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Personal profile

Research interests

My work takes an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on sociology, social psychology, gender studies, education, and cultural studies. I use feminist and creative methodologies and discourse analysis to explore power and inequality in everyday life. My research explores sexualities, gender, youth cultures, media representation and consumption, social media and popular culture.

Previous work has included working as a researcher on an NSPCC-funded project on youth sexting, an ESRC-funded project on youth aspiration and celebrity culture and an ESRC-funded project on long-term couple relationships. I have co-authored two academic books – one on celebrity and youth aspiration (with Heather Mendick, Kim Allen and Aisha Ahmad) and one on sex advice in media culture (with Meg-John Barker and Rosalind Gill).

I have a graphic book with Sarah Leaney and Danny Noble coming out in 2022 - Class: A Graphic Guide.

My current research includes work on sex advice in zines, research with Olu Jenzen, Carl Bonner-Thompson and Jane Melvin on LGBTQ digital youth work, and a project on LGBTQI+ people's experiences in immigration detention.

Approach to teaching

I am inspired by bell hooks’ (1994) approach to the classroom – that it is ‘crucial for me and every other student to be an active participant, not a passive consumer’.

I take a participatory approach to my teaching, encouraging students to work with me and each other in grappling with social theories and methods. I enjoy using digital technologies in the classroom as a way for students to actively research, share their ideas and work collectively to think through complex social issues. In my teaching I also spend time exploring the process of research and learning itself – including asking students to reflect on their own practice and share ideas about their reading, writing, presentation skills and research.

My teaching is informed by my research – I often bring data from my own research projects for students to work with and encourage students to conduct independent research.

Current modules:

  • Sociology Live (module coordinator)
  • Sex and Society
  • Gender and Power
  • Theorising the Social World
  • Study Skills Plus
  • Sociological Imaginations
  • Contemporary Social Inequalities
  • Sociology and the Life course
  • Culture, Media and Identities
  • Researching Social and Cultural Life
  • Research Methods in the Social Sciences

Supervisory Interests

I have supervised two PhDs to completion and regularly supervise undergraduate dissertation projects. I welcome applications for PhD research from students interested in gender, sexuality, youth cultures, media representations, the place of media in everyday life, discourse analysis, diary research and creative methodologies. 

Scholarly biography

Dr Laura Harvey is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Brighton. Her work takes an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on sociology, gender studies, social psychology and cultural studies. She is co-author of two recent books, published in 2018 – Mediated Intimacy: Sex Advice in Media Culture with Meg-John Barker and Rosalind Gill and Celebrity, Aspiration and Contemporary Youth: Education and Inequality in an era of Austerity, with Heather Mendick, Kim Allen and Aisha Ahmad.

Dr Harvey studied International Relations and History at the London School of Economics (LSE), followed by an MSc in Gender at the LSE Gender Institute. She was awarded her PhD by the Open University in February 2013. Her doctoral thesis, supervised by Professor Rosalind Gill and Professor Janet Holland, examined the negotiation and media representation of condom-use in the UK.

During her doctoral research Dr Harvey worked on an NSPCC-funded research project with King’s College London, Institute of Education and the London School of Economics on young people and mobile technologies. She also carried out research for the ESRC-funded 'Enduring Love?' project on couple relationships at the Open University.

After completing her PhD, Dr Harvey worked as a Researcher on the ESRC-funded celebyouth project (www.celebyouth.org).

Before joining the University of Brighton in 2016, Dr Harvey worked at the University of Surrey, King's College London, Brunel University and Richmond, the American International University in London. 


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