I joined the university in 2016, having previously taught at the University of South Wales. After a PhD in philosophy, my work has grown to focus on the intersection between theory and practice in various areas of contemporary policy and social concern, most recently on social mobility, the family, childhood, disability and the ethics of care.  I am author or editor of nine books and over thirty articles, and have supervised several PhD theses to completion.

In 2010 I helped set up the South Wales Equality Group, a broad-based organisation committed to campaigning for greater awareness of the social costs of increasing income inequality.  I have been a member of the Newport Fairness Commission since its inception in 2012, and am a former Trustee of the Bevan Foundation. I am a Fellow of the RSA, and also co-edit the journal Ethics and Social Welfare

Areas of Expertise

  • social and political theory
  • professional ethics
  • social justice
  • social mobility
  • childhood
  • families
  • well-being policy
  • ethics of care
  • life chances
  • co-production


  1. & In Defence of Political Parties: A Symposium on Jonathan White and Lea Ypi’s The Meaning of Partisanship. Political Studies Review, 147892991875566
  2. 'Of course we do': inequality, the family and the spell of social mobility. Soundings: a journal of politics and culture(64), 117-127.
  3. & Les familles dans la philosophie normative, entre groupes et individus. Raisons politiques 66(2), 143
  4. Local natures? Climate change, beliefs, facts and norms. Climatic Change 133(3), 525-533.
  5. Competence, Ethical Practice and Professional Ethics Teaching. Ethics and Social Welfare 9(3), 297-311.

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  • ASP100 The Sociology of Social Policy

    This module aims to provide an introduction to the subject of social policy from a sociological perspective and to provide a basic understanding of the origins, organisation, operations and outcomes of welfare institutions. The module explores the meaning of social policy and introduces students to sociological conceptualisations of the social construction of social problems, human needs, citizenship rights and equalities. It then considers key areas of the welfare system including education, health, social care, housing and social security, through a sociological lens.

  • ASP106 The Politics of Social Policy

    The module explores the development of recent UK Social Policy and the post-war welfare state through a political lens. It does this firstly by setting out key issues at the heart of debates on social policy, and then by comparing a series of key political approaches to those issues. The module considers liberalism, socialism, and conservatism, alongside recent critical approaches including feminism, environmentalism and the New Right. The aim is to provide an introduction to why social policy matters politically, and how our understanding of problems and priorities in welfare provision will be shaped by the dominant political perspectives of our time.

  • ASP300 Dissertation in Social Policy

    The aim of this module is to provide students with an opportunity to analyse and report on a social policy question of their own choosing.

  • ASP356 The Family and Children: Ethics and Policy

    This module critically explores why the family and children matter to social policy, through an analysis of various contexts in which relevant issues arise, and of the implications of how they have been tackled in recent policy across a range of policy spheres in Wales, the UK and beyond. Throughout, there is a focus on questions of ethics and social justice. Thus it addresses why families, parenting and the interests of children raise pressing and challenging questions concerning rights, responsibilities and the nature of well-being ¿ and provides critical tools with which to assess how these questions have been answered in social policy.

  • EDN102 Education Across the Lifespan

    This module will introduce students to various contexts for education across the lifespan. This will include formal and informal contexts for learning. Educational practice will be considered from a historical perspective, beginning with schooling and teaching. The changing nature of education and the variety of different professionals, working in the sector, will then be examined. The module will include guest speakers from the education sector, discussing current and future developments and the impact of these on educational practice. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their understanding of education and the range of contexts in which this can occur across the lifespan.

  • EYXM20 Sociology of Child Health

    This module aims to provide students with a critical understanding of issues and constructs related to childhood and child health and welfare for children aged 0 ¿ 11 years. It offers students a sociological perspective on childhood health risks, statistics, policies and promotion campaigns. Using the analytical tools of sociology, students will learn to evaluate critically epidemiological findings, differential health outcomes, health problems, and public health initiatives in light of their historical, social and cultural contexts.

  • HUP100 The Fundamental Questions of Philosophy

    This module introduces students to a series of questions and issues that are central to the discipline of philosophy. The topics discussed, in a lively and entertaining manner, will be concerned with the nature of persons and their relationships to the natural world and to other human beings in society. The topics studied will be: a.) ancient and modern accounts of the nature of the world and the nature of persons; b.) the relationship between the minds and bodies of persons; c.) the problem of personal identity; d.) reason and emotion in relation to human behaviour; e.) the possibility of freedom; f.) the claims of religion and science.

  • SHPM48 Philosophy, Ethics & Medicine

    This module introduces and examines some of the fundamental theoretical approaches to ethics in relation to examples taken from healthcare. It also considers the nature of moral judgements and the relation between ethics and the law.

  • SHPM49 The Boundaries of Life

    This module introduces and examines some of the fundamental ethical and philosophical issues at the beginnings and ends of life. These include the ethics of abortion, euthanasia, and the concepts of human death and moral status.


  • An ethnographic study of health visitors’ interpretation of the principle of ‘the influence on policies affecting health’ in Wales. (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Gideon Calder
    Other supervisor: Dr Sherrill Snelgrove
    Other supervisor: Prof Joy Merrell
  • The nature of ethical dilemmas in disaster response (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Hugh Upton
    Other supervisor: Dr Gideon Calder
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Hugh Upton
    Other supervisor: Dr Gideon Calder