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Dr Ben Gidley

  • Overview



    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. He is currently working on projects to do with antisemitism and Muslim-Jewish encounters, as well as teaching psychosocial studies and sociology at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.



    • PhD Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London
    • MA Contemporary Urban Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London

    Web profiles

    Administrative responsibilities

    • Director of Research and Sociology REF lead, Psychosocial Studies

    Professional memberships

    • Board member, European Sociological Association Research Network 31 on Racism and Antisemitism

      Board member and social media officer, British and Irish Association of Jewish Studies

      Founder member, Social Scientists Against the Hostile Environment


  • Research


    Research interests

    • Contemporary forms of racialisation and intercultural encounter
    • Diaspora, diversity and migration
    • Urban studies and urban sociology

    Research overview

    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) and on understanding different racisms comparatively (Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Europe, co-edited with James Renton, was a breakthrough volume in this field).

    Research Centres and Institutes

    Research clusters and groups

    • Steering Group member, Urban Intersections Experimental Collective, Birkbeck Institute for Social Research

    Research projects

    Ethical Monotheism.

    Muslim-Jewish encounter, diversity & distance in urban Europe: religion, culture and social Model, ENCOUNTERS.

    Post doctoral staff

    • Daniella Shaw
  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    My current doctoral students are: Dionysios Mitropoulos ("From Indignation to Collective Action’: Subjectivity, Critique, and Resistance in times of Crisis", with Sasha Roseneil), Ieisha James ("Bordering Whiteness: Encountering the racialised subjectivities of different generations of Italian women living in London through biographical narratives in the context of Brexit", ESRC-UBEL funded, with Brendan McGeever), Hannah Reeves ("Sedimenting the affect: (re)storying encounters with Crossbones Graveyard", ESRC-UBEL funded, with Margarita Palacios), and Sergio Calderon Harker ("Containing the 'bad body': coloniality and detention in Fortress Europe", ESRC-UBEL funded, with Margarita Palacios). I am the second supervisor of Rachel Kupperman ("‘Mum’s Army’: a psychosocial exploration of the construction of maternal labour and its effects on the lived experience of Teaching Assistants in primary education", with Stephen Frosh) and Carlo Palombo ("My flesh and I: experimenting with freedom and radical posthuman subjectivity", with Margarita Palacios).

    Past students at Birkbeck include Anthony Nicholls ("An empirical study of how contemporary young Jewish men understand their masculinity in combination with their Jewishness and Britishness", with Stephen Frosh) and Lenita Torning ("Building Bridges, Negotiating Boundaries: Young Christians', Jews' and Muslims' experiences of interfaith work in the UK", funded by Dangoor Educational, with Stephen Frosh).

    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; anti-racism; fascism and anti-fascism; South and East London.

    Current doctoral researchers



    Teaching modules

    • Understanding the City (SSGE105S7)
    • Hate: On the Power of the Negative (SSPA070S4)
    • Independent Research Module (SSPA085D7)
    • Racism and Antisemitism (SSPA096S6)
    • Urban Multicultures (SSPA102H5)
    • Masterclass in Social Research (SSPO019S7)
  • Publications




    Book Review

    Book Section


    External Repositories

  • Business and community

    Business and community


    I am happy to receive enquiries from the media on the following topics:

    • Antisemitism
    • Hate crime
    • Jewish communities
    • Far right
    • London
    • Multicultural neighbrouhoods