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Elizabeth Ablett

I am a PhD student in the Department of Sociology, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. I have an MPhil in Sociology (Modern Society and Global Transformations) from the University of Cambridge and a BA (Hons) in Sociology from Warwick.

In the contemporary political moment, questions about how politicians behave, what they do, and who they are, are being fiercely and widely debated. We are also witnessing a striking rise in the amount of abuse which women and minority ethnic politicians face. Global movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp aim to tackle abuse in workplaces, and increasing attention is being paid to abuse and violence against politicians. Despite these changes, the landscape of local representation in the UK is regarded as one of the most ‘pale, male and stale’ levels of government in UK politics. Political work is also strange work; politicians everyday activities span different regimes and rationalities of work and politics. This strangeness complicates how politicians experience and negotiate inequalities; some people can flourish, others cannot.

My thesis confronts these issues, turning a sociological lens on political institutions. Using an ethnographic approach, I explore how English local politicians negotiate and resist inequalities in political institutions, within the context of these wider social changes. I draw on a workplace perspective to study political institutions as inequality regimes, where practising politics is understood as a form of work. I use Dorothy Smith’s (2005) institutional ethnography (IE) approach to investigate three councils in England. 

My research interests include feminist epistemologies, left politics in Britain, work and organisations, and institutional ethnography.

I am an active member of the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender at Warwick, and a former Visiting Researcher in the Center for Feminist Social Sciences at Örebro University, Sweden. I am involved with the student organising committee for the research network Connecting Research on Employment and Work.

My doctoral research is supervised by Prof. Nickie Charles and Dr. Maria do Mar Pereira.


Ablett, E., Griffiths, H., and Mahoney, K., ‘Resisting the seduction of academic production: (un)making the neoliberal subject through feminist practice’, in Maddie Breeze, Cristina Costa and Yvette Taylor (eds), Educational Futures and Fractures: Time and Space in the Neoliberal University (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming).

Ablett, E., 2018. Book Review Symposium: Rachel Thwaites and Amy Pressland (eds), Being an Early Career Feminist Academic: Global Perspectives, Experiences, and Challenges in Sociology, 52(1), pp. 198 – 200

Conference Papers

British Sociological Association Annual Conference, 2017 (Manchester, UK). Paper title: Exploring the (re)production of gender inequalities in local politics.

Men and masculinities: politics, policy, praxis, 2017 (Örebro, Sweden). Paper title: Exploring masculinities in post-EU referendum English local government.

Feminist and Women’s Studies Association Biennial Conference 2017 (Glasgow, UK). Paper title: What happens when you make feminist space? Reflections on PG event ‘Breaking our Silences'.

Örebro Center for Feminist Social Studies research seminar, 2017 (Örebro, Sweden). Paper title: Constructing and challenging ‘authenticity’ in English local politics.

Invited discussant for visiting speaker Sonia Corrêa (LSE), 2017 (Warwick, UK): What 'state' are we in? Re-visiting the problem of the state in gender and sexuality thinking and politics.

10th Biennial Gender, Work & Organisation Conference, 2018 (Sydney, Australia). Paper title: (Not) dealing with women’s experiences of harassment and abuse: how power is safeguarded and challenged in institutions.

Funding and Awards

In 2017, I was awarded an ESRC Overseas Institutional Visit Award for a Visiting Research Fellowship hosted by Prof. Jeff Hearn and Prof. Liisa Husu at the Center for Feminist Social Studies, Örebro University, Sweden.

In 2016, I co-organised a workshop, gaining funding from several Warwick University Departments and Research Centres (Sociology, ESRC, Centre for the Study of Women and Gender, CADRE, History and the Social Theory Centre) to host a one day interdisciplinary workshop, Breaking Our Silences.

Teaching at Warwick

2016/17 Sociology of Gender (first year Sociology module).

2017/18 Becoming Yourself: The Construction of the Self in Contemporary Western Societies (second year Sociology module).

2018/19 Researching Society & Culture (first year Sociology module).

I am also working towards my Associate Fellow (AFHEA) Award from the Higher Education Academy. The fellowship is an international recognition of a commitment to professionalism in teaching and learning in higher education and demonstrates that my teaching practice is aligned with the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF). 

Additional academic experience

2015 - 2017 Committee Member for the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender graduate seminar series, Warwick University. This role involved issuing and advertising the Call for Papers, reviewing abstract submissions, co-ordinating the events, publicising them, and chairing the seminars.

2016 Co-organiser of the ESRC funded one-day Breaking Our Silences interdisciplinary workshop. Funding gained from ESRC and numerous Departments and Centres across Warwick University. 

2018 Conducted research for a report by the leading economics group, the Women’s Budget Group Intersecting Inequalities: The impact of austerity on Black and Minority Ethnic women in the UK.

2019 Employed as a Research Assistant for follow-up research on a Sociology research project, Gender and Political Processes in the Context of Devolution.

Elizabeth Ablett

Elizabeth Ablett

E dot Ablett at warwick dot ac dot uk