Dr Andy Balmer

Senior Lecturer in Sociology

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Research interests

My research explores issues relating to technology, science and everyday life. Topics that I am interested in and have written about include: fMRI, neuroimaging, dementia, everyday life, polygraphy, lie detection, sociology of lying, synthetic biology, biological anthropology, metaphors, surveillance, sex offenders, and scientific evidence. 


Secrets and Lies

I am interested in how secrets and lies form a part of our everyday lives and in social order. I am currently exploring the meanings of secrecy and lying by fusing sociology, history and English literature, focusing on the work of Georg Simmel and Shakespeare. My research also explores how we determine what constitutes 'a lie' and I am developing a sociological approach to the study of lying in everyday life. A further interest concerns the role of secret societies within social life, for example I am interested in Freemasonry and other contemporary fraternal organisations.

Regarding technology and science, I have written about the ways in which lie detection technologies have been used in the UK and the United States of America, particularly as regards their relationship with legal contexts such as policing, surveillance and criminal courts. 

Facets of Dementia

I am conducting research into the everyday lives of people with dementia and their carers. I am interested in how relationships and daily activities and experiences change when dementia is involved. In particular, I am looking at: routines and habits; emotions; and secrets and lies. I am also interested in how neuroscientists make sense of the lives of people living with memory problems, and how people living with memory problems make sense of the brain and of neuroscience information.

Synthetic Biology

I am concerned to explore how synthetic biologists have created a new field of research, formed a community and developed new technical tools and concepts. I am also exploring the possibilities of interdisciplinary collaboration across the natural and social sciences in this context. 


Research and projects

No current projects are available for public display