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Alice Mah


Room: E0.21a

Telephone: +44 (0) 2476 522205


Industrial Ruination, Community and Place


Alice Mah is Professor of Sociology and Principal Investigator of the 5-year European Research Council (ERC)-funded project Toxic Expertise: Environmental Justice and the Global Petrochemical Industry (2015-2020). She holds a PhD in Sociology from the London School of Economics. Her internationally recognized research on industrial ruination, post-industrial port cities, and environmental justice have been motivated by a deep concern with social inequalities, across different dimensions and scales. She has conducted comparative, mixed-method sociological research in the UK, France, Belgium, Russia, China, the US, and Canada.

Alice is the author of Port Cities and Global Legacies (2014, Palgrave Macmillan), which examines the politics of urban identity, waterfront work, and radicalism in the port cities of Liverpool, Marseille, and New Orleans. This book traces post-industrial and post-colonial legacies of inequality and political unrest through each city, drawing on diverse sources, from crime novels, to museum exhibitions, to detailed ethnographies of dockworker and activist communities. Her first book Industrial Ruination, Community, and Place (2012, University of Toronto Press) was winner of the 2013 BSA Philip Abrams Memorial Prize. This comparative ethnographic research explored lived experiences of industrial ruination in Niagara Falls, USA/Canada; Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK; and Ivanovo, Russia.

Alice is also founder and co-editor of Toxic News, a quarterly e-magazine about toxics in everyday life.

Current Research Projects

Grants and Prizes

2018-2021. 2017 Philip Leverhulme Prize in Sociology

2015-2020. Toxic Expertise: Environmental Justice and the Global Petrochemical Industry- Principal Investigator, Sociology, Funded by: European Research Council Starting Grant.

2016-2018. Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Award: ‘Climate Change Action Network (West Midlands),’ Role: Principal Investigator.

2016-2017. ESRC Impact Acceleration Award: ‘Toxic Expertise: Impact, Ideation & Public Engagement’, Role: Principal Investigator.

2015 Sage Prize for Innovation and/or Excellence for "The Dereliction Tourist" in Sociological Research Online

2014-2015. ESRC Connected Communities Imagine Project: ‘The Social, Historical, Cultural and Democratic Context of Civic Engagement’, Role: Co-Investigator.

2013. Philip Abrams Memorial Prize, British Sociological Association, for the best first and sole-authored monograph in Sociology (Industrial Ruination, Community, and Place)


Selected Publications


Edited Books

Journal Articles

Book Chapters

Public Writing

Doctoral Supervision

  • Anissa Yu, "Identifying, recognising, and reconciling value differences in social movements: The case of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement." Co-supervised with John Solomos.
  • Cong Wang, "From “digital” to “smart”: the future expectation behind Intelligent Transportation System in China from 2008 to 2017." Co-supervised with Steve Fuller.
  • Alexandra Kviat, "Placemaking in the post-functionalist and post-digital city: the case study of Ziferblat." Co-supervised with Hannah Jones.
  • Julian Molina (completed in 2017), “Intervention Work: An Ethnography of NEET to EET Transitions.” Co-supervised with Noel Whiteside.

Postdoctoral Researchers

  • Ellie Martus, IAS WIRL Co-Fund Research Fellow, 2017-2019, environmental politics in the post-Soviet region
  • Thomas Verbeek, Research Fellow, Toxic Expertise project, quantitative methods, 2017-2019
  • Calvin Jephcote, Research Fellow, Toxic Expertise project, quantitative methods, 2017-2018
  • Loretta Lou, Research Fellow, Toxic Expertise project, China research, 2017-2018
  • Thom Davies, Research Fellow, Toxic Expertise project, Louisiana research, 2015-2018
  • Xinhong Wang, Research Fellow, Toxic Expertise project, China research, 2015-2017