Professor Alan Walker CBE
Professor of Social Policy and Social Gerontology
(Previously Director of the New Dynamics of Ageing Programme)
(BA, DLitt, Hon. D.Soc.Sc. (HKBU), FBA, FRSA, FAcSS)
Telephone: 0114 222 6466 (external), 26466 (internal)
Room: Elmfield, G41
Alan Walker joined the Department in 1977 and was a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Reader in Social Policy. He was appointed Professor of Social Policy in 1985 and was Head of Department from 1988 to 1996. He directed the £22 million New Dynamics of Ageing Research Programme funded by five UK Research Councils (2005-15), the £6.5 million Mobilising the Potential of Active Ageing in Europe (2013-17) and the £3.5 million ESRC Growing Older Programme (1999-2004). Previously he directed the UK National Collaboration on Ageing Research, the European Research Area in Ageing and the FUTURAGE Project. He supervises a large number of postgraduate students and was previously Research Director for the Social Sciences Division.
Alan's research interests span a wide range in social analysis, social policy and social planning. He is a specialist in social gerontology and, with two colleagues in the Netherlands, is responsible for developing the concept of social quality and he Chairs the European Foundation on Social Quality, which is based in Amsterdam. Currently he directs the New Dynamics of Ageing Research Programme funded by five Research Councils. He has published more than 30 books, over 200 reports and more than 300 papers in scholarly journals and edited volumes. His work has been published in more than 20 languages. He is a founding Academician of the Academy for Learned Societies in the Social Sciences, and, in 2007, was given lifetime achievement awards by both the British Society of Gerontology and the Social Policy Association. He has been active in the UK voluntary sector for many years and co-founded the Disability Alliance in 1974. He is currently Patron of the National Pensioner's Convention.
QUALITY OF LATER LIFE
Director of the ESRC Growing Older Research Programme on Extending Quality Life (1999-2004).
The twin objectives of the programme were to establish a broad-based multidisciplinary and co-ordinated research programme designed to generate new knowledge on the extension of quality life; and to contribute to the development of policies and practices in the field and, thereby, help to extend quality life. The research topics covered by the programme were defining and measuring quality of life; inequalities in quality of life, the role of technology and the built environment, healthy and productive ageing, family and support networks and participation and activity in later life.
DEVELOPING MULTI-DISCIPLINARY RESEARCH ON AGEING
Director of the New Dynamics of Ageing Research Programme (2005-2015)
This multi-disciplinary research programme is sponsored by the ESRC, EPSRC, BBSRC, MRC and AHRC. For further information see http://www.shef.ac.uk/newdynamics
DEVELOPING EUROPEAN COLLABORATION IN AGEING RESEARCH
Director of the European Forum on Population Ageing Research (2002-2004)
Director of FUTURAGE: The European Road Map for Ageing Research (2009-2011).
Director of the European Research Area in Ageing (2004 - 2012)
Director of the UK National Collaboration on Ageing Research (2000-2004)
The objectives of the NCAR were to stimulate new multi-disciplinary research groups in the field of ageing; to develop a new cross-Research Council approach to research on ageing with an explicit interdisciplinary theme; to encourage stronger links between research and policy and practice in the ageing field; and to develop the European dimension of ageing research in the UK.
COMPARATIVE RESEARCH ON SOCIAL POLICY IN EUROPE
This mainly focusses on the welfare regimes of the Member States of the European Union and the social policy competencies of the European Commission. Convenor of the European Social Policy Research Network formed under the European Sociological Association and co-founder of ESPAnet.
DEVELOPMENT AND TESTING THE CONCEPT OF 'SOCIAL QUALITY'
This is designed to provide an independent rationale for social policy in Europe. The concept comprises social inclusion/exclusion, social cohesion/anomie, socio-economic security/insecurity, and social empowerment/subordination. A European Foundation exists to co-ordinate this work, with members in all EU countries and with links to the European Commission. Chair of this European Foundation on Social Quality which is based in Amsterdam. For further information see http://www.socialquality.org
This research covers a broad field and includes theoretical work on the social construction of old age and the relationship between ageing and welfare/social policy; empirical research on the social relationships of old age, attitudes towards ageing and socio-economic security in old age; policy evaluations in the areas of pensions and long term care and comparative research on the impact of societal ageing in both Europe and East Asia and the politics of old age.
AGE AND EMPLOYMENT
This research covers the impact of ageing workforces, age discrimination in the labour market, labour market policies on older workers, employers' responses to workforce ageing and good practice in the employment of older workers. I was responsible for the first European research of actions to overcome age barriers in employment, covering seven EU countries and have co-led the development of a European Code of Good Practice on age and employment.
CHINESE AND EAST ASIAN WELFARE
This is a long-standing interest in the welfare systems of East Asia and China - including many PhD students from Hong Kong, China, Japan and Taiwan - and the Confucian, family oriented, ideology. This research includes comparative work on models of welfare east and west.
OLDER PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES / INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES AND THEIR CARERS
Having conducted (with Carol Walker) the first major study in the UK on older people with learning difficulties, this represents on ongoing research programme covering the distribution of health and social services, user involvement, human rights, the principle of normalisation and the problems encountered by older carers.
SOCIAL EXCLUSION / INCLUSION
Again this is a long-standing interest in poverty and inequality, which has recently been amalgamated into the research on social quality (see above). Research concentrates on the dimensions of social exclusion, measuring exclusion and its impact, the meaning of poverty and the lives of those experiencing it. This research includes European and local community dimensions.
This research is largely subsumed under that on social quality and social gerontology but also includes a general interest in ideas of empowerment and the mechanisms by which citizens can be involved actively in decision making and research.
As well as general interests in social policy and ageing there are specific interests in relations between the generations both at a macro level (the social contract) and, at a micro level, within families.
At the present time, Alan Walker's teaching concentrates on postgraduate research students. He is one of the UK's most experienced postgraduate research supervisors in the fields of sociology, social policy and social gerontology, with more than 50 successful PhD completion's (a 100% completion record). He would welcome applications from potential postgraduates interested in any of the topics contained in his research section.
Doctoral Students Supervised:
Current PhD topics include:
To find out more about our PhD programmes, go to:
Walker, AC (2019) (ed) The Future of Ageing in Europe: Making an Asset of Longevity, Palgrave Macmillan, 343 pp.
Walker, AC (2018) (ed) The New Dynamics of Ageing: Volume 2, Policy Press, 256 pp.
Walker, AC (2018) (ed) The New Dynamics of Ageing: Volume 1, Policy Press, 384 pp.
Zhu H & Walker AC (2018) Pension system reform in China: Who gets what pensions?. Social Policy & Administration.
Foster L, Woodthorpe K & Walker A (2017) From cradle to grave?: policy responses to death in the UK. Mortality.
Zhu H & Walker AC (2017) The gap in social care provision for older people in China. Asian Social Work and Policy Review.
Walker AC (2017) Why the UK Needs a Social Policy on Ageing. Journal of Social Policy, Volume 47(2), 253-273.
Holman DJ & Walker A (2017) Social Quality and Health: Examining Individual and Neighbourhood Contextual Effects Using a Multilevel Modelling Approach. Social Indicators Research.
Zhou J & Walker AC (2016) The need for community care among older people in China. Ageing and Society, 36(6), 1312-1332.
Walker, A., & Zaidi, A. (2016). New Evidence on Active Ageing in Europe. Intereconomics, 51(3), 139-144. doi:10.1007/s10272-016-0592-0
Dabinett, G., Borland, M., Squires, S., & Walker, A. (2016). Promoting fairness in Sheffield. Local Economy, 31(4), 478-488. doi:10.1177/0269094216647138
Tomlinson, M., Walker, A. C., & Foster, L. (2016). Social Quality and Work: What Impact Does Low Pay Have on Social Quality?. Journal of Social Policy, 45(2), 345-371. doi:10.1017/S0047279415000732
Fang, Y., & Walker, A. C. (2015). “Full-time wife” and the change of gender order in the Chinese City. The Journal of Chinese Sociology, 2(4). doi:10.1186/s40711-015-0006-x
Zhou, J., & Walker, A. C. (2015). The Need for Community Care Among Older People in China. Ageing and Society, 21 pages. doi:10.1017/S0144686X15000343
Walker, A. C. (2015). Active ageing: realising its potential. Australas J Ageing, 34(1), 2-8. doi:10.1111/ajag.12219
Foster, L., & Walker, A. (2015). Active and Successful Aging: A European Policy Perspective. Gerontologist, 55(1), 83-90. doi:10.1093/geront/gnu028
Walker, A. (ed) (2014) The New Science of Ageing, Bristol, Policy Press.
van der Maesen, L. and Walker, A. (2011) (eds) Social Quality: From Theory to Indicators, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 336 pp.
Walker, A., Sinfield, A. and Walker, C. (2011) Fighting Poverty, Inequality and Injustice: a manifesto inspired by Peter Townsend, Bristol, The Policy Press, 320 pp.
Walker, A. (edited with 7 others) (2010) The Peter Townsend Reader, Bristol, Policy Press, 644 pp.
Walker, A. and Naegele, G. (2009) Social Policy in Ageing Societies: Britain and Germany Compared, Basingstoke, Palgrave.
Walker, A. and Aspalter, C. (2008) (eds) Securing the Future for Old Age in Europe, Hong Kong, Casa Verde.
Walker, A. and Mollenkopf, H. (2007) (eds) Quality of Life in Old Age, Springer.
Walker, A. (2006) (ed.) Understanding Quality of Life in Old Age, Buckingham, Open University Press.
Walker, A. (2005) (ed.) Growing Older in Europe, Maidenhead, Open University Press / McGraw Hill.
Walker, A. and Wong, CK. (2005) (ed.) East Asian Welfare Regimes in Transition, Bristol Policy Press.
Walker, A. (2005) (ed.) Understanding Quality of Life in Old Age, Maidenhead, Open University Press/McGraw Hill.Walker, A. and Hagan Hennessy, C. (2004) (eds) Growing Older - Quality of Life in Old Age, Maidenhead, Open University Press/McGraw Hill.
Beck, W. van der Maesen, L. Thomese, F. and Walker, A. (eds) (2001) Social Quality: A Vision For Europe, The Hague and Cambridge (Mass, USA), Kluwer Law International
Walker, A. and Naegele, G. (1999)(eds) The Politics of Old Age in Europe, Buckingham, Open University Press
Walker, A. and Walker, C. (1998) Uncertain Futures - People with Learning Difficulties and their Ageing Family Carers, Pavilion Publishing.
Walker, A (1997) Combating Age Barriers in Employment - European Research Report, Luxembourg, Office of Official Publications of the European Communities
Beck, W., van der Maesen, L., & Walker, A., (eds) (1997), The Social Quality of Europe, The Hague and Cambridge (Mass. USA), Kluwer Law International, Reprinted in paperback by Policy Press (Bristol), 1998.
Walker, A (1997) Ageing and Welfare Change in Europe, Tokyo, Minerva (in Japanese).
Walker, A and Maltby, T (1997) Ageing Europe, Buckingham, Open University Press.
Walker, A., and Walker, C. (1997) Britain Divided: The Growth of Social Exclusion in the 1980's and 1990's, London, CPAG Ltd
Walker, A. and Warren, L., (1996) Changing Services for Older People: The Neighbourhood Support Units Innovation, Buckingham: Open University Press
Walker, A (1996) (ed) The New Generational Contract, Intergenerational Relations, Old Age and Welfare, London, University College London Press.
Walker, A, Guillemard, A. M. and Alber, J. (1993) Older People in Europe, Brussels, EC Commission
Walker, A (1993) Age and Attitudes, Brussels, EC Commission.
Qureshi, H and Walker, A (1989) The Caring Relationship, London, Macmillan/Philadelphia, Temple University Press.
Walker, A. (1984) Social Planning, Oxford, Blackwell
Walker, A. (ed) (1982) Community Care, Oxford, Blackwell
As well as books I have published more than 200 monographs and research reports and over 300 scientific papers in journals and books.
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