Dr Jo Britton

Lecturer in Applied Sociology (BA, PhD)

Undergraduate Programme Leader - Level 1
Deputy Director of Learning and Teaching

Photo of Jo Britton

Email: n.j.britton@sheffield.ac.uk
Room: Elmfield, LG22 | Telephone: 0114 222 6431 (external), 26431 (internal)

Academic Profile

I first joined the Department of Sociological Studies in the mid-1990s as a postgraduate research student, having completed a Sociology degree at Liverpool University. After completing my PhD, I worked in the Sociology Department at Manchester University as a Research Officer and then a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellow, before returning to Sheffield as a lecturer.

My research interests incorporate a number of key areas of sociological enquiry:

  • Theories of race and racism
  • Theories of identity
  • Muslim minorities
  • Multiculturalism and citizenship
  • Critical whiteness and ‘mixed race’ studies
  • Inter-generational relations
  • Qualitative research methods


I have researched and written about the meaning and role of race, racism and identity in different contexts. My PhD research focused on the criminal justice system and voluntary sector and I published a book based on my doctoral thesis, entitled 'Black Justice? Race, Criminal Justice and Identity'. For my post-doctoral fellowship research, I carried out research on minority ethnic groups in the legal profession. My current research interests include a focus on inter-generational relations. I have written about motherhood, whiteness and identity in mixed race families and was co-investigator on a research project exploring young and older people’s understanding of generational positions and relationships. I have a long-standing interest in Muslim minorities and am exploring religious conversion with reference to the lived experience and identity of Muslim converts.

Funded Research Projects
Date Sponsor Details
1999-2001 Leverhulme Trust As a Leverhulme Trust Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, I carried out research on minority ethnic groups in the legal profession, focusing on barristers and solicitors working in two English cities. My study investigated equality of opportunity issues and class and ethnic identities.
1999 British Academy Small research grant
1999 Nuffield Foundation Small research grant


I teach and supervise students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. All of my teaching is linked by a focus on examining patterns of social inequality and the operation of power and privilege in different social and political contexts. Most of my teaching is research-led as I believe that the theoretical foundations of my discipline are best explained using real-life, empirical examples. My aim across all of my teaching is to encourage students to develop a critical understanding of themselves as social actors who belong to a social structure and social order. In doing so, I also aim to provide students with the necessary tools to apply a sociological imagination to both their studies and everyday life. I encourage students to engage with and evaluate a wide range of theories and evidence in order to appreciate the distinctive and far-reaching contribution of sociology.

I currently convene the following undergraduate modules:

  • SCS2005 Race, Immigration and Multiculturalism
  • SCS3021 Whiteness, Power and Privilege

I am also involved in the supervision of students taking extended essays and dissertations at undergraduate and postgraduate levels on the following modules:

  • SCS3001 Dissertation in Sociology
  • SCS3002 Dissertation in Social Policy
  • SCS3003 Extended Essay in Sociology
  • SCS3004 Extended Essay in Social Policy
  • SCS6330 Dissertation in Social Research

See our Undergraduate degree and Postgraduate taught degree pages.

Postgraduate Supervision

I welcome applications to study for MPhil or PhD research degrees with me, either full or part-time, in any areas linked to the following broad themes:

  • Race and racism (including critical whiteness and mixed race studies)
  • Muslim minorities
  • Identity

Topics of my current and recent postgraduates include transracial adoption, the Sheffield Yemeni community, British Muslim identity post 9/11, risk and resilience in the lives of British Somali youths and Community, Identity and Belonging: A study of everyday multiculture in North Manchester..

To find out more about our PhD programmes, go to:
Studying for a PhD in Sociology

Publications since 2005

(2015) ‘Muslims, Racism and Violence After the Paris Attacks’, Sociological Research Online, Vol. 20, No. 3, http://www.socresoline.org.uk/20/3/1.html.

(2015) ‘Young People as Moral Beings: Childhood, Morality and Inter-Generational Relationships', Children and Society, Vol. 29, No. 5. pp. 495-507. doi:10.1111/chso.12085.

(2013) 'Researching White Mothers of Mixed Parentage Children: The Significance of Kinship and Social Networks', Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 36, No. 8, pp. 1311-1322.

with Devine, F., Halfpenny, P., and Mellor, R. (2008) 'Conserving the past of a quiet suburb : urban politics, association networks and speaking for 'the community'', in Blokland, T.a.S., M (ed), Networked Urbanism: Social Capital and the City, Aldershot, Ashgate.

(2007) 'Categorising and policy making', in Hodgson, S.M. and Irving, Z. (eds), Policy reconsidered : meanings, politics and practices, Bristol, The Policy Press.

(2005) ‘Southern Asians’ in C. Skutsch (ed.) Encyclopedia of the World’s Minorities, New York: Routledge.

A full list of publications can be downloaded by clicking the link on the right of this page.