I am interested in the relationship between the organisation of organisations (e.g. how organisations are structured, who makes decisions, how things get done), and the extent to which they are effective at helping to meet people's needs. This includes an interest in the phenomenological and ontological differences between large, bureaucratic organisations and small grassroots ones. I am aiming to understand why women established self-organised education projects, and what was different about these projects compared to more formal and institutionalised ways of organising education.
I recently completed my Sociology PhD thesis looking at the work of grassroots community organisations in England during the first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic. I argued that grassroots community organisations were more effective at meeting people's basic needs than many statutory and larger voluntary sector organisations. I found that grassroots community organisations' ability to meet need was related to their engagement in a relational response process, through which identifying and responding to need were done together as part of intersubjective relationships. The process relied on organisations being adequately resourced and free to act according to their assessment of need (rather than, for example, meeting externally-imposed targets or trying to make money by selling services to those who can afford to pay). Meanwhile, need-meeting often entails an imbalance of give and take within relationships and encounters, and in some cases, involvement in grassroots community organisations was depleting for organisers, workers and volunteers. Consequently, in order for everybody’s needs and interests to be valued, I argued that it is necessary to have a web of care in which those who give care in one context are cared for in another. I suggested that grassroots community organising is a potential mechanism for creating such a web.
I am now interested in developing these ideas further, and in developing better understanding of how organisations can meet women's needs in particular. I am currently involved in a project with the University of Huddersfield, researching women's experiences of cervical screening, and am particularly interested in thinking about how relational care impacts these experiences.
More broadly, I am a radical materialist feminist and a poststructuralist. I am interested in exploring how domination works in society, and how societies might work differently to enable justice. This brings me to a broad interest in the role of care within society, and particularly how people can work together reciprocally to meet one another’s needs.
I am also interested in research methodology, and particularly in questions of ontology and its relationship to social research. Just as different human senses enable us to learn different things about the world, depending on the ontological properties of the things, different research methods can help us answer different types of question depending on the ontological properties of the phenomena under investigation.
I am currently an editor for The Radical Notion, an internationally distributed feminist magazine. I have also been an Associate Editor for Contention: A multi-disciplinary journal of social protest.