Dr Jo Britton

Lecturer in Applied Sociology (BA, PhD)

Photo of Jo Britton

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

Academic Profile

Having completed a sociology degree at Liverpool University, I joined the Department of Sociological Studies as a postgraduate research student from 1994-1997. In 1997, I joined the Sociology Department at Manchester University as a Research Officer and later as a Research Fellow. I then returned to this department as a Lecturer in 2000. Since 2001, I have worked on a half-time basis.

From 1999 to 2001, I held a Leverhulme Trust Postdoctoral Research Fellowship which enabled me to carry out research on minority ethnic groups in the legal profession. I also obtained a small research grant from the Nuffield Foundation to help me complete the study.

In 2000, I published a book based on my doctoral thesis, entitled 'Black Justice? Race, Criminal Justice and Identity' Trentham Books Ltd and have published sole and joint authored articles in a range of academic journals and edited books.

My research interests are centred on the study of race and ethnic relations and social identity. I have researched and written about the meaning and role of race, ethnicity and identity in different contexts including the criminal justice system, voluntary sector and legal profession. My research has included examing policy-related issues involved in the recruitment and retention of black volunteers, the relationship between minority ethnic communities and the police and equality of opportunity in the legal profession.

My current research interests are focused on inter-generational relationships. I am interested in kinship and identity in mixed race families and am also developing my interest in the relevance of inter-generational relationships for community engagement, social cohesion and lifelong well-being.

I also have a long-standing interest in European Muslims and have completed a study of media representations of the involvement of Asian Muslim men in 'street grooming'.

I have reviewed articles for a number of journals including Ethnic and Racial Studies and Sociological Research Online. I have been a member of the Associate Editorial Board of Sociology and the Editorial Board of Sociological Research Online.


I have carried out research involving the parents of mixed race children, examining kinship and identity in mixed race families.

As a Leverhulme Trust Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, I carried out research on minority ethnic grous 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.

For my doctoral research, I carried out detailed research on a black voluntary organisation that aimed to address racialised discrimination in the criminal justice system. This included studying police/black relations, policy custody and racialised identity.

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 and Racism
  • SCS3021 Sociology of Whiteness

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 research:

  • Sociology of race and racism (especially European Muslims, mixed race studies and whiteness studies)
  • Racialised and ethnic identities
  • Inter-generational relationships

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

(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.