Dr Elisa Pieri

Lecturer in Sociology

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Research interests

My research interests and publications are in the areas of:

* Security, biopolitics, power and surveillance - including biometrics;
* Urban sociology, design and the built environment
* Science and Technology Studies (STS), sociology of knowledge, futures and sociology of expectation
* Governance, science and innovation (incl. public and multi-stakeholder engagement);
* Ethical, legal and social aspects of new technologies (incl. genomics - GM crops and foods, personalised medicine, psychiatric and behavioural genetics - the neurosciences, biometrics and security technologies);
* Language and power, media and discourse analysis.

My current research investigates how Western cities securitise against the risk of global pandemics (see details below).

My most recent research explored the process of  securitisation and its impacts on urban space and on various stakeholders. It investigated design and the built environment, security trends and assemblages, and debates on cosmopolitanism and sociability.

Since 2001, I have conducted a number of externally funded interdisciplinary projects (listed below) investigating controversial issues in policy, science  and technology, and in discourse, media and public debates.

Current Research

Securing Cities Against Global Pandemics (2016-2019): My current research investigates how cities in the West securitise against global pandemics, and the related social and ethical implications. It explores how the risk of pandemic contagion is constructed in the West, and how Western cities prepare to avert, contain and respond to the threat of infection. This research is funded through a Simon Fellowship in Sociology.

This research pursues a range of interconnected themes, with important implications for a number of sociological, practitioner and policy debates:

* Framing of pandemic risk in media and policy discourse

* Protocols and best practices circulated by international organisations

* Smarting up cities: lessons from other cities (e.g. Singapore and Hong Kong) and their implications for implementation in the West

* Technoscience: the role of technology in securitising Western cities against pandemics today

* Vaccines and the securitisation of Western cities

Other research

Previously, I carried out research on:


  • The Introduction of Biometric ID Cards in the UK and the Debate in the Press (ESRC National Centre for e-Social Science, The University of Manchester, 2008-2009). This work was part of JISC- funded research on 'Text Mining for Frame Analysis of Media Content'.

  • The Policy and Practice Implications of Behavioural Genetics Research into Aggressiveness and Violence (ESRC Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics, Lancaster University, 2006-2008). This research was funded by the ESRC.

  • The Ethical, Legal and Social Dimensions of Pharmacogenetics (ESRC Centre for Social and Economic Aspects of Genomics, Lancaster University, and North West Genetics Knowledge Park, 2004-2006). This project was funded by the UK Department of Health.

  • The Discourse of the GM Food Debate (University of Reading, 2003-2004). This project was funded by the ESRC (I was a co-applicant of this project grant, as well as the Research Associate on it).

  • The Communication of GM Crop Research from Expert to Non-Experts (University of Reading, 2001-2002). This project was funded by the ESRC.


Over the years, I have also been actively involved in various research areas and networks (including on Biometrics, Forensic uses of DNA, the Neurosciences), as well as in the development of grant applications.

My doctoral research investigated 'Urban futures: How security and aspirations to cosmopolitanism reconfigure the city centre' (University of Manchester, Sociology and Manchester Architecture Research Centre). I continue to be affiliated with the Manchester Architecture Reaserach Centre (MARC).
Before starting my PhD I worked as Senior Researcher at PublicSpace Ltd, on dissemination and knowledge transfer (for EU FP7 ORCHESTRA project).

Pathways to Cosmopolitanism, a research collaboration between the University of Manchester and National University of Singapore, funded my PhD research. Between 2011 to 2013 I provided academic assistance to the Pathways to Cosmopolitanism research programme andwent on a research visit to National University of Singapore (Geography, Jan-Feb 2013).

Whist conducting my doctoral research,  I also held a part-time Research Fellow post at Salford University Business School, working on the EPSRC-funded TOTeM project on RFID technology and 'The Internet of Things' (in my first year). 



Research and projects

No current projects are available for public display