I am a social scientist exploring practices, policies and experiences at the intersection of debt and welfare; where indebted lives are shaped by benefits systems, and where social security is re-framed as a debtor/creditor relationship.
I am currently working as a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow carrying out a project entitled 'A Sociology of Everyday Indebtedness'. The project investigates how households deal with and experience different debts, with a particular focus upon:
- The growing problem of 'priority' debts, principally Council Tax and rent arrears
- Understandings of the Debt Relief Order and other insolvency measures
- How debt shapes familial and social relations
- Changes in the temporal structures of debt
Between 2013 and 2016 I worked at the University of Bristol on the "New Sites of Legal Consciousness' Project, looking at the work and experience of advisers with the Citizens Advice Service.
My work draws particularly upon the writings of Lisa Adkins, Michel Foucault and Loïc Wacquant. I incorporate this work into my teaching on the courses Modern Social Theory, Capitalism and Religion, Punishment Justice and Control and Crime and Society.
Kirwan, S. (2018) “On ‘those who shout the loudest’: debt advice and the work of disrupting attachments.” Geoforum (awaiting issue number).
Kirwan, S. (2017) “Law and the 'stbx': online fora and the 'delegalised space' of family law.” Onati Socio-Legal Series Vol.7(7), pp.1421-1444.
Kirwan, S. McDermont, M., Evans, S. (2017) “Triaging overflow: A case study of the ‘Gateway Assessment’ in the UK Citizens Advice Service” European Management Journal. Vol.35(6).
Kirwan, S. (ed.) (2017) Advising in Austerity: Reflections on Challenging Times for Advice Agencies. Bristol: Policy Press. Including: Kirwan, S.
Kirwan, S. (2017) “The end of Tea and Sympathy?” in Access to Justice: Comparative Perspectives on Unmet Legal Need. Flynn, A. and Hodgson, J. (eds) London: Hart.
Kirwan, S., McDermont, M. and Clarke, J. (2017) “Re-assembling citizenship in austere times” in Assembling Neoliberalism. Higgins, V. and Larner, W. (eds.) New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
Kirwan, S. McDermont, M. and Clarke, J. (2016) “Imagining and practising citizenship: the work of Citizens Advice” Citizenship Studies. Vol.20(6-7), pp.764-778.
Kirwan, S. (2016) “The UK Citizens Advice service and the plurality of actors and practices that shape “legal consciousness”. Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law. Vol. 48(3), pp.461-475.
McDermont, M., Kirwan, S., and Sales, A. (2016) “Poverty, social exclusion and the denial of rights to a fair hearing: a case study of employment disputes.” Journal of Poverty and Social Justice. Vol. 24(1), pp.21-35.
Kirwan, S. (2015) “A state for the commons: neoliberalism through the lens of advice work” Soundings. Vol.58 (Winter), pp.70-80.
Kirwan, S. Dawney, L. and Brigstocke, J. (eds.) (2015) Space, Power and the Making of the Commons. Oxon: Routledge. Including: Kirwan, S. “Controlled natures: disorder and dissensus in the urban park”.
Kirwan, S. (2015) “The commons of advice work.” Stir. Issue 9 (Spring).
McDermont, M. and Kirwan, S. (2015) “Acts of translation: advice agencies, law and social change” Adviser Magazine. Vol.167.
Kirwan, S. (2013) “Commodification and “the commons”” and “Participation and Gifts” in Blencowe, C. Brigstocke, J. and Noorani, T. (eds.), Problems of Participation; Reflections on Democracy, Authority and the Struggle for Common Life. Bristol: ARN.
Kirwan, S. (2013) “From the inoperative community to social authority; a Nancean response to governmentality and the politics of loss” Journal of Political Power. Vol.6(1), pp.69-86.