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Rachel O'Neill

Areas of expertise

- Gender and Sexuality

- Media and Cultural Studies

- Feminist Theory


I joined the Department of Sociology at Warwick in September 2019 as a Research Fellow funded by the Wellcome Trust. My research centres questions of gender and subjectivity, primarily in the contemporary UK context but with an awareness of and interest in transnational circulations of culture and capital. Before coming to Warwick, I worked in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE (2018—19) and prior to that was a Fellow in Sociology at the University of York (2016—18). I received my PhD in Gender and Cultural Studies from King’s College London.

In 2018 I published my first monograph, Seduction: Men, Masculinity and Mediated Intimacy. An ethnography of London’s seduction industry, the book disrupts conventional sociological accounts of intimacy under late capitalism by demonstrating how neoliberal rationalities shape dynamics of attraction and desire, sex and romance, lust and love. It also serves to complicate existing analyses of postfeminism by focusing attention on masculine subjectivity and men’s practices, often overlooked areas of enquiry. Seduction was named Times Higher Education’s Book of the Week on publication and has since been extensively reviewed (detailed under Publications).

As a Wellcome Fellow, I am researching the burgeoning movement-market for ‘wellness’ in the UK, encompassing a range of practices and products orientated towards health-enhancement, many of which are fashioned for and sold to women. Through in-depth ethnographic research, this project seeks to illuminate both the glamorous trappings of wellness media and the more mundane entanglements these generate in women's day-to-day lives. It further explores the emerging connections between wellness culture and conventional medicine, including through practices such as health coaching and the public profiles of celebrity doctors.



O’Neill, R. 2018. Seduction: Men, Masculinity and Mediated Intimacy. Cambridge: Polity.

Seduction has been reviewed in publications including The Los Angeles Review of Books and The F-Word and has featured in The Guardian, The Pool, The Quietus, Buzzfeed News, Vice: Broadly, Evening Standard and El Diario. I have discussed this project in interviews for Thinking Allowed, Woman’s Hour, New Books Network and LSE Review of Books, and condensed its main arguments for a general audience in Aeon. In 2019 I contributed to a documentary about the seduction industry for Panorama, the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme.

Alongside press coverage, Seduction has been reviewed in a number of academic journals, including European Journal of Women's Studies, Feminism & Psychology, Gender, Work & Organisation, Journal of Gender Studies and Men & Masculinities. It was shortlisted for the 2019 British Sociological Association’s Philip Abrams Memorial Prize.

Journal articles

O’Neill, R. 2020 Pursuing 'Wellness': Methodological Considerations for Media Studies. Television and New Media, 20th Anniversary Special Issue, 20:6, pp.628-634.

O’Neill, R. 2020 'Glow From the Inside Out': Deliciously Ella and the Politics of 'Healthy Eating'. European Journal of Cultural Studies, online first.

O’Neill, R. 2016. Introduction: Feminist Encounters with Evolutionary Psychology. Australian Feminist Studies, 30:86, pp.345-50.

O’Neill, R. 2015. Whither Critical Masculinity Studies? Notes on Inclusive Masculinity Theory, Postfeminism and Sexual Politics. Men and Masculinities, 18:1, pp.100-20.

O’Neill, R. 2015. The Work of Seduction: Intimacy and Subjectivity in the London 'Seduction Community'. Sociological Research Online, 20:4. [Winner of the British Sociological Association SAGE Prize for Innovation and Excellence 2016, SRO.]

Edited volumes

O’Neill, R. ed., 2016. Feminist Encounters with Evolutionary Psychology. Australian Feminist Studies, 30:86, pp.345-85

Book chapters

O’Neill, R. 2017. The Aesthetics of Sexual Discontent. In A. Elias, R. Gill & C. Scharff, eds. Aesthetic Labour: Rethinking Beauty Politics in Neoliberalism. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp.333-49.

O’Neill, R. 2016. Homosociality and Heterosex: Intimacy and Relationality Among Men in the London ‘Seduction Community’. In A. Cornwall, F. Karioris, & N. Lindisfarne, eds. Masculinities Under Neoliberalism. London: Zed Books, pp.261-76.

O’Neill, R. 2013. Impressions of My Mother: On Willfulness and Passionate Scholarship. In S. Sahagian & V. Reimer, eds. Mother of Invention. Toronto: Demeter Press, pp.23-35.

Selected essays, reviews and interviews

O’Neill, R. 2019. Book Review: Harassed: Gender, Bodies and Ethnographic Research, by R. Hanson and P. Richards. Times Higher Education.

O’Neill, R. 2019. Author Interview: Q&A with Rachel O’Neill on Seduction: Men, Masculinity and Mediated Intimacy. LSE Review of Books.

O’Neill, R. 2019. Seduction, Inc. Aeon.

O’Neill, R. 2018. Book Review: Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age, by D. Zuckerberg. Times Higher Education.

O’Neill, R. 2018. Book Review: Power, Knowledge, and Feminist Scholarship: An Ethnography of Academia, by M. M. Pereira. Feminist Theory, 19:2, pp.244-46.

O’Neill, R. 2016. Reply to Borkowska. Men and Masculinities, 19:5, pp.550-54.

O’Neill, R. 2014. Book Review: Performing Sex: The Making and Unmaking of Women’s Erotic Lives, by B. Fahs. Feminism & Psychology, 24, pp.552-6.




Rachel O'Neill image

Dr Rachel O'Neill

Email: Rachel dot ONeill at warwick dot ac dot uk

Room: E0.10