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Dr Ben Gidley

Senior Lecturer
BA Anthropology, MA Urban Studies, PhD Sociology (Goldsmiths, University of London).


Academic background

  • Ben Gidley studied Anthropology as an undergraduate and Urban Studies at MA level and has a PhD in Sociology (on citizenship and belonging among East London Jewish radicals in the early twentieth century) from the University of London. Before coming to Birkbeck, he worked in interdisciplinary research centres on urban studies and migration at Goldsmiths University of London and at the University of Oxford. During that period, he was involved in several policy-engaged research projects on topics around migration, integration and diversity, funded by research councils, charitable trusts, the European Union and government departments.

Research and teaching


  • My research has drawn on a range of methodological approaches, including participatory action research, visual methods, archival research and ethnography. My research agenda has largely been around the question of how we live together with difference. My focus has been on urban contexts, including a long-term ethnographic engagement with Southeast London and historical work in East London – although increasingly setting this in a comparative European context. I also have an interest in British Jews, both in relation to wider diaspora formations and in relation to the history and politics of British multiculture (Turbulent Times, written with Keith Kahn-Harris, was the first sociological monograph on British Jews for several decades).

Research interests

  • Contemporary forms of racialisation and intercultural encounter; diaspora, diversity and migration; and urban sociology.


  • I am currently the Module Convenor for two BA Psychosocial Studies modules, Urban Multiculture and Class. I am responsible for the BA Psychosocial Studies dissertation module and co-convene the Independent Research Methods module for all our MA and MSc programmes. I am also the Year 3 tutor for BA Psychosocial Studies.


  • I currently supervise students who are working on: Jewish, Muslim and Christian young people in London; Italian migrants in London; Jewish masculinity and urban protest in Athens.
  • I welcome applications from MPhil/PhD students and visiting research students who wish to carry out research on: urban ethnography, lived experience of diversity, comparative urbanism, diasporic belonging; antisemitism, particularly in relation to other forms of racialisation; Anglo-Jewish history and sociology, Jewish/non-Jewish relations; urban social movements; fascism and anti-fascism; South and East London.

Funded research projects



  • Nazneen, A. et al (forthcoming 2018). Shared Devotions: Space, Faith and Community in East London since 1880. London: English Heritage.
  • Renton, J. and Gidley, B. (2017). Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Europe: A Shared Story? London: Palgrave.
  • Berg, M., Gidley, B. and Sigona, N., eds. (2014). Ethnography, Diversity and Urban Space. Oxford: Taylor and Francis.
  • Kahn-Harris, K. and Gidley, B. (2010). Turbulent Times: The British Jewish Community Today. London: Continuum.
  • Mayo, M. et al (2008). Community Engagement and Community Cohesion. Bristol: The Policy Press.

Book chapters

  • Gidley, B. and Meer, N. (2016). ‘Communities and Identity’ in Yousef Meri (ed.) Routledge Handbook Of Muslim-Jewish Relations. New York: Routledge (French and Arabic editions to follow).
  • Gidley, B. and Jensen, O. (2016). ‘”They’ve got their wine bars; we’ve got our pubs”: Housing, diversity and community in two South London neighbourhoods’ in Ferruccio Pastore and Irene Ponzo (eds.) Inter-group Relations and Migrant Integration in European Cities: Changing Neighbourhoods. Berlin: Springer.
  • Gidley, B. (2016). ‘Conflicto y convivencia en los barrios urbanos diversos de Europa reintroducir los derechos humanos y la justicia social en el debate sobre la integración’ in Ángeles Solanes Corella (ed.) Diversidad Cultural y Conflictos en la Unión Europea. Implicaciones Jurídicopolíticas. Valencia: Tirant lo Blanch.
  • Gidley, B. (2015). ‘Speaking of the Working class’ in Bridget Anderson and Vanessa Hughes (eds.) Citizenship and its Others. London: Palgrave.
  • Ahmed, N. et al, (2015). ‘Historicising diaspora spaces: performing faith, race and place in London's East End’ in Jane Garnett (ed.) Religion in Diaspora: Cultures of Citizenship. London: Palgrave.
  • Gidley, B. (2015). ‘Cultures of translation: East London, diaspora space and an imagined cosmopolitan tradition’ in Nando Sigona et al (eds.) Diasporas Reimagined: Spaces, Practices and Belonging. Oxford: IMI.
  • Kahn-Harris, K. and Gidley, B. (2011). ‘From Security to Insecurity: British Jewish Communal Leadership in the Context of Multiculturalism’ in Harvey E. Goldberg et al (eds.) Dynamic Belonging: Contemporary Jewish Collective Identities. New York: Berghahn.
  • Gidley, B. and Rooke, A. (2010). ‘Asdatown: The intersections of classed places and identities’  in Yvonne Taylor (ed.) Our Working-Class Lives: Classed Connections and Intersections. London: Ashgate.
  • Gidley, B. (2009). ‘Ghosts of Kishinev in the East End’ in Nadia Valman and Eitan Bar-Yosef (eds.) The ‘Jew’ in Late-Victorian and Edwardian Culture: Between the East End and East Africa. London: Palgrave.
  • Gidley, B. (2007). ‘Youth Culture and Ethnicity: Emerging Youth Multiculture in South London’  in Paul Hodkinson and Wolfgang Deicke (eds.) Youth Cultures. Routledge Advances in Sociology. London: Routledge.
  • Gidley, B. (2007). ‘Sure Start: an upstream approach to reducing health inequalities?’ in Angela Scriven and Sebastian Garman (eds.) Public Health: Social context and action. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
  • Gidley, B. (2004). ‘Historical and Archival Methods’  in Clive Seale (ed.) Researching Society and Culture (Second Edition). London: Sage. Reprinted (2012) in Third Edition.

Journal articles


Special journal issues


Professional memberships and awards

Professional memberships

Contact Details

Room 506, 30 Russell Square
Department of Psychosocial Studies
Birbeck, University of London
London WC1B 5DT

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7079 0664