Sam Friedman

Department of Sociology
London School of Economics and Political Science

I am a sociologist of class and inequality, and my research focuses in particular on the cultural dimensions of contemporary class division. I have recently completed a book entitled The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged (with Daniel Laurison), which probes a powerful and previously unrecognised ‘class pay gap’ within Britain’s elite occupations. I am currently working on a new project (with Aaron Reeves) analysing the entire 120-year historical database of Who’s Who – a unique catalogue of the British elite. So far this project has generated papers on the enduring propulsive power of Britain’s private schools, and changes in the way elites use cultural consumption to signal their status. I am also the author of Comedy and Distinction: The Cultural Currency of a ‘Good’ Sense of Humour (Routledge, 2014) and co-author of Social Class in the 21st Century (Penguin, 2015). Outside of academia I am a Commissioner at the UK Government’s Social Mobility Commission.

Select publications:

Friedman, S. and Reeves, A. (2020) ‘From Aristocratic to Ordinary: Shifting Modes of Elite Distinction’ American Sociological Review 85 (2)

Friedman, S. and Laurison, D. (2019) The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged Policy/University of Chicago Press

Reeves, A., Friedman, S., Rahal, C., Flemmen, M. (2017) ‘The Decline and Persistence of the Old Boy: Private Schools and Elite Recruitment 1897-2016’,  American Sociological Review 82 (6) 1139-1167

Dave O’ Brien

Senior researcher
Edinburgh College of Art
University of Edinburgh

I’m currently Chancellor’s Fellow in Cultural and Creative Industries at the University of Edinburgh, where I work on a variety of projects related to culture and inequality. This work covers labour markets, organisations, consumption, public policy, and urban regeneration. I’ve recently finished a book, co-authored with Orian Brook and Mark Taylor, called Culture is bad for you: Inequality in the cultural and creative industries (Manchester University Press, 2020), which sets out the relationship between cultural production, cultural consumption, and inequality. I’ve been working on translating these findings to policy and practitioner audiences, with a secondment to the UK Parliament, a role in the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, and offering research support to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Creative Diversity.

Select publications:

Brook, O., O’Brien, D. and Taylor, M. (2020). Culture is bad for you: Inequality in the cultural and creative industries. Manchester University Press.

Brook, O., O’Brien, D. and Taylor, M. (2019). ‘Inequality talk: How discourses by senior men reinforce exclusions from creative occupations’, European Journal of Cultural Studies

Friedman, S., O’Brien, D. and Laurison, D. (2017). “Like Skydiving without a Parachute”: How Class Origin Shapes Occupational Trajectories in British Acting’, Sociology, 51(5), 992-1010.

Irmak Karademir Hazır

Senior lecturer
Department of Socıal Sciences
Oxford Brookes University

I am a sociologist interested in the lived experience of social class, cultural classifications, and socio-cultural change. My earlier research focused on cultural capital theory, particularly its embodied form, and the current workings of legitimate taste (e.g. omnivorousness). I have two ongoing projects. One explores the practices of foodwork (eating, cooking and feeding) in families with small children across different social classes. To address my research questions, I conduct longitudinal go-along interviews in southeast England. My other project examines the recent transformations in the field of culture in Turkey with a focus on the impact of rising Political Islam. With my colleagues, we use mixed methods to understand how political and cultural fields interact and generate new forms of exclusions. I am co-author of Enter Culture, Exit Arts?: The Transformation of Cultural Hierarchies in European Newspaper Culture Sections, 1960–2010.(2019)

Select publications:

Heikkilä R, Karademir Hazır I, Purhonen S, ‘Live or Recorded? Reassessing the “Decline of the Highbrow Arts” Debate using European Newspaper Data, 1960-2010.’ (2020), Cultural Trends, Online First

Karademir Hazır I, (2016) ‘Wearing class: A study on clothes, bodies and emotions in Turkey’ Journal of Consumer Culture 17 (2) pp.413-432

Karademir Hazır I (2014), ‘How bodies are classed: an analysis of clothing and bodily tastes in Turkey’, Poetics 44, pp.1-21