James Beresford

James Beresford


Academic Background

After completing an undergraduate degree at the university of Leeds (first class honours) I went on to study for an MA in Social Research at Goldsmiths College, University of London (Distinction).


I have experience as a teaching assistant across different areas and different levels on the following modules

  • Semester 1 2015/2016 Academic year - SLSP1170 Understanding and Researching Contemporary Society (level 1) (leading X2 two hour workshops per week and marking assignments)
  • Semester 2 2015/2016 Academic year - SLSP1210 Formations of Modernity (level 1) (leading X4 one hour long seminars per week and marking assignments)
  • Semester 1 2016/2017 Academic year - SLSP Identities, Inequalities and Policies in contemporary Society (level 1) (leading X3 one hour seminars per week and marking assignments)
  • Semester 1 2017 Academic Year -  SLSP3961Protest and Social movements (level 3) (leading X2 one hour seminars a week, and marking assignments)

Visiting Positions

Visiting scholar at the department of Gender and Cultural Studies (trip funded by a £4,000 Worldwide University Network grant) at the University of Sydney, Australia 

Editorial Positions

Joint editor in chief for the Graduate Journal of Social Science (gjss.org), an international peer reviewed journal showcasing the work of postgraduate students. Commenced June 2016. Responsibilities include producing and assessing calls for papers and call for guest editors; liaising with guest editors; liaising with the broader editorial team, including copy editors, the website editor and the design editor; maintaining a database of peer reviewers; deciding upon the direction and scope of the journal; answering email queries about the journal and maintaining a social media presence.

Issues for my tenure as editor in Chief include:

 Katucha Bento and Tasnim Alahdal (guest editors) - Challenging academic debates on womanhood: A decolonial approach on Latin and Caribbean identities 

Max van Midde, Olga Cielemecka and Vick Virtù (guest editors)- Trans materialities: Transervsal dialogues

Sarah Walker, Macarena Bonhomme, Sian Goldstone, Vanessa Hughes, Peter Rees, Ignacio Rivera and Kaoru Takahashi (guest editors) - A conversation on connecting racism and migration in a post-Brexit world

James Beresford and Alankaar Sharma - Memory Studies: Future directions and research

Administrative Positions

PGR student representative for the School of Sociology and Social Policy, 2015-2016 academic year - role includes attending post-graduate meetings in the School of Sociology and Social Policy, and relaying back concerns of PHD students in them; arranging a weekly coffee morning to facilitate networking among PHD students.

Co-convenor of the British Sociological Association postgraduate forum, which represents the interests of postgraduate members of the association. Primary roles included a position on the panels for the conference support fund and

Conference Presentations

06/04/2017 - Socio-Legal Studies Annual Conference, Newcastle University; Equality and Human Rights Law in the 21st Century stream - Remembering Equality: Enactments of remembering and forgetting in the assembling of the Equality Act 2010 

06/04/2017 - British Sociological Association Annual Conference; University of Manchester; Social Divisions stream - Memories of Equality: Collective and Cultural Remembering in the Assembling of the Equality Act 2010

26/04/2017 - Centre for Narrative Research, University of East London Post Graduate Day, To Think is To Experiment -  Narrating Equality: Analysing the narration of simplification in the becoming of the Equality Act 2010

22/06/2017 - University of Greenwich, applied sociology conference, Sociological Iamgitions: theories, methods and practices. -  Remembering Equality: Enactments of remembering and forgetting in the assembling of the Equality Act 2010 

07/07/2017 - De Montfort University,  Interpretive Policy Analysis 12th annual Conference - Narrativising institutional Crisis -  Narrating an Equality Crisis: Enactments of remembering and forgetting in the assembling of the Equality Act 2010

11/07/2017 - Durham University, Annual Social Policy Association conference, Community development, citizenship and equality stream - Narrating Equality: Enactments of remembering and forgetting the goals of social justice within the Equality Act 2010

I have also had one of my presentations written about here: https://socioargu.hypotheses.org/5304

Conferences and Events Organised

University of Leeds POLIS-SSP postgraduate forum; 2015-2016 events organised include:

24/11/2015: - Doing a PhD: First Steps

16/02/2016: - Making of an enemy: Identity in anti-extremism policy - Speakers include Chi Zhang (POLIS), Louise Pears (SPP) and Dr Paul Bagguley

03/05/2016: What it means to be part of the European Union; Speakers included, Dr. Neil Winn (POLIS), Cristina-Claudia Paraschivescu (SSP), Andrew Morton (POLIS) 

ESSL Postgraduate Conference; committee member responsibilities including:

Writing a call for papers and deciding on a programme from the submissions received

Timetabling the event and liaising  with speakers 

Narrating Policy (https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/sociology/events/event/212/narrating-policy-exploring-narrative-in-policy-and-policy-analysis); a one day symposium looking to the applicability of narrative methodologies and theory to policy scholarship. This involved planning the event and gaining funding from the Leeds Social Science Institute (LSSI) of £250 and £250 from the Policy Academic area in SSP. 

I am currently on the organising team for Challenging Academic Debates conference to be held in October. This also involved gaining funds, including £250 form the BSA Race & Ethnicity Study Group, £5000 from the School of Sociology and Social Policy.


Orchid ID https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7939-7076

Special Editions: 

Discover Society Mini Special Issue: Narrating Policy: https://discoversociety.org/category/articles/


Narrating Policy - Potentials of Narrative research methods and theories in extending and reorientation policy research; Co-authored with Ashley Bullard: https://discoversociety.org/2018/08/01/focus-narrating-policy-potentials-of-narrative-methods-and-theories-in-extending-and-re-orientating-policy-research/

Book reviews:

Social and Legal Studies (2018) - Marjorie Mayo et al. (2018) Access to Justice For Disadvantaged Communities <http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0964663917748045c>

Critical Policy Studies (2016) - Peter Beresford (2016) All our Welfare. <https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19460171.2016.1253180>

LSE Review of books - Hsiao-Hung Pai- Angry White People. Zed Books. <http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsereviewofbooks/2016/03/02/book-review-angry-white-people-coming-face-to-face-with-the-british-far-right-by-hsiao-hung-pai/> 

The Sociological Review - (2015)  Siobhan Kattago The Ashgate Research Companion to Memory Studies. Aldershot, Ashgate: <http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-954X.12411/full>.

Funding and Research Grants Obtained

Worldwide University Network (WUN) Research Mobility Grant of £4,000; funding an institutional visit to the department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney as a visiting scholar from 1 February to 31st March 2017

ESRC +3 PHD funding  (open competition); October 1 2015-2018; including basic maintenance and fees - £54,471 total over three years

Joint Funding from the Leeds Social Science Institute (£250) and University of Leeds School of Sociology and Social Policy Academic Area (£235) to fund Narrating Policy: Exploring Narrative in Policy and Policy Analysis, a one-day symposium on the 16th January 2017 held at the University of Leeds

Joint funding from the BSA Race & Ethnicity Study Group (£250), and £500 from SSP to support the Challenging Academic Debates Conference

Professional Memberships and Associations:

British Sociological Association

Social Research Association

Social Policy Association


Academia.edu (full CV available here): http://leeds.academia.edu/JamesBeresford

Graduate Journal of Social Science Science (GJSS): GJSS.org

Twitter: @jezybezy

Research interests

My research concerns the manner authority and expertise to speak and act on areas that are argued to require policy intervention and focus are shaped by different collective organisations and actors. It looks toward how such actions generate authority and troubles normative ideas that simply position it as a marker of quality in a certain are through looking to the receptive politics directing how different positioned actors are considered as regarding and worth attention. This is explored through the simplification project taken in UK anti-discrimination policy. From the post-war period onward, numerous pieces of legislation were introduced, such as the Race Relations Act. They built upon one another, through applying principles of discrimination to new areas, or refining them more regarding already covered grounds of discrimination. The simplification project positioned this as problematic for implementation and that this implementation fault undermined affective social justice.  It was argued that alteration of this was a necessity. Present legislation required merging into a signal act, covering a number of already protected grounds but also introducing new ones. This took the form of the Equality Act 2010. 

This rationalist model has developed many critiques, notably that simplification and the implementation argument is a cover to furthers erode budgets or organisations. However, is typically framed within a somewhat reductive interpretation of scholarship neo-liberalism; situating it purely as a marketisation of the material economy. Narrating Equality attempt to move beyond both these approaches. It reveals simplification is not simply a rational process but looks to how policy making as a sight of contestation.  Rationalised models obscure the embedded and contested nature of public institutions and policy; policy actors being little more than disembodied figures serving the will of higher powers. The contested, embodied and affective contours of policy making institutions are jettisoned from analysis. While the argument for such a process being rational depends an idea of a social good; and certain reductive theories of the neo-liberal locate it as very much the opposite. However the way actors are viewed remains, it is the goal of the higher body. Furthermore, the tendency in this thinking is that the process becomes an element of neo-liberalism and obscures the specificity of these enactments. Narrating Equality makes intervention drawing upon a goring body of ethnographic research and theorisation about policy enactment and contexts in the works of Annalise Riles, Shona Hunter, Tess Lea, Hannah Jones, Gail Lewis, Richard Freeman. Focus is on the crafting of policy enactment through the way it is narrated and remembered by actors. If we understand expertise as not something accrued through objective truth and correctness but in line with political horizons favouring certain ideas, we are able to understand that narrating and remembering policy in particular ways enacts certain power dynamics and expertise to be taken on. Researching this involves the textual analysis of a series of documents as well as narrative interviews with policy actors involved in the Act, across different institutional sites and professional categories (academics, third sector bodies, lawyers, and in many instances combinations of those professions). 

 My research interests therefore include:

  • Critical Memory Studies
  • Narrative
  • Policy Making and governance
  • Equity policies and the language of equity
  • Racism and Ethnicity Studies
  • Affect and emotion
  • Post-Structuralism and post-structural theory
  • Qualitative methods and methodologies, particularly ethnography and narrative techniques
  • Socio-legal studies