Professor Jan Windebank
School of Languages and Cultures
Professor of French and European Societies
+44 114 222 4888
Full contact details
School of Languages and Cultures
1 Upper Hanover Street
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 interest in social and economic inequalities and related policies.
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 served as Head of the Department of French from 2010 to 2013 and Head of the School of Languages and Cultures from 2018 – 2021.
- Research interests
My research takes as its overarching theme 'informal work' (that is, forms of work other than formal employment such as domestic labour, caring work, voluntary work and undeclared employment and entrepreneurship). I apply sociological and social policy methodologies to the research questions that I address. 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 employment and entrepreneurship.
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. I have collaborated with fellow researchers from a range of disciplines on these projects.
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, Franco-British comparisons of gender and voluntary work, and the impact of the 2008 economic crisis on work-family reconciliation policy in France and the UK. Most recently I have written on the relationship between paid domestic services and the gender division of unpaid domestic labour.
I have published numerous articles on these subjects in journals such as Work, Employment and Society, Journal of European Social Policy, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy and the Service Industries Journal as well as two books: The Informal Economy in France, published by Avebury in 1988 and in 2000 Women and work in France and Britain: practice, theory and policy (written jointly with Prof Abigail Gregory, University of Salford) was published with Palgrave Macmillan.
My second strand of research addresses undeclared employment and entrepreneurship. My book Informal Employment in the Advanced Economies: implications for work and welfare, (written jointly with my long-term collaborator, Prof. Colin Williams, University of Sheffield) was published in 1998 by Routledge and was the first publication to recognise and theorise the heterogeneity of undeclared employment and entrepreneurship in the advanced economies. It has become a seminal work in the field.
I have also undertaken projects looking at the question of using informal work as a tool for tackling social exclusion in a European perspective. This work resulted in a number of books: Poverty and the Third Way, (with Prof Williams, Routledge, 2003) analyses the role that informal work could play in tackling poverty in Europe. Further works on related research questions include: Community self-help (with Prof Williams & Prof Daniel Burns, Palgrave, 2003); Revitalising Deprived Urban Neighbourhoods: an assisted self-help approach, (with Prof Williams, Ashgate, 2001); A Helping Hand: harnessing self-help to combat social exclusion (with Prof Williams, York Publishing Services, 1999).
More recently, this research has focused on analysing the results from two 27-country Eurobarometer surveys of undeclared work in the European Union.
Currently, I am writing a book for Palgrave Macmillan entitled Domestic and Care Work in Modern France - Gender, Family and the State; undertaking further researching on the relationship between the use of paid domestic services and gender divisions of unpaid labour in the home; and starting work on a history of policies to tackle undeclared work in France since 1945.
- Community Self-Help. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Revitalising Deprived Urban Neighbourhoods: an assisted self-help approach. Aldershot: Ashgate.
- Women's Work in Britain and France. Palgrave Macmillan UK.
- Informal Employment in Advanced Economies. Routledge.
- The Informal Economy in France.
- Revitalising Deprived Urban Neighbourhoods. Routledge.
- Poverty and the Third Way. Routledge.
- Explaining consumer motives to purchase in the informal economy. PLoS ONE, 16(10). View this article in WRRO
- Tackling self-employment in the informal sector in Europe : evaluating trust-building strategies. Fulbright Review of Economics and Policy. View this article in WRRO
- Gender divisions of domestic labour and paid domestic services. Service Industries Journal, 38(11-12), 875-895. View this article in WRRO
- Explaining participation in the informal economy: a purchaser perspective. International Journal of Social Economics, 44(11), 1421-1436. View this article in WRRO
- Evaluating the internal dualism of the informal sector: evidence from the European Union. Journal of Economic Studies, 44(4), 605-616. View this article in WRRO
- Explaining participation in undeclared work in France: lessons for policy evaluation. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 37(3-4), 203-217. View this article in WRRO
- Change in work-family reconciliation policy in France and the UK since 2008: the influence of the economic crisis and austerity. Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, 33(1), 55-72. View this article in WRRO
- Continuity and Change in Work-family Reconciliation Policy under the Coalition Government (2010-2015). Revue Française de Civilisation Britannique, 21(1). View this article in WRRO
- Explaining participation in informal employment: a social contract perspective. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 28(2/3), 178-178. View this article in WRRO
- Evaluating competing theories of informal employment: some lessons from a 28-nation European survey. International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 15(1), 45-62. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Evaluating the Prevalence and Distribution of Envelope Wages in the European Union: Lessons from a 2013 Eurobarometer Survey. Journal of Contemporary European Research, 11(2), 179-195.
- Explaining participation in the informal economy: An institutional incongruence perspective. International Sociology, 30(3), 294-313. View this article in WRRO
- Can a nudge keep you warm? Using nudges to reduce excess winter deaths: insight from the Keeping Warm in Later Life Project (KWILLT). Journal of Public Health, 36(1), 111-116. View this article in WRRO
- Work‐life balance in times of economic crisis and austerity. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 33(9/10), 528-541.
- Public policy innovations: the case of undeclared work. Management Decision, 51(6), 1161-1175.
- Between Work and Play: The Gendering of Formal Volunteering Practices in France. Nottingham French Studies, 52(1), 9-23.
- Explaining off-the-books entrepreneurship: a critical evaluation of competing perspectives. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 9(3), 447-463.
- View this article in WRRO How much for cash? Tackling the cash-in-hand culture in the European property and construction sector. Journal of Financial Management of Property and Construction, 17(2), 123-134.
- Social policy and gender divisions of domestic and care work in France. Modern and Contemporary France, 20(1), 21-35.
- Evaluating the participation of students in the informal economy: some lessons from a European survey. Journal of Economy and its Applications, 2(1), 51-65..
- 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), 576-588.
- Barriers to outsourcing household services to small business. The Service Industries Journal, 32(15), 2365-2377. View this article in WRRO
- Explaining participation in the self-service economy. Service Industries Journal, 32(11), 1811-1822.
- Evaluating the prevalence and nature of self-employment in the informal economy: evidence from a 27-nation European survey. European Spatial Research and Policy, 19(1), 129-142.
- Mapping the Social Organization of Labour in Moscow: Beyond the Formal/informal Labour Dualism. Sociological Research Online, 16(1), 43-53.
- Beyond the formal/informal labour dualism: mapping the social organization of labour in Moscow. Sociological Research On-Line, 16(1).
- Responses of French family and employment policy to the unemployment crises: impacts on the gendering of paid and unpaid work. Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 19(3), 393-407.
- Undeclared work in the European construction industry: evidence from a 2007 Eurobarometer survey. Construction Management and Economics, 29(8), 853-867.
- Book Reviews. Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 18(3), 401-437.
- Towards a Democratic Division of Labour in Europe? The Combination Model as a New Integrated Approach to Professional and Family Life - By Walter Van Dongen. Geographical Journal, 176(1), 116-116.
- Barriers to outsourcing domestic chores in dual-earner households. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 30(7/8), 387-398.
- Book Reviews and Short Notices. Modern & Contemporary France, 17(2), 221-247.
- State support for domestic services: a comparison of the outsourcing of domestic cleaning in France and Britain. Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 17(3), 437-449.
- Volunteering and the gender division of labour: A Franco-British comparison. Community, Work and Family, 11(4), 457-473.
- Outsourcing women's domestic labour: the Chèque Emploi-Service Universel in France. Journal of European Social Policy, 17(3), 257-270.
- The Chèque Emploi-Service, the Titre Emploi-Service and the Chèque Emploi-Service Universel in France: the Commodification of Domestic Work as a Route to Gender Equality?. Modern & Contemporary France, 14(2), 189-203.
- REREADING UNDECLARED WORK. Community, Work & Family, 9(2), 181-196.
- Harnessing the hidden enterprise culture of advanced economies. International Journal of Manpower, 27(6), 535-551.
- Eliminating undeclared work: beyond a deterrence approach. Journal of Economic Studies, 32(5), 435-449.
- Why do households use alternative consumption practices?. Community, Work & Family, 8(3), 301-320.
- Refiguring the nature of undeclared work. European Societies, 7(1), 81-102.
- The heterogeneity of cash‐in hand work. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 24(1/2), 124-139.
- Reconceptualizing Women's Paid Informal Work: Some Lessons from Lower-Income Urban Neighbourhoods. Gender, Work and Organization, 10(3), 281-300.
- The slow advance and uneven penetration of commodification. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 27(2), 250-264.
- The 'excluded consumer': a neglected aspect of social exclusion?. Policy & Politics, 30(4), 501-513.
- The Uneven Geographies of Informal Economic Activities: a Case Study of Two British Cities. Work, Employment and Society, 16(2), 231-250.
- Why do people engage in paid informal work? A comparison of higher- and lower-income urban neighbourhoods in Britain. Community, Work & Family, 5(1), 67-83.
- Acquiring goods and services in lower income populations: an evaluation of consumer behaviour and preferences. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 29(1), 16-24.
- Dual-Earner Couples in Britain and France: Gender Divisions of Domestic Labour and Parenting Work in different Welfare States. Work, Employment and Society, 15(2), 269-290.
- The Evolution of Active Welfare Policies as a Solution to Social Exclusion in Britain. Journal of European Area Studies, 9(1), 13-26.
- Paid Informal Work in Deprived Urban Neighborhoods: Exploitative Employment or Cooperative Self-Help?. Growth and Change, 2001, 32(4), 562-571.
- Paid Informal Work: A Barrier to Social Inclusion?. Transfer: Journal of the European Trade Union Institute, 2001, 7(1), 25-40.
- Paid informal work: a barrier to social inclusion?. Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, 7(1), 025-040.
- Evaluating the Formalization of Work Thesis: Evidence from France. SAIS Review, 21(1), 117-122.
- Reconceptualising Paid Informal Exchange: Some Lessons from English Cities. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 33(1), 121-140.
- Note: Paid Informal Work in Deprived Urban Neighborhoods: Exploitative Employment or Cooperative Self‐Help?. Growth and Change, 32(4), 548-557.
- Beyond Profit-Motivated Exchange. European Urban and Regional Studies, 8(1), 49-61.
- Beyond social inclusion through employment: harnessing mutual aid as a complementary social inclusion policy. Policy & Politics, 29(1), 15-27.
- Beyond Employment: An Examination of Modes of Service Provision in a Deprived Neighbourhood. The Service Industries Journal, 20(4), 33-46.
- Paid informal work in deprived neighborhoods. Cities, 17(4), 285-291.
- Helping People To Help Themselves: Policy Lessons From a Study of Deprived Urban Neighbourhoods in Southampton. Journal of Social Policy, 29(3), 355-373. View this article in WRRO
- Helping Each Other Out?: Community Exchange in Deprived Neighbourhoods. Community Development Journal, 2000, 35(2), 146-156.
- Modes of goods acquisition in deprived neighbourhoods. The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 10(1), 73-94.
- Helping each other out?: community exchange in deprived neighbourhoods. Community Development Journal, 35(2), 146-156.
- Beyond formal retailing and consumer services: an examination of how households acquire goods and services. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 7(3), 129-136.
- Self-help and Mutual Aid in Deprived Urban Neighbourhoods: Some Lessons from Southampton. Urban Studies, 37(1), 127-147.
- The formalisation of work thesis: a critical evaluation. Futures, 31(6), 547-558.
- Political motherhood and the everyday experience of mothering: a comparison of the child care strategies of French and British working mothers. Journal of Social Policy, 28(1), 1-25.
- Reconceptualizing paid informal work and its implications for policy: Some lessons from a case study of Southampton. Policy Studies, 20(4), 221-233. View this article in WRRO
- Unshackling the future of work from the ideology of full employment. Foresight, 1(4), 319-332.
- Book reviews. Modern & Contemporary France, 5(1), 91-119.
- What is to be done about the paid informal sector in the European union? A review of some policy options. International Planning Studies, 2(3), 315-327.
- To What Extent Can Social Policy Challenge the Dominant Ideology of Mothering? a Cross-National Comparison of Sweden, France and Britain. Journal of European Social Policy, 6(2), 147-161.
- Short Notices. Modern & Contemporary France, 4(4), 533-535.
- Economic review of the year 1995. Modern & Contemporary France, 4(3), 345-348.
- Social Polarization of Households in Contemporary Britain: A ‘Whole Economy’ Perspective. Regional Studies, 29(8), 723-728.
- Black Market Work in the European Community: Peripheral Work for Peripheral Localities?. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 19(1), 23-39.
- Challenges to French social policy in the 1990s: The cases of European integration and persistent unemployment. Modern & Contemporary France, 3(4), 379-380.
- Report on the ASMCF Annual Conference. France: From the Cold War to the New World Order. Modern & Contemporary France, 3(2), 169-180.
- Economic review of the year 1994. Modern & Contemporary France, 3(3), 297-299.
- Spatial Variations in the Informal Sector: A Review of Evidence from the European Union. Regional Studies, 28(8), 819-825.
- From Maastricht to Versailles: Political review of the year (September 1992‐August 1993). Modern & Contemporary France, 2(3), 301-310.
- Explaining women's relationship to home and family. Women's Studies International Forum, 17(5), 499-509.
- EXPLAINING WOMENS RELATIONSHIP TO HOME AND FAMILY - THE DOMESTIC LABOR DEBATES IN FRANCE. NOUVELLES QUESTIONS FEMINISTES, 15(1), 9-34.
- Social and spatial inequalities in the informal economy: some evidence from the European Community. Area, 25(4), 358-364.
- Report on the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Modern & Contemporary France: France, nation and regions. Modern & Contemporary France, 1(2), 171-184.
- Perspectivism as interdisciplinary methodology: A case study of its application to research into the informal economy in France. Journal of Area Studies, 1(3), 6-19.
- Economic review of the year 1992. Modern & Contemporary France, 1(2), 185-187.
- Comparing women's employment patterns across the European community. Women's Studies International Forum, 15(1), 65-76.
- The ‘Excluded Consumer’: A Neglected Aspect of Social Exclusion?. SSRN Electronic Journal.
- Beyond Profit-Motivated Exchange: Some Lessons from the Study of Paid Informal Work. SSRN Electronic Journal.
- Beyond Social Inclusion through Employment: Harnessing Mutual Aid as a Complementary Social Inclusion Policy. SSRN Electronic Journal.
- Helping Each Other Out? Community Exchange in Deprived Neighbourhoods. SSRN Electronic Journal.
- Unshackling the Future of Work from the Ideology of Full-Employment. SSRN Electronic Journal.
- Work–Family Reconciliation Policy in France, Making Waves (pp. 73-84). Liverpool University Press
- Work-family reconciliation policy in France: challenging or reinforcing the gender division of domestic and care work since the 1970s? In Atack M, Fell A, Holmes D & Long I (Ed.), Making Waves: French Feminisms and their Legacies 1975-2015 (pp. 73-84). Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.
- The Informal Sector in the European Union, European Citizenship and Social Exclusion (pp. 103-117). Routledge
- The participation of the self-employed in the shadow economy in the European Union In Sauka A, Schneider F & Williams C (Ed.), Entrepreneurship and the Shadow Economy Edward Elgar Publishing
- Domestic Labour: Maintaining the Material Space of the Home and Gender Identity in France In Allison M & Long I (Ed.), Women Matter / Femmes Matiere: French and Francophone Women and the Material World (pp. 107-122). Peter Lang AG, Internationaler Verlag Der Wissenschaften
- The Unemployed and the Paid Informal Sector in Europe's Cities and Regions, Unemployment and Social Exclusion: Landscapes of Labour Inequality (pp. 141-153).
- Regional variations in the nature of the shadow economy: evidence from a survey of 27 European Union member states In Schneider F (Ed.), Handbook on the Shadow Economy (pp. 177-200). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Pub.
- Gender and informal work In Marcelli E, Williams CC & Joassart P (Ed.), Informal Work in Developed Nations (pp. 82-96). Routledge
- Gender and informal work, Informal Work in Developed Nations (pp. 82-96).
- The Extent of Community Self-Help, Community Self-Help (pp. 48-69). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Community Self-Help in Visions of Future Political Organisation, Community Self-Help (pp. 131-147). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- A Route into Employment: Community Self-Help as a Springboard, Community Self-Help (pp. 70-88). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Arguments for Self-Help and Mutual Aid, Community Self-Help (pp. 6-28). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Conceptualising Community Self-Help, Community Self-Help (pp. 29-47). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Supporting and Developing Community Self-Help, Community Self-Help (pp. 117-130). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- An Alternative to the Market and State: Community Self-Help as a Challenge, Community Self-Help (pp. 101-116). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Community Self-Help Introduction, COMMUNITY SELF-HELP (pp. 1-+).
- A Complement to the Market and State: Community Self-Help as a Coping Strategy, Community Self-Help (pp. 89-100). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Gender Relations: Progress and Policy, Women's Work in Britain and France (pp. 144-172). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Women’s Community Work, Women's Work in Britain and France (pp. 79-98). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Women’s Paid Work, Women's Work in Britain and France (pp. 11-42). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Conclusions, Women's Work in Britain and France (pp. 173-183). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Theorizing Women’s Work, Women's Work in Britain and France (pp. 101-143). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Women’s Domestic Work, Women's Work in Britain and France (pp. 43-78). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Introduction, Women's Work in Britain and France (pp. 1-7). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- The participation of the self-employed in the shadow economy in the European Union (pp. 89-116). Edward Elgar Publishing
- Regional Variations in the Nature of the Shadow Economy: Evidence from a Survey of 27 European Union Member States Edward Elgar Publishing
- Alternative Employment Spaces, Alternative Economic Spaces (pp. 128-150). SAGE Publications Ltd
- The Growth of Urban Informal Economies, Handbook of Urban Studies (pp. 308-322). SAGE Publications Ltd
- The political economy of household services in Europe. Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 24(3), 434-435.
- The Law of Kinship: Anthropology, Psychoanalysis and the Family in France. French History, 28(2), 293-293.
- Irregular Migrant Domestic Workers in Europe: Who Cares?. Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 22(2), 237-238.
- The Origins of Active Social Policy: Labour Market and Childcare Policies in a Comparative Perspective. Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 22(2), 210-211.
- France in the Age of Organization: Factory, Home and Nation from the 1920s to Vichy. French Studies, 67(2), 296-297.
- Social Welfare and the Ethics of Austerity in Europe: Justice, Ideology and Equality. Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 22(2), 99-103.
- Research group
I have supervised a number of doctoral students to completion on a variety of contemporary social topics including:
• Widening-participation Students’ Experience of Higher Education
• The Work-Care Experiences of Out-of-Work Partnered Parents in France and the UK: Ideals, Practice and Policy Learning
• Business sponsorship of the arts in France
• Gender and space in contemporary France
Potential areas for future supervision include:
• Gender, the 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 in France or in a comparative European perspective
- Teaching activities
I teach French language from post-A level to advanced level and a range of undergraduate modules focusing on contemporary French society.
Currently I teach the Level 2 module ‘Understanding gender and society in France and the francophone world’’ and contribute to the Level 1 module on ‘Understanding modern France’.
I am very happy to supervise undergraduate dissertations on aspects of contemporary French society.
I also teach on Postgraduate courses on Research Methods and Ethnography, and supervise MA dissertations on a wide range of subjects.
- Professional activities and memberships
I have been a very active member of the academic community promoting teaching and research in area studies within modern language departments. I have held a wide range of external examining posts including at the Universities of Leeds, Nottingham Trent, Bath, Aston, Southampton and the University of London in Paris (ULIP).
I am currently Honorary President of the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France; have been co-editor of the Journal for Contemporary European Studies; and serve on the editorial board of the International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy.