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Personal profile

Approach to teaching

Much of my teaching is in the general area of social science methods and methodology; I try to teach this in ways that promotes active connections between abstract methodological principles and practical research activities. Social research is exciting and challenging: most social research methods textbooks have a knack of taking the excitement out of research, and I tend to avoid ‘textbook’ approaches.

I think that the ‘discipline’ of sociology is one that can promote social and individual change through challenging our assumptions about the world. My sociology of science modules are based on research I have carried out analysis of cultural representations of science, and working in formal science laboratories. My sociology of climate change module ends with students designing and writing advocacy statements, taking their learning from inside the lecture theatre to the real world to try and effect some change.

Although I identify, primarily, as a sociologist I think that multi- and interdisciplinary approaches to teaching, learning and research are fruitful and interesting, and I tend to use a range of different materials in my teaching.

Research interests

The main focus of my research is science; as it is represented in culture, as it is practiced in formal settings, and as a system of knowledge that we deploy in society. My research has been characterised as Science and Technology Studies (STS), but I prefer to think of myself as a sociologist of science, even though I go beyond traditional sociological research methods in my work.

My research uses ethnographic and cultural studies research methods – I have carried out a number of long-term ethnographic studies of science laboratories. My interest in formal science emerged from my earlier work in sociology of work which culminated in a number of books written with my colleagues Professor Harriet Bradley and Dr Steve Williams. After carrying out a large study of shop floor production workers I thought that finding a contrasting group would be interesting. I chose to look at academic scientists as they are a) incredibly productive, producing vast quantities of knowledge in the form of scientific journal articles, b) very highly qualified and c) despite having very low levels of job security are poorly unionised. My initial studies with this group of workers took a labour process approach but I soon focused on attitudes and motivations towards work, revisiting the work of Max Weber from 1918.

My interest in scientists’ work and knowledge production took me into examining climate change as a sociocultural discourse that is related to formal science and discourse. This research is ongoing as part of the Centre for Research in Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics.

Supervisory Interests

I supervise students across a range of (mainly) social science disciplines, often with a focus on science, technology, work, social theory. 

Scholarly biography

I graduated with a BA(Hons) Sociology, then studied for a MA by Research (both at the University of Durham). After some time out from studying I completed my PhD thesis in 1996. I have taught at the Universities of Durham, Sunderland, Birmingham and Aston Business School before coming to the University of Brighton in 2003.


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • HM Sociology

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Research Output 2000 2019

Book review: Maria E Gigante Introducing science through images: Cases of visual popularization

Erickson, M., 10 Jan 2019

Research output: Contribution to journalBook ReviewResearchpeer-review

Book Review: Paul Stenner, Liminality and Experience: A Transdisciplinary Approach to the Psychosocial

Erickson, M., 8 Jan 2019

Research output: Contribution to journalBook ReviewResearchpeer-review

Homer in the laboratory: a Feyerabendian experiment in sociology of science

Erickson, M., 15 Jan 2018, 32, 2, p. 128-141

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

sociology of science
social science theory

Science, culture and society: understanding science in the 21st Century (Chinese edition)

Erickson, M., 1 Jan 2017, Shanghai. 265 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authoredResearch

Vocation and professional identity: social workers at home and abroad

Erickson, M. & Price, J., 1 Sep 2017, Professional identity and social work. Webb, S. A. (ed.). Abingdon, p. 79-93 15 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterResearch

Activities 2012 2012

  • 1 External funding peer-review

AHRC Peer Review College

Mark Erickson (Reviewer)

Activity: External funding peer-review