Beverley Skeggs

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Beverley Skeggs was born in Middlesbrough and studied at University of York (BA), Keele University (PGCE, PhD). She has worked at Crewe and Alsager College of Higher Education (Research Fellow), Worcester College of Higher Education (Sociology), University of York (Education and Women's Studies). From 1996 to 1999 she was Director of Women's Studies at Lancaster University (with Celia Lury). In 1999 she was appointed to a Chair in Sociology at the University of Manchester, where she was Head of Department from 2001 - 2004. Since 2004 she has been Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. During 2007 she was the Kerstin Hesselgren Professor in Gender Studies at Stockholm University. In 2003 she was elected as an Academician of the Academy of the Learned Societies for the Social Sciences. Professor Skeggs is an honorary professor at the University of Warwick and has received honorary doctorates from Stockholm University, Aalborg University and the University of Teesside (her home town). She is the joint managing editor of the journal The Sociological Review (with Professor Sarah Green, Anthropology, University of Helsinki and Professor Mike Michael, Sociology, University of Sydney)and currently holds and ESRC Professorial Fellowship.

Key Studies[edit]

Beverley Skeggs is the author of the influential study Formations of Class and Gender: Becoming Respectable (1997), a longitudinal ethnography of subjectivity across the lives of women as they move from 'caring courses' to work and family, into sexuality and how they negotiate living class in the UK.[1] Translations of this work have appeared in Swedish and Finnish. The understandings of class in Formations were developed in Class, Self, Culture (2004), which critiques the idea of the self and explores the different ways class circulates as a form of value as it attaches to different bodies.[2] Examining spaces for the production of values, such as the IMF, popular culture and academic theory, it puts to the test sociological theories which suggest that class is in decline. Her understanding of how the self is classed is developed through engagement with the works of Pierre Bourdieu. In Feminism After Bourdieu, co-edited by Skeggs and Lisa Adkins, feminists address Bourdieu's ideas on reflexivity, emotional capital, the self and the social and their relation to gender.

Her methodological approach was first elaborated in Feminist Cultural Theory: Production and Process(1995), an edited collection that brings together feminists from across disciplines (literature, film, design, media, law, sociology) to discuss how they went about producing their classic texts in cultural studies. In 1998 at Lancaster University, a group of feminists (of which Beverley Skeggs was a part) organized an international conference on feminist theory. The resulting book Transformations: Thinking Through Feminism (edited with Sara Ahmed, Celia Lury, Jane Kilby and Maureen McNeil) includes chapters by Lauren Berlant, Gayatri Spivak, Donna Haraway, Elspeth Probyn, Lisa Adkins and Vikki Bell. The conference also spawned Routledge's 'Transformations' series, which includes a wide range of volumes on feminist theory, including the works of Kirsten Campbell, Breda Grey, Ann Cronin and Steph Lawler. A large scale government funded ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) research project with Professor Leslie Moran on the sustainability and experience of gay space resulted in the book Sexuality and the Politics of Violence and Safety. The book explores how violence can be used as a resource in political claims-making, thus challenging many theories on violence. The idea of gender and sexuality as resources that can be deployed, fixed or attached is developed in the article 'Uneasy Alignments, Resourcing Respectable Subjectivity'[3]. Numerous publications were generated from the sexuality project (see below). Another large ESRC research project was conducted by Beverley Skeggs (with Helen Wood, Leicester University) between 2005-2008 on reality television and the making of the moral economy, Making Class and Self through Televised Ethical Scenarios. This project brings together many of the threads already apparent in Professor Skeggs' research, including the making of the exchange-value self, the emphasis that is placed on performing and telling one's self as a source of value and the class and race based challenges that are made through the construction of an alternative moral value system. This research project was part of a much larger research programme, 'Identities,' a £7million investigation into identity construction in contemporary Britain. [4] Professor Skeggs delivered one of the inaugural lectures for the programme. [5] A significant methodological contribution was made by this project, which by utilizing a multi-method approach that combined textual analysis with audience research developed the 'affective textual encounter' for studying audience responses. This method showed how class, gender and race relations are made in the research encounter when women authorize their own speech through recourse to cultural resources such as 'taste' and maternal authority (this is developed in their article on method in the 2008 European Journal of Cultural Studies and the ESRC research report). The research participant's authorisation of particular moral economies was closely related to their positions in circuits of value, positions which cut through, disturb and constitute gender, race and class. It has been published by Routledge as 'Reacting to Reality TV; Audience, Performance and Value'(with Helen Wood). The research also led to an international edited collection on 'Reality Television and Class' (also with Helen Wood) published by BFI/Palgrave. Numerous articles have been published on this project. Her most recent work consolidates the prior analysis of the relationship between value and values, leading to the development of ideas about the moral economy of person production ( She developed the idea of 'person value' following a critique of Bourdieu ( and an exploration of how ideology is produced through 'value struggles'(

Beverley Skeggs can be heard reviewing the analysis of her 'Formations of Class and Gender; Becoming Respectable' book on An interview about the reality television research can be heard on She has also appeared in contributions to popular debates, such as the 1998 Channel 4 TV programme on 'Things to Come', exploring (with a comic twist) the future role of women.[6] The BBC's Thinking Allowed radio programme also covered her work in 2003 ( and again in 2008 (

In 2013 she took part in a discussion on Thinking Alllowed on The Great British Class Survey (

Julie Burchill interviewed Beverley Skeggs for the Sky TV programmes, 'Chavs' (2005); and 'Girl Power' (2007) (see YouTube).

In September 2013 Beverley Skeggs began an ESRC Professorial Fellowship on 'A Sociology of Value and Values'. You can hear her discuss her introductory framework at the LSE for the British Journal of Sociology annual lecture

She can be found on Twitter at @Bevskeggs


  • (1989) Gender Reproduction and Further Education: Domestic Apprenticeships British Journal of Sociology of Education. 9: 2: 131-151.
  • (1990) Gender Reproduction in Education and its Alternatives, in: D. Gleeson (Ed.) Training and Its Alternatives. Milton Keynes. Open University Press. pp. 183–217.
  • (1991) Challenging Masculinity and Using Sexuality British Journal of Sociology of Education. 12: 2: 127-141.
  • (1991) Postmodernism: what is all the fuss about? British Journal of Sociology of Education. 12: 2: 255-79.
  • (1992) The Cultural Production of 'Learning to Labour', in: A. Beezer & M. Barker (Eds.) Reading into Cultural Studies. London. Routledge. pp. 181–196.
  • (1992) The Media: Issues in Sociology London. Macmillan.
  • (1992) 'Two Minute Brother': Contestation Through Gender, 'Race' and Sexuality (1993) Innovation in Social Science Research. 6: 3: 299-322.
  • (1994) Theories of Masculinities, for: P. Ahokes, M. Lahti & J. Sihvonen (Eds.) Discourse of Masculinity. Jyuaskylan Nykykultluria, Tutkimusyksikio, Finnish/English Publication. pp. 13 – 36.
  • (1994) Situating the Production of Feminist Ethnography, in: M. Maynard & J. Purvis (1994) Researching Women's Lives. Basingstoke. Taylor & Francis. pp. 72–93.
  • (1994) Refusing to be Civilised: 'Race', Sexuality and Power, in: H. Afshar & M. Maynard (Eds.) The Dynamics of Race, and Gender. Basingstoke. Taylor & Francis. pp. 106 – 127.
  • (1994) The Limits of Neutrality: Feminist Research and the ERA, in: B. Troyna & D. Halpin (Eds.) Researching Educational Policy: Ethical and Methodological Issues. Lewes. Falmer. pp. 75–94.
  • (1995) Women's Studies in Britain in the 1990s: Entitlement Cultures and Institutional Constraints Women's Studies International Forum. 18: 4: 475-485.
  • (1995) Feminist Cultural Theory: production and process Manchester. Manchester University Press.
  • (1996) Pedagogies of Pornography (with Pat Kirkham) (1996) Jump Cut 42: 14-20
  • (1997) Formations of Class and Gender: Becoming Respectable London. Sage. translated as Att Bli Respektabel. (2000) Stockholm: Diadalos.
  • (1998) Absolutely Fabulous and Textual Analysis, in: C. Geraghty and D. Lusted (Eds.) The Television Book. London. Edward Arnold. pp. 287–301.
  • (1999) Matter out of Place: Visibility and Sexualities in Leisure Spaces Leisure Studies 18: 213-232.
  • (2000) The Rhetorics of Affect, in S. Ahmed et al. (Eds.)*(2000) Transformations: Thinking Through Feminism. London: Routledge. pp. 25–27.
  • (2000) Transformations: Thinking through Feminism (with Sara Ahmed, Celia Lury, Jane Kilby and Maureen McNeil). London. Routledge.
  • (2001) The Property of Safety (with Les Moran) Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law 23: 4: 379-393.
  • (2001) The Toilet Paper: Femininity, Class and Misrecognition (Women's Studies International Forum. 24, nos 2-3: 295-307.
  • (2001) Feminist Ethnography, in S. Delamont, P. Atkinson & A. Coffey (Eds.) Handbook of Ethnography. London. Sage. pp. 426–443.
  • (2002) Techniques for Telling the Reflexive Self, in T. May (Ed.) Qualitative Research in Action. London. Sage. pp. 349–375.
  • (2003) The Formation of Fear in Gay Pace: the 'Straight' Story (with Les Moran, Karen Corteen and Paul Tyrer) Capital and Class 80:173-199.
  • (2003) Safety Talk, Violence and Laughter: Methodological Reflections on Focus Groups in Violence Research (with Les Moran, Paul Tyrer and Karen Corteen), in R. M. Lee and E. A. Stanko Researching Violence: Essays on Methodology and Measurement. London. Routledge. pp. 107–126.
  • (2003) The Constitution of Fear in Gay Space, (with Les Moran, Paul Tyrer and Karen Corteen) for E.A. Stanko The Meaning of Violence . London. Routledge. (pp. 107–126).
  • (2004) New Directions in the Study of Gender and Sexuality, GLQ (Gay and Lesbian Quarterly) 10: 2: 291-298.
  • (2004) Cosmopolitan Sexualities: Disrupting the Logic of Late Capitalism (with Jon Binnie), Sociological Review 52: 1: 39-62.
  • (2004) Queer as Folk: Producing the Real of Urban Space (with Les Moran, Paul Tyrer Jon Binnie), Urban Studies 21: 9.
  • (2004) Notes on Ethical Scenarios of Self on British Reality TV (with Helen Wood) Feminist Media Studies 4:1: 205-208.
  • (2004) Context and Background: Pierre Bourdieu's Analysis of Class, Gender and Sexuality Sociological Review 52:2: 19-33 (reprinted as book Feminism After Bourdieu)
  • (2004) Exchange Value and Affect: Bourdieu and the Self Sociological Review 52:2: 75-95 (reprinted as book Feminism After Bourdieu.)
  • (2004) Class, Self, Culture London. Routledge.
  • (2004) The Politics of Violence and Safety (with Les Moran)

London. Routledge.

  • (2005) The Making of Class through Visualising Moral Subject Formation, special edition 'Class, Culture and Identity' of Sociology (2005) 39: 5: 965-982. Reprinted in Fronesis: a Journal of Marxism and Feminism 25-26. Eurozine.
  • (2005) Feminism after Bourdieu (with Lisa Adkins) Oxford. Blackwell (Sociological Review Series.
  • (2006) Interview on Respectability and Resistance with Beverley Skeggs Translated into Finnish as 'Arvostus ja Vastarinta' (an interview with Beverley Skeggs) Aivojen yhteistyon muistivihkot. Helsinki. Translated Mikko Jakonen. (978-952-92-4508-6). pp. 40 (

  • (2008) 'ESRC project report on 'Making Class through Televised Ethical Scenarios'
  • (2008),' On the economy of moralism and working-class properness', interview with Beverley Skeggs by Tornhill, Sophie and Tollin, Katharina, Eurozine
  • (2008) Oh Goodness, I am Watching Reality TV': How Methodology makes Class in Multi-method Audience Research, for European Journal of Cultural Studies. 11: 1: 5-24 (with Helen Wood and Nancy Thumim).
  • (2008) The Labour of Transformation and Circuits of Value 'Around' 'Reality' Television, for Continuum, 3: 4: August: 559-572 (with Helen Wood).
  • (2008) The Dirty History of Feminism and Sociology: or the War of Conceptual Attrition, for Anniversary Issue of Sociological Review, 56:4: 670-689.
  • (2008) The Problem with Identity, for A.Lin (ed.) Problematising Identity: Everyday Struggles in Language, Culture and Education. New York. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. pp. 11–35.
  • (2008) Making Class through Fragmenting Culture, for A.Lin (ed.) Problematising Identity: Everyday Struggles in Language, Culture and Education. New York. Lawrence Erlbaum Associate. pp. 35–51.
  • (2008) Spectacular Morality: Reality Television and the Re-making of the Working Class, (with Helen Wood) for D. Hesmondhough and J. Toynbee (eds.) Media and Social Theory. London: Routledge. pp. 177–193.
  • (2009) 'It's Just Sad: Affect and Judgment on Reality TV (with Helen Wood), for J. Hollows and S. Gillis (ed.) Homefires: Domesticity, Feminism and Popular Culture. London: Routledge. pp. 135–150.
  • (2009) Haunted by the Spectre of Judgment: Respectability, Value and Affect in Class Relations, for K.P.Sveinsson (ed.) Who Cares about the White Working Class? London: Runnymede Foundation. pp. 36–45. (978-1-9067321-0-3)
  • (2009) The Transformation of Intimacy: Classed Identities in the Moral Economy of Reality Television, (with Helen Wood), for M. Wetherell (ed.) Identity in the 21st Century: New Trends in Changing Times. London. Palgrave MacMillan pp. 231–249. (9780230-580879)
  • (2009) Class, Culture and Morality: Legacies and Logics in the Space for Identification, for M. Wetherell and C. Mohanty (eds.) The Sage Handbook of Identities. London. Sage. (978-1412934114)
  • (2009) The Moral Economy of Person Production: the Class Relations of Self-Performance on ‘Reality’ Television, Sociological Review 57:4:626-644. Reproduced in Sociologia vol xx 2011 pp 67–85 (Journal of Portuguese Sociology)
  • (2009) The Value of Relationships: Affective Scenes and Emotional Performances, for Feminist Legal Studies 18:1: 29-51. (ISSN 0966-3622).
  • (2010) Ruth Herz, Judge, playing Judge Ruth Herz: Reflections on the Performance of Judicial Authority (with Les Moran and Ruth Herz) Special Issue of Law in Context on ‘Law’s Theatrical Presence: Frame, Rhetoric, Image, Body Appearance (ed. Leiboff, M. & Nield, S.) (pp. 198–220). (ISSN 1332-9060).
  • (2011) Reacting to Reality TV: The affective economy of an 'extended social/public realm', for M. Kraidy and K. Sender (eds.) Real Worlds: The Global Politics of Reality Television, New York: Routledge. (With Helen Wood) (ISBN 13:978-0-41558825-6).
  • (2011) Turning it on is a Class Act: Immediated Object Relations with the Television., (with Helen Wood) Media, Culture and Society 33 (6): 941-953 (ISSN 0163-4437).
  • (2011) Imagining personhood differently: person value and autonomist working class value practices. Sociological Review, (2011) 59 (3): 579-594 (ISSN 0038-0261).
  • (2011) The Politics of Imagination: Keeping Open, Curious and Critical (2011) with Joanna Latimer, Special Issue of Sociological Review on The Politics of the Imagination, August 59 (3): 393-411 (ISSN 0038-0261).
  • (2012) Feeling Class: Affect and Culture in the Making of Class Relations, for G.Ritzer (ed.) International Encyclopedia of Sociology. Oxford: Blackwell
  • (2012) Struggles for value: value practices, injustice, judgment, affect and the idea of class

The British Journal of Sociology. Volume 63, Issue 3, September 2012, Pages: 472–490, with Vik Loveday

External links[edit]