Prof Fiona Devine

Head of Alliance Manchester Business School

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Research interests

These include social stratification and mobility, politics and participation, space mobility and lifestyles and gender, work and family.

Current Projects

The Great British Class Survey
Fiona, together with Mike Savage from the London School of Economics and BBC Lab UK, was behind the BBC’s Great British Class Survey. More than 360,000 people completed a survey on different dimensions of class, making it one of the largest ever studies of class in Great Britain. The results identified a new model of class with seven classes ranging from the Elite at the top to a 'Precariat' at the bottom. Over 6.9 million people have since used the BBC’s class calculator to identify their own class. Work on the Great British Class Survey is ongoing. The data is being prepared for the UK Data Archive so it can be used by other researchers, and a number of publications are in progress, including a special issue of The Sociological Review and a popular book provisionally entitled Social Class in the 21st Century published by Penguin in 2015
A Study of Mobility and Immobility
This project, undertaken with Yaojun Li from the institute of Social Change at the University of Manchester, addresses the recent academic, public and political debate about whether social mobility is declining and the considerable anxieties around the issue.  The research involves a quantitative analysis of patterns and trends in social mobility in the 1980s and 1990s using the General Household Survey and the British Household Panel Survey. Yaojun and Fiona have found that men’s absolute upward mobility is on the decline although long-range mobility from working-class to middle-class positions is still evident.  In contrast, women’s absolute upward mobility has increased considerably.  In terms of relative mobility, Yaojun and Fiona concur with others that there has been a very slow move towards increased fluidity in the system.
Working Class Stability and Change
This is a qualitative project following on Fiona’s work on middle-class reproduction, working with Helene Snee (Sociology, University of Manchester). In 2010, in-depth interviews were conducted with thirty young women and men in Year 11 of a PFI school in a working-class area of Greater Manchester.  In their final year of compulsory schooling, they were asked about their educational and occupational aspirations.  In 2011, these young people were re-interviewed as they pursue a range of vocational and academic courses through FE. Their experiences of mobility or not will be especially interesting as a generation of young people either entering a severely depressed economy following the financial crisis in 2008 or moving into higher education at a time of consideration change with the introduction of student fees in 2012/3.


Research and projects