Professor Jan Windebank


Professor Jan Windebank

Professor Jan Windebank

Professor of French and European Societies

Telephone: (0114) 222 4888


I began a degree in Modern Languages (French & German) at Aston University in 1981. At the time, this was one of only a handful of universities that offered modern language courses based on social scientific rather than literary studies and whilst at Aston I developed an interested in social and economic inequality and policy. I embarked on a PhD in the School of Modern Languages at the University of Bath on the subject of the theorisation of the informal economy in France, an interest which has informed my research ever since. I obtained my doctorate in 1989 and held my first post as Lecturer in the School of Languages and European Studies at the then Wolverhampton Polytechnic. I joined the Department of French at Sheffield in 1990, first as Lecturer, then as Senior Lecturer from 1997 and was awarded a Personal Chair in 2009.

I have been a very active member of the academic community promoting teaching and research in area studies within modern language departments and am currently Honorary President of the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France - - and co-editor of the Journal for Contemporary European Studies -


My research takes as its overarching theme informal work (that is, forms of work other than formal employment). Within this broad category, I have had two principal interests: on the one hand, gender and domestic and care work and on the other, undeclared work and social exclusion. I have undertaken research on these themes in the context of France, Franco-British cross-national comparisons and more widely across Europe and the advanced economies funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Joseph Rowntree Trust, the European Union and Sheffield City Council.

The first strand of this research on gender and domestic work has included analyses of the domestic labour debates in France, Franco-British comparisons of employed mothers; childcare strategies, evaluations of the impact of French state policy on gender divisions of labour in the home, policy towards paid domestic services in France, Franco-British comparisons of the use of paid domestic services and their impact on gender divisions of domestic labour and Franco-British comparisons of gender and voluntary work. In addition to my book The Informal Economy in France, published by Avebury in 1988, in 2000 I published Women and work in France and Britain: practice, theory and policy with Palgrave Macmillan.

My second strand of research addresses the question of using informal work as a tool for tackling social exclusion in a European perspective. The book Informal Employment in the Advanced Economies: implications for work and welfare, published in 1998 by Routledge was the first publication to recognise and theorise the heterogeneity of the paid informal sector in the advanced economies. The book Poverty and the Third Way, published by Routledge in 2003, analyses the role that informal work could play in tackling poverty in Europe. More recently, this research has focused on analysing the results from two 27-country Eurobarometer surveys of undeclared work within the theoretical and conceptual framework outlined in the 1998 Routledge publication.

Current and Recent Research Projects

My current research in these two areas focuses on: the impact of the 2008 economic crisis on work-family reconciliation policy in France and the UK; the questions of tax morale and horizontal trust in explaining variations in undeclared work in particular European countries; and the impact of policy towards domestic outsourcing on the household work strategies of French and British families.




FRE6671 Gender studies I
FRE6682 Case studies in the social sciences


FRE109 & FRE110 French Language and Communication I & II
FRE245 & FRE246 L’exclusion sociale en France
FRE341 & FRE342 Gender, society and economy in France
FRE301 & FRE302 French language and Communication I & II


Melina Bangert is currently studying for a PhD in Intercultural Communications on the theme of “Widening-participation Students’ Experience of Higher Education”

Dr Abigail Taylor. “An Analysis of the Work-Care Experiences of Out-of-Work Partnered Parents in France and the UK: Ideals, Practice and Policy Learning”,, PhD awarded 2016

Dr Catherine Morel, “Business sponsorship of the arts in France”, PhD awarded 2003

Sophie Belot, “Gender and space in contemporary France”, MPhil awarded 1997.

Potential areas for supervision: gender, family and employment policy in France or in a European comparative perspective; gender divisions of labour in France or in a comparative European perspective; undeclared work and employment and social exclusion in France or in a comparative European perspective



Selected publications

Windebank, J. (2017 ) ‘The role of work-family reconciliation policy in France in challenging or reinforcing the gender division of domestic and care work since the 1970s: from the ‘mother-state contract’ to the ‘daddy quota’, in Atack, M., Fell, A., Holmes, D. and Long, I. (eds) Making waves: French feminisms and their legacies 1975-2015, Liverpool University Press, Liverpool.

Windebank, J. (2016) ‘Continuity and Change in Work-family Reconciliation Policy under the Coalition Government (2010-2015’, ) Revue française de la civilisation britannique, Open access publication available at:

Williams, C.C., Horodnic, I. and Windebank, J (2016) ‘The participation of the self-employed in the shadow economy in the European Union’ in Sauka, A., Schneider, F. and Williams, CC (eds) Entrepreneurship and the shadow economy, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham

Windebank, J. and Horodnic, I. (2016) ‘Explaining participation in informal employment: A social contract perspective’, International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 28(2/3).

Williams, C.C. & Windebank, J. (2015) ‘Evaluating competing theories of informal employment: some lessons from a 28-nation European survey’, International Journal of Business and Globalisation, Vol. 15, no.1, 45-62

Williams, CC, Hordnic, A. & Windebank, J. (2015) ‘Evaluating the prevalence and distribution of envelope wages in the European Union: lessons from a 2013 Eurobarometer survey’, Journal of Contemporary European Research, Vol. 11, no.2, 180-195.

Windebank, J. (2013) ‘Domestic labour: maintaining the material space of the home and gender identity in France’, in Allison, M. & Long, I. (eds) Women matter / femmes matière, Peter Lang, pp.107-123.

Windebank, J. (2013) ‘Between work and play: the gendering of formal volunteering practices in France’, Nottingham French Studies, 52(1), 9-23.

Windebank, J. (2012) “Reconciling work and family life for French mothers in the Sarkozy era: working more to earn more?”, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 32 (9/10)

Windebank, J. (2012) ‘Social policy and gender divisions of domestic and care work in France’, Modern and Contemporary France, 20 (1), pp.21-36.

Windebank, J. (2010) ‘Barriers to outsourcing domestic chores in dual-earner households’, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 30 (7/8) 2010, pp.387-398.

Windebank, J. (2009) ‘State support for domestic services: a comparison of the outsourcing of domestic cleaning in France and Britain, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 17 (3), pp.437-499.