Professor Tim May
Department of Sociological Studies
Professorial Research Fellow
Full contact details
Department of Sociological Studies
Tim holds degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science (BSc Econ) and the Universities of Surrey (MSc) and Plymouth (PhD). These followed a career as an engineer in the agricultural sector and work in retail, during which time he undertook a two-year evening return-to-study course to qualify for a university place. He then worked at the Universities of Plymouth, Salford and Durham before joining Sheffield.
Tim’s work has involved moving across disciplines and also within different organisations. He has developed a focus on methodology and the relationship between knowledge, evidence, policy, practice and context, on projects through funding from international, national, regional and local sources: for example, ESRC, EPSRC, AHRC, Mistra Urban Futures, European Commission, Universities (Manchester, Manchester Met, South Bank and Salford), Ford Foundation, NHS, NESTA, Arup Group, British Business Chambers, Whitehall and City Councils.
Tim has authored, co-authored and edited 17 books (including new editions) that have been translated into 15 languages. He has edited 8 special editions of journals and was the editor of an international book series (‘Issues in Society’, Open University Press/McGraw-Hill) in which seventeen books were published by leading authors in their fields of expertise (1998-2010).
Tim has written over one hundred and eighty articles, book chapters, research reports, government submissions, policy briefings and articles in varying media. His more recent and forthcoming publications include: ‘Reflexivity: The Essential Guide’ (with Beth Perry, Sage Publications, 2017); a co-edited special edition ‘The Future of Sustainable Cities: Governance, Policy and Knowledge (Local Environment 2017); ‘Evidence and Insight: In Search of the Distinctiveness of the University as a Site of Knowledge Production’ (Insights, 2018); ‘Cities and the Knowledge Economy: Promise, Politics and Possibilities’’ (with Beth Perry, Routledge, 2018); ‘Thinking Sociologically’ (with the late Zygmunt Bauman, Wiley, 2019) and ‘Social Research: Issues, Methods and Process’ (with Beth Perry, 5th edition, McGraw-Hill, 2021). For further information please see ResearchGate.
- View this article in WRRO Thinking Sociologically. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons.
- View this article in WRRO Cities and the Knowledge Economy: Promise, Politics and Possibilities. Routledge.
- View this article in WRRO Reflexivity: The Essential Guide. London: SAGE Publications.
- Social Research Issues, Methods and Research. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
- Social Research and Reflexivity. SAGE.
- Situating Social Theory. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
- An Introduction To The Philosophy Of Social Research. Routledge.
- Qualitative Research in Action. SAGE.
- Social Research Issues, Methods and Process.
- Knowing the Social World.
- Working with Offenders Issues, Contexts and Outcomes. SAGE Publications Limited.
- Interpreting the Field Accounts of Ethnography. Oxford University Press on Demand.
- Probation politics, policy, and practice. Open Univ Pr.
- View this article in WRRO Evidence and Insight: In Search of the Distinctiveness of the University as a Site of Knowledge Production. Insights, Institute of Advanced Study, University of Durham, Volume 10, 2-15.
- The future of sustainable cities: governance, policy and knowledge. Local Environment, 22(sup1), 1-7. View this article in WRRO
- Knowledge for just urban sustainability. Local Environment, 22(S1), 23-35. View this article in WRRO
- Urban crisis: Bonfire of vanities to find opportunities in the ashes. Urban Studies, 54(9), 2189-2198. View this article in WRRO
- Symptomatic Social Science: Reflexivity, Recognition and Redistribution in the GBCS. The Sociological Review, 63(2), 400-414. View this article in WRRO
- City futures: exploring urban retrofit and sustainable transitions. Building Research & Information, 41(5), 504-516.
- The Urban Everyday: The History and Dynamics of Place Making. Symbolic Interaction, 36(2), 234-236.
- Universities, Reflexivity and Critique: Uneasy Parallels in Practice. Policy Futures in Education, 11(5), 505-514.
- Contours and conflicts in scale: Science, knowledge and urban development. Local Economy: The Journal of the Local Economy Policy Unit, 26(8), 715-720.
- Urban Research in the Knowledge Economy: Content, Context and Outlook. Built Environment, 37(3), 352-367.
- Urban knowledge arenas: dynamics, tensions and potentials. International Journal of Knowledge-Based Development, 2(2), 132-132.
- Contours in Reflexivity: Commitment, Criteria and Change. Methodological Innovations Online, 5(1), 24-44.
- Urban knowledge exchange: devilish dichotomies and active intermediation. International Journal of Knowledge-Based Development, 1(1/2), 6-6.
- A team from SURF look at the importance of active intermediaries in knowledge exchange for policy and practice. Regions Magazine, 272(1), 23-26.
- Excellence, relevance and the university: The missing middle in socio-economic engagement. Sociologia, Problemas e Praticas, 56, 105-128.
- Governance, Science Policy and Regions: An Introduction. Regional Studies, 41(8), 1039-1050.
- An Entrepreneurial Approach to Regional Research?. Regions Magazine, 267(1), 4-5.
- POLICY I: REGIONAL AND LOCAL SCIENCE POLICIES: TOWARDS BALANCED EXCELLENCE AND GROWTH?. Regions Magazine, 263(1), 10-11.
- ORGANISATION I: UNIVERSITIES' ‘MISSING MIDDLE’ AND SOCIOECONOMIC ENGAGEMENT: POLICY, ORGANISATION AND CAPACITY. Regions Magazine, 263(1), 14-15.
- Universities: Space, Governance and Transformation. Social Epistemology, 20(3-4), 333-345.
- Cities, Knowledge and Universities: Transformations in the Image of the Intangible. Social Epistemology, 20(3-4), 259-282.
- The Missing Middle in Methodology: Occupational Cultures and Institutional Conditions. Methodological Innovations Online, 1(1), 19-28.
- Book Review: Science, Social Theory and Knowledge. Sociology, 39(3), 535-542.
- Transformations in Academic Production. European Journal of Social Theory, 8(2), 193-209.
- The Future of Urban Sociology. Sociology, 39(2), 343-370.
- City futures Views from the centre. City, 7(2), 213-225.
- auditing as the eternal present: organisational transformation in british higher education. European Political Science, 1(3), 12-22.
- Rom Harré on Social Structure and Social Change. European Journal of Social Theory, 5(1), 107-110.
- Power, knowledge and organizational transformation: Administration as depoliticization. Social Epistemology, 15(3), 171-185.
- ‘Reflexivity in Social Life and Sociological Practice: A Rejoinder to Roger Slack’. Sociological Research Online, 5(1), 1-4.
- A Future for Critique?. European Journal of Social Theory, 3(2), 157-173.
- FROM BANANA TIME TO JUST-IN-TIME: POWER AND RESISTANCE AT WORK. Sociology, 33(4), 767-783.
- Reflexivity and Sociological Practice. Sociological Research Online, 4(3), 184-192.
- Power, Professionalism and Organisational Transformation. Sociological Research Online, 3(2), 89-102.
- The Discontented Epoch. Theory, Culture & Society, 15(1), 117-130.
- Reflexivity in the age of reconstructive social science. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 1(1), 7-24.
- When theory fails? The history of American sociological research methods. History of the Human Sciences, 10(1), 147-156.
- Cities, experiments and the logics of the knowledge economy In Evans J, Karvonen A & Raven R (Ed.), The Experimental City (pp. 32-46). Oxford: Routledge.
- Cities, Universities and Urban Knowledge Exchange: Lessons from a Regional Experiment in the UK In Mercurio R (Ed.), Organizational Networks for Innovation Milan.
- Re-thinking Sustainable Knowledge-Based Urbanism Through Active Intermediation, Production and Use of Urban Knowledge (pp. 151-167). Springer Netherlands
- Reflexivity and Data Analysis In Kaldis B (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences SAGE
- Translation, Insulation and Mediation, University Engagement With Socially Excluded Communities (pp. 199-219). Springer Netherlands
- Translation, Insulation and Mediation: The Shifting Sands of University Life In Benneworth P (Ed.), University Engagement With Socially Excluded Communities Springer Science & Business Media
- Michel Foucault In Edwards T (Ed.), Cultural Theory Classical and Contemporary Positions SAGE
- Regulation, Engagement and Academic Production In Harding A, Laske S & Burtscher C (Ed.), Bright Satanic Mills Universities, Regional Development and the Knowledge Economy Routledge
- Higher Education, Regional Policy and the Knowledge Economy: The North-West of the U.K. In Marginson S (Ed.), Prospects of Higher Education Globalization, Market Competition, Public Goods and the Future of the University (pp. 201-213). Sense Pub
- Transformative Power: A Study in a Human Service Organization In Beynon H & Nichols T (Ed.), Patterns of Work in the Post-Fordist Era Fordism and Post-Fordism (pp. 525-545). Edward Elgar Pub
- Realism and Reflexivity: A Contradiction in Terms? In Carter B & New C (Ed.), Making Realism Work Realist Social Theory and Empirical Research (pp. 171-188). Routledge
- Universities, Regional Policy and the Knowledge Economy (pp. 263-277). SAGE Publications
- Reflexive Vigilance: Engagement, Illumination and Development In Harre R & Moghaddam F (Ed.), The Self and Others Positioning Individuals and Groups in Personal, Political, and Cultural Contexts (pp. 297-310). Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group.
- Commitment and Investigation in Knowing the Social World (pp. 3-9). Informa UK Limited
- Transformations in Principles and Practice In May T (Ed.), Qualitative Research in Action (pp. 1-14). London: SAGE.
- Social Work, Professionalism and the Rationality of Organisational Change In Malin N (Ed.), Professionalism, Boundaries and the Workplace (pp. 139-158). Routledge
- Transformative Power: A Study in a Human Service Organization (pp. 618-638). SAGE Publications
- Making 21st Century Knowledge Complexes Routledge View this article in WRRO
- Co-producing Knowledge for Sustainable Cities Routledge
- Achieving ‘systemic’ urban retrofit, Retrofitting the Built Environment (pp. 5-19). John Wiley & Sons
- Reflexivity and the Practice of Qualitative Research, The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis (pp. 109-122). SAGE Publications Ltd
- Hermeneutics. In SAGE Research Methods Foundations (Vol 1).