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About Us

The Birkbeck Institute for Social Research (BISR) is the focal point for social research at Birkbeck, and a hub for the dissemination and discussion of social research in London and beyond. Bringing together academic staff and research students from three Schools (ArtsLaw and Social Sciences, History and Philosophy), our distinctively critical and socially-engaged approach to social research is organised around five themes, each of which has a global/comparative dimension:

  • social, psychosocial and feminist theory and methods
  • social movements, citizenship, policy and participation
  • subjectivity, intimacy, life-course and home
  • place, nation and environment
  • media, culture, communication and learning

We work within and across the disciplines of sociology, geography, politics, history, law, applied linguistics, communication and media studies, anthropology, education and social policy, and we have particularly strong commitments to the transdisciplinary fields of psychosocial studies, gender, sexuality and queer studies, development and post-colonial studies.

The BISR plays an active role in promoting social research to a wide range of publics within London. We foster cross-disciplinary debate, critical thinking and the stimulation of new research agendas on important social issues. Our activities include seminars, conferences, symposia, thematic working groups and other academic events related to members' core interests. We organise workshops and seminars that contribute to extending and enhancing methodological expertise and innovation in social research. Recordings of many of our events are available as podcasts, ensuring that many thousands of people who are not able to attend can experience some of the vibrancy of academic life at Birkbeck.

We invite many distinguished visiting speakers to BISR each year and we receive a number of Visiting Research Fellows. We have excellent facilities for Visiting Research Fellows, and we welcome enquiries from established social researchers from outside the UK who are working within our main areas of research interest and who wish to visit Birkbeck in order to collaborate with colleagues here.