My work has been on the sociology of art and culture; gender and culture; modernism and modernity; English and American early twentieth-century art; and aesthetics. My last book, The Aesthetics of Uncertainty, addressed the problem of aesthetics after critique: the 'return to beauty', the challenge to the anti-aesthetic and the possibility of principled judgment in the light of post-critical relativism. More recent essays discuss older women in the city; the turn to affect in cultural theory; W.G.Sebald's writing about Manchester; the poetics of sociology. I have co-edited (with Mike Savage) a book about Manchester's cultural history - Culture in Manchester: Institutions and cultural change since 1850 - to be published by Manchester University Press in autumn 2013. With Jackie Stacey, I have edited a collection of essays, Writing Otherwise: experiments in cultural criticism, also due in autumn 2013 with MUP.
On retirement from the university in July 2010 I turned to non-academic writing. My book Austerity Baby was published by MUP in 2017. It combines family history, memoir, trans-Atlantic reflections, and visual imagery.