Professor Ruth Holliday

Professor Ruth Holliday


I have been working at the University of Leeds since 2002 and was awarded my Professorship in 2008.


  • Programme Manager
  • MA Society, Culture and the Media

Research interests

My research interests are primarily located in social and cultural theories of the body and identity particularly as they apply to class, gender and sexuality. Most recently I led an international ESRC funded research project (Grant Reference RES-062-23-2796) exploring the phenomenon of Cosmetic Surgery Tourism - a form of medical travel where people go abroad for procedures to improve their appearance. The study followed people from the UK, Australia and China traveling to countries in Europe, East-Asia and North-Africa, charting patients' experiences of surgery and place, as well as the accounts of surgeons, agents and other workers in this industry. Further details on this project can be found by clicking on Sun, Sea, Sand and Silicone link to the right of this page.

I have been working on cosmetic surgery for more than ten years and have published on CS and class, men’s CS, CS and globalization - especially in China and South Korea.

My other interests are in media and material cultures. My co-authored book with Tracey Potts on Kitsch traces the shifting definition of a specific form of low culture from early modernity to the present day. We show how kitsch is used to add value to some bodioes and identities whilst stripping value from others but question whether kitsch can be rehabilitated for radical political projects.

In the past I carried out research on sexuality and identity performances using visual methods (video diaries). This work, also funded by the ESRC (Grant Reference R000236657), focused on 'the body' as a site of identity, a mode of experience and conceptual category.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Sociology
  • BA Electronics and Management Science

Professional memberships

  • Member of the British Sociological Association

Student education

I am currently Programme Leader for the MA in Society, Culture and Media and teach on the following modules.

  • Sociology of Media and Culture (MA)
  • Approaches and Methods for Media and Culture (MA)
  • Reality TV: Truth or Fiction (MA)
  • Contested Bodies (MA)
  • Central Problems in Sociology (2nd year)
  • Sociology of Modern Societies (1st year)
  • Dissertations (3rd year and MA)

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>