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Research in Social Policy & Criminology

The Department of Social Policy and Criminology has an active research culture and a strong commitment to innovative, high-quality, socially-relevant and policy-oriented research. Staff have a strong track-record in securing external grants to support their research.

Research excellence and specialisms

As a department we excel in:

  • Policy analysis: focusing on the substance and process of policy making, and the impacts of social institutions, policies and practices on human welfare.
  • Critical analysis: particularly linked to the (re)production of patterns of social ordering and its impact on human welfare in historical and contemporary contexts.
  • Ethics in Policy and Practice: in relation to corporate, public services, and criminal justice systems.
  • Public engagement: including research in support of policy reform campaigns and advocacy initiatives.

Our research strengths gravitate around the following broad substantive themes, listed alphabetically:

  • Harm and violence
  • Governance
  • Identities
  • Internationalisation and transnationalisation
  • Justice (criminal, social, territorial)
  • Personal relationships and families
  • Public services, especially social care, housing, employment, health, social protection, youth justice, policing and prisons
  • Social development
  • Social inequalities and social divisions of 'race'/ethnicity, social class, gender, age, sexuality and locality
  • The State

Specific fields in which staff have expertise include:

  • Asylum-seeking and refugees
  • educational and employment participation
  • housing and homelessness
  • international migration
  • occupational fatalities
  • parenting
  • police
  • policy process
  • poverty and social deprivation
  • prisons
  • young people

For details of the full range of past and current research carried out in the department, consult the individual staff profiles.

Research groups and areas

Staff in the Social Policy and Criminology Department play an active role in the following Open University research groups and areas:

Click though above links to find out more about these and how our members are involved in them.

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