Prof Fiona Devine

Head of Alliance Manchester Business School

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Fiona Devine is Head of Alliance Manchester Business School and Professor of Sociology at The University of Manchester. She was previously Head of Sociology (2004-7), Head of the School of Social Sciences (2009-13) and Co-Director of Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC) (2012-4) at the University which she first joined in 1994. Prior to Manchester she worked at the University of Liverpool, the Policy Studies Institute, and the former Department of Employment in London. She studied Sociology and Government as an undergraduate at the University of Essex where she also completed an MA and PhD.

Fiona's research interests are in the related fields of social stratification and mobility (with a comparative focus including the US), work and employment, and politics and participation. Much of her research has been funded by grants from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Leverhulme Trust. With a team of colleagues from the LSE, York, Durham and MMU, she was involved in the BBC’s Great British Class Survey, an online survey completed by over 300,000 thousand people and a class calculator completed by 9 million people.  The results have appeared in the book, Social Class in the 21st Century, published by Penguin in 2015. 

Fiona was a member of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Chair of its International Advisory Committee (2003-7), a member of the Governing Council of the European Science Foundation (ESF) and the UK representative on the New Opportunities for Research Funding Co-operation Agency in Europe (NORFACE) Network Board. She has held visiting positions at the Department of Sociology, University at Chicago, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and the Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, and was a member of the Research Evaluation Committee for Education and Human Society for Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).  Fiona is also currently a Fellow of the Centre for the Study of Poverty and Inequality, Stanford University, USA.  She is an Honorary Professor in the Institute for Social Sciences and the Department of Sociology at the University of Queensland, Australia and continues to work with colleagues there.  

She was awarded an OBE in 2010 and CBE in 2019 for services to social sciences, elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) in 2011 and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (FRSA). Fiona is a companion of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).  She was elected onto the Assembly of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce in 2015.

Further information

Fiona is one of the country's leading experts on social stratification and mobility with related interests in work and employment and politics and participation. She has discussed the results of the Great British Class Survey on national and international broadcast media, including BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 4 and NPR Public Radio. Fiona recently appeared on BBC Breakfast to comment on the experiences of low income families in the housing market, and commented on class and gender diversity on company boards for The Sunday Times.

Fiona has also contributed to Radio 4’s Science Now (on women scientists and engineers), written commissioned pieces for the Times Higher (including class differentials in access to higher education with regard to the debate on tuition fees) and The Sunday Times Supplement (on downward social mobility revealed on the Genes Reunited website).

Fiona is happy to be contacted by the media for comment on her areas of research expertise as outlined above.

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