Department of Education

Dr Ceri Brown

Ceri Brown


1 West North 4.7
Tel: +44 (0) 1225 38 6294


I am interested in the schooling experiences of children in poverty in the UK, and have explored the material, cultural, social and mobility 'binds' that prevent children from achieving in school.

A key interest is in the effects of 'turbulence' (children that move schools outside of normal leaving/joining ages) upon social, emotional and educational outcomes. This involves exploration of the issues underpinning the educational penalties associated with turbulence. My work considers the cultural nuances of different mobile groups, such as the military and Traveller communities, and aims to develop explanations for turbulence penalties that cross cultural groups. This involves the development of some of the most dominant social capital theories, as applied to the study of children's friendship groups and orientations to social relationships.

More generally, I am interested in the experience of school life for children, and recognise the importance of studying children's identities in school for understanding children's motivations, aspirations and the tensions and trade-offs involved in navigating school life. I have developed a methodology for the ethnographic study of children's schooling identities.

Most recently I have explored the role of space and place in shaping children's experiences of schooling. I believe that the ways that children are grouped and positioned in school, and the emotional attachments/ responses that they form to key parts of the school, can play an intrinsic part in children's sense of belonging and learner identities.

My Educational Binds of Poverty: The Lives of School Children book was shortlisted for the prestigious BBC Radio 4 British Sociological Association Ethnography Awards 2015 and featured in a BBC article.

Research interests

  • The effects of poverty upon children's school lives
  • Effects of ‘turbulence’ upon social, emotional and educational outcomes
  • Social capital theory and friendship in relation to children's inclusion and exclusion
  • Identity construction for school children
  • The role of place and space in shaping children's educational experiences

Current projects

  • Exploring the impact of turbulence upon the social and emotional wellbeing and educational attainment of military children (with Dr Sam Carr and Georgina Lovett)
  • Exploring how capoeira and parkour relate in the construction of identity paths amongst children of immigrants in Turin (with Dr Mike Silk and Nicola De Martini Ugolotti)
  • Exploring the provision of sport for under privileged children (with Dr Sam Carr and Ioannis Batlle)
  • Exploring the role of traditional knowledge in creating opportunities for sustainable education in early childhood (with Prof Steve Gough and Meyrev Mor)


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