)
  • Sociology of the Family (Year 2 option course)
  • Sociology of Race and Ethnicity (Year 2 option course)

I also contribute to Critical Readings in Criminology and Sociology (Year 3 option) and supervise 3rd year dissertations.

In 2009, I was awarded a History and Social Sciences Faculty Teaching Prize.


MPhil/PhD supervision

I currently co-supervise students researching the following topics: domestic violence in Hong Kong; violence against child protection social workers; and the identity of working mothers in Taiwan.

I would be very happy to discuss potential PhD applications in the following areas: social aspects of Ballroom and Latin American dancing; gender and leisure; experiences of interracial families.


Professional Activities

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the British Sociological Association and the International Sociological Association. I have acted as a peer-reviewer for the following academic journals: Ethnic and Racial Studies, British Journal of Social Work, Sociological Research Online, Women’s Studies International Forum,  Ethnicity and Health. I have also reviewed book proposals for Palgrave and Routledge.

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