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New book by Rolando Ochoa: "Intimate Crimes: Kidnapping, Gangs, and Trust in Mexico City"
12 Nov 2019

Author: Rolando Ochoa

Published: OUP, Nov 2019

Mexico has one of the highest kidnapping rates in the world. Intimate Crimes outlines the history of kidnapping in Mexico City by constructing a narrative of this crime based on extensive qualitative research on gangs, policing and other crime-related policies. The book also analyses the effect of kidnapping - and crime more broadly - on how communities experience the city, as well as the strategies put in place by potential kidnapping victims to deal with the threat of being victimised by someone close to them, a common occurrence in Mexico City, including analysing the processes through which household employees are screened and selected in Mexican households.

New publication by Nicholas Martindale
21 Oct 2019

Nicholas Martindale (DPhil student supervised by Dr Michael Biggs) just published ‘Does Outsourcing School Systems Degrade Education Workforces? Evidence from 18,000 English State Schools’ in the British Journal of Sociology of Education.

Abstract: Critics claim that outsourcing the running of 7000 state-funded schools under England’s Academies Programme has caused a rapid increase in the number of pupils taught by teachers without Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). However, it is unclear whether Academies are simply more exposed to contexts associated with higher rates of teachers without QTS than schools still controlled by local government. Analysis of a newly compiled dataset reveals that, net of context, the percentage of teachers without QTS is increasing in Academies relative to non-outsourced schools and that business-style governance is associated with greater Academy divergence from non-outsourced schools. Moreover, the Academies programme is widening class-based inequality in pupils’ access to qualified teachers. This research, the first nationally comprehensive assessment of the impact of Academies on school workforces, draws into question the merits of neoliberal policies which outsource public services and undermine systems of professional accreditation.

Full text here.

New article: "Managing uncertainty in medicine quality in Ghana"
02 Jul 2019

Where regulation is weak, medicine transactions can be characterised by uncertainty over the drug quality and efficacy, with buyers shouldering the greater burden of risk in exchanges that are typically asymmetric. Drawing on in-depth interviews (N = 220) and observations of medicine transactions, plus interviews with regulators (N = 20), the authors explore how people in Ghana negotiate this uncertainty and come to trust a medicine enough to purchase or ingest it.

This new article co-authored by Professor Heather Hamill is now available via Open Access.

"The Illegal Wildlife Trade in China" by Rebecca Wong
21 Jun 2019

Our former student Rebecca Wong (DPhil Sociology 2013) has published a new book on the illegal wildlife trade.  The book offers a theoretically-based study on crimes against protected wildlife in mainland China with first-hand empirical data collected over five years. It provides an overall examination of crimes against protected and endangered wildlife and an extensive account of the situation in China, where a significant portion of the illegal wildlife trade is currently happening.

Full details of the book can be found on the Palgrave website.

New Book: "Societal Problems as Public Bads"
07 Jun 2019

Nan Dirk de Graaf and Dingeman Wiertz have published a new, multidisciplinary social science textbook, Societal Problems as Public Bads. The book addresses several of the most pressing problems facing societies today, offering a vast amount of data, numerous real-world examples, and rigorous analyses connecting society-level problems to the individual-level behaviours from which they originate.

Role of Trust in a Self-Organizing Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Model with Variable Good Quality and Imperfect Information
13 May 2019

This new article in JASSS, co-authored by Professor Heather Hamill, presents an Agent-Based Model for a pharmaceutical supply chain operating under conditions of weak regulation and imperfect information, exploring the possibility of poor quality medicines and their detection. It aims to demonstrate how buyers can learn about the quality of sellers (and their medicines) based on previous successful and unsuccessful transactions, thereby establishing trust over time.

Centre for Demographic Science to launch with £10m from Leverhulme Trust
11 Jan 2019

Oxford University is to launch a new Centre for Demographic Science with £10 million funding from the Leverhulme Trust. The Trust today made the announcement as part of their annual Leverhulme Research Centre awards.

Scientists call for increased diversity in genomic research
07 Jan 2019

Work by Professor Melinda Mills and Dr Charles Rahal has highlighted a lack of diversity in the people studies in genetic discovery research, with over 70% of subjects coming from either the UK, the USA, or Iceland.  Read the full article here.

‘Why should I trust you with my money?’ - New Article in the BJC
11 Dec 2018

Professor Federico Varese's article " ‘Why should I trust you with my money?’: Credible commitments in the Informal Economy in China" looks at the illegal transfer of money in China, and has been published in the British Journal of Criminology.

Congratulations to Man Yee Kan and Ekaterina Hertog for winning an ESRC AHRC UK-Japan connection grant!
10 Dec 2018

The grant will be used to foster collaboration on comparative research into gender and family dynamics between the ERC GenTime research team ( and researchers of Hitotsubashi University, Japan, National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, Japan, National Statistics Centre, Japan, and Statistics Bureau of Japan.  The research network will work closely together to enhance the access to Japanese survey data for UK-based researchers.

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