My research interests are varied and fall within the following areas:
- The sociology of death and
dying, especially the social, cultural and
psychological processes and practices of grief
- I am especially interested in exploring the cultural dynamics of loss and the ways in which they are related to, and sublimated within, social identity and a range of cultural practices. This interest extends to the ways in which a sense of mourning and loss are manifested in, and triggered by, iconic disasters and the deaths of celebrities and public figures. My research in this area has explored the public mourning following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997 and that which followed the Hillsborough soccer stadium disaster of 1989, as well as the sense of mourning and loss which underpin debates surrounding the Holocaust and discursive constructions of nation and identity as they pertain to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
- Cultural sociology and
what is elsewhere referred to as cultural
- My interests in this area relate to the interdisciplinary theories of postmodernism, post-structuralism and critical theory, especially the explicit application of these theories for understanding various aspects of culture. Both methodologically and epistemologically, my interest in this area includes the critical exploration of the self and subjectivity – using auto/biography, auto-ethnography, memory-work and narrative analysis – as both a source of meaning-making and as a site upon which political discourses are inscribed. Such a framework or paradigm connects with my wider research interests – of mourning, memory, the Holocaust – by allowing us to explore and understand the ways in which politics, identity and culture are intertwined in representations of self, nation, and the past.
Besides this, I am interested in the burgeoning interdisciplinary field of memory studies, especially notions of social and collective memory and their connection to social identity. These interests permeate and intersect with my teaching of death and dying, sociological theory and the sociology of religion. In addition, I have maintained an interest in the sociology of health and illness, with special emphasis on health inequalities.