Dr Alex Dennis
BSc (Hons), MA, PhD
Department of Sociological Studies
Lecturer in Sociology
+44 114 222 6448
Full contact details
Department of Sociological Studies
Alex grew up in Leeds and Bradford, and was educated at the University of Manchester, taking a first degree in psychology and then pursuing postgraduate work in organisational sociology, specialising in ethnomethodological studies of work. He lectured in sociology at the Universities of Huddersfield and Salford before starting at Sheffield in 2012.
Most of Alex's work is collaborative, most recently with Allison Cavanagh (University of Leeds), Wes Sharrock and Pete Martin (both University of Manchester). Between 1998 and 2006, Alex was part of the collaborative writing machine the Free Association.
- Research interests
Alex is interested in social theory, interactionist studies, organisational sociology and everyday rationality. This divides into three areas:
- Investigating the historical roots of contemporary issues in social theory, particularly in the fields of rationality and social order.
- Ethnographic studies of organisational life, orderly and disorderly settings.
- Ethnomethodology and symbolic interactionism.
- Human agents and social structures.
- Introduction: The opposition of structure and agency.
- Perspectives in Sociology. Routledge.
- emporal and moral orders of social work intervention: The accomplishment of relationship work in a case of physical abuse. Qualitative Social Work. View this article in WRRO
- Zande magic and the Dawkins delusion. Ethnographic Studies, 16, 202-224. View this article in WRRO
- The influence of ‘topic and resource’ on some aspects of social theorising. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour. View this article in WRRO
- The strange survival and apparent resurgence of sociobiology. History of the Human Sciences, 31(1), 19-35. View this article in WRRO
- Having your say: The social organisation of online news commentary. Sociological Research Online, 18(2).
- Framing the riots. Capital and Class, 36(3), 375-381.
- Symbolic interactionism and ethnomethodology. Symbolic Interaction, 34(3), 349-356.
- That We Obey Rules Blindly Does Not Mean that We Are Blindly Subservient to Rules. Theory, Culture & Society, 25(2), 33-50.
- Symbolic Interactionism and the Concept of Social Structure. Sociological Focus, 40(3), 287-305.
- Symbolic interactionism and the concept of power.. Br J Sociol, 56(2), 191-213.
- Lynch on Schutz and science: Postanalytic ethnomethodology reconsidered. Theory and Science, 5(1).
- Skepticist Philosophy as Ethnomethodology. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 33(2), 151-173.
- Sources of support for older people after discharge from hospital: 10 years on. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 33(5), 575-582.
- Secondary ethnographic analysis: Thinking about things. Qualitative Research.
- Herbert Blumer, The Interactionist Imagination (pp. 145-167). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- On the reception of Foucault, Human agents and social structures (pp. 117-130).
- Interactionism, Symbolic, International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (pp. 352-356). Elsevier
- Pragmatism and symbolic interactionism In Jarvie IC & Zamora-Bonilla J (Ed.), The Sage Handbook of The Philosophy of Social Sciences (pp. 463-474). Sage Publications Limited
- Structure and agency as the products of dynamic social processes: Marx and modern social theory In Martin PJ & Dennis A (Ed.), Human Agents and Social Structures (pp. 52-67). Manchester University Press
- Work in a Rubber Cage. Symbolic Interaction, 42(4), 726-728.
- The Great Sociological Eye, Then and Now. Symbolic Interaction, 41(3), 415-417.
Conference proceedings papers
- Teaching interests
I utilise an adapted pragmatist approach to teaching (Dewey's), and take as a starting point his idea that learning is both social and interactive.
People learn most effectively when they can imagine the relevance of a course's content to their own experiences, and can critically engage with texts on the basis of that. Teaching is about trying—occasionally successfully—to impart a body of knowledge while also making students the centre of the process.
I currently teach introductory social science research skills at masters level (The Research Process), a critical introduction to media studies at level 2, and a case-study based course on protest and dissent at level 3.
I am interested in supervising students interested in conducting interactionist investigations; studies of organisations; social-theoretical work; and studies of the history of sociology.