Bringing ideas to life

About This Site

Hello and welcome to Social Theory Applied. This website is an online space where theoretical issues in research (and in practice more generally) can be fleshed out and explored in more detail, providing an online forum that offers the practitioner/researcher a suitable space to assist their acquisition, understanding and application of social theory (with an emphasis on the application).

Since its launch a few years ago, the site has continued to attract readers and has a good following on our social media outlets, Facebook and Twitter. The site is a firm favourite of a considerable number of people (including post-graduate students and academics) across the globe and the site metrics indicate that the posts are read and shared widely. This is helped by the fact that a large and growing set of collaborators are willing to write for the website.

You may have noticed that we now have our own journal The Journal of Applied Social Theory, which was successfully launched last year. There is also a new book series on Social Theory and Methodology in Education research published by Bloomsbury which is linked to the website and edited by Mark Murphy, one of the website’s co-editors. Bloomsbury are now part sponsors of the site. Alongside these activities the two editors and also the collaborators have been busy publishing various social-theory related works, including Habermas and social Research (2017) and Bourdieu, habitus and social research (2015).

Thanks for reading and taking the time to explore our website – any comments on the site (design, content, aims) are always welcome. Do get in touch if you want to make a contribution – we would be delighted to hear from you.

All the best, Mark and Cristina


  1. Catriona Oates
    Catriona Oates

    Looking forward to sharing and connecting with others on this site.

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    Tina Hearn

    Looking foward to sharing thoughts and ideas with people with similar interests ….

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    Jane Sibley

    Really enjoy this site and your new book on Social Theory. I am a part time PhD student and am struggling with social theory and how to fit it with my research topic. Refreshing to read that It is common to take time to undestand the concept of social theory and its significance! I am coming coming from a teaching and action research background so it is all new!

    I have found lots of ideas to think about and explore from this site and the book.

    Any good ideas about where to read about ANT? My research is in the area of the development of teachers as agents of change and the impact of accountability systems on pedagogy. I will be looking at teaching schools/alliances in England and the new systems of audit with CfE. ( Well that us the proposal so far in Year 1!).

  4. Mark Murphy
    Mark Murphy

    Hey Jane, welcome to the site and glad you are enjoying the book! I think Anna is better placed than I to recommend texts on ANT, especially given your research topic. But she’s busy living it up in a tent somewhere – she could probably do with a break from Scottish education policy for a while 🙂 Mark

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    Anna Beck

    Hi Jane (and Mark),

    I have now left my tent and I am back into the world of early morning panic and Scottish education policy 🙁

    Your research sounds very interesting! And is quite similar to mine. I am using ANT and human agency to trace the implementation of education policy (the Donaldson Report) and try to understand how partnership groups developed to plan policy implementation actually achieve change. I am a 2nd year PhD student… and STILL struggling with social theory!

    A good place to start with ANT (if you haven’t come across it already) is Fenwick & Edwards (2010) Actor-Network Theory in Education. There is a chapter in there called ‘Entangling Curriculum Making’. Fenwick and Edwards (2011) ‘Emerging Approaches to Educational Research: Tracing the Socio-Material’ is also helpful (chapters 6&7) and I’ve also used lots of Richards Edwards papers – this one is on translating curriculum:

    The first two chapters of Latour’s book: ‘Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor Network Theory’ have been recommended to me (but still trying to get through them!) – supposedly they really useful for making sense of ANT concepts and terms…

    Apologies if you have seen all of these and you’re looking for something else – I have a list of ANT stuff I can email to you if that helps?

    So pleased to hear that you are also combining elements of ANT and human agency! At the moment I am finding it difficult to find a link between ANT and human agency – some ANTists talk about agency, but argue that human agency cannot be viewed as a single element – that it is an effect of the traction of non-human objects… although I would like to think that we have agency before we enter a process, that non-human objects can impact on this, but that human intent is more powerful (in most cases)…. Just searching for that missing link!

    Here is my email address is you want to send me an email and I’ll forward you that list 🙂


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    Jane Sibley

    Thanks Anna

    Really useful links. I am meeting my supervisor on Thursday and he has written quite a lot on teacher agency which I have copies. I also know that one of the lecturers is writing a joint paper presently on the impact of partnership working if you require a contact. There is a lot of info on the English National College for Teaching and Leadership which shares CPD themes with the Donaldson Report. It is a national priority in England to encourage ‘great professional development’. Alma Harris has written a lot in this area.

    Also I realized the paper you suggested has been written by two members of staff at Stirling so I will contact them re ANT. Tara Fenwick oversees my course.

    I will email you directly after Thursday for more info.

    Thanks for replying!

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    Jeffery Quaye

    Looking forward to sharing research ideas with people working on related topics on interest. I am particularly interested in Bourdieu’s conceptual tools and issues about inequalities in the field of education.

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    Thanks for creating this site. I have been out of school since 1993, having almost completed an M.A. in sociology at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.

    Did all the coursework, only had the thesis to do. Theory was always my main interest in sociology, but unfortunately our department had no courses on postmodern theorists like the ones being discussed on this site,.

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    Aine Alam

    Anyone thought of ANT and Martha Rogers Unitary
    Human Beings, I also feel there is some missing link

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    a useful website! I am your new student.I will see it often.

    kind regards,

    Jie Xu

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    Hari Chandra Kamali

    Rev Mark,
    I feel extremely blessed when I received your book ”Social Theory and Education Research” which became a milestone for my PhD research project ”Lord Krishna as a Deconstructionist Teacher in the Bhagavadgita: A Paradigmatic Shift in Teacher Development” as I felt lost not having any reference to the application of deconstruction in education research. This has been a great relief in my pursuit of innovation in education research. Thank you so much for your outstanding contribution, and hope we would go ahead together!
    Yours faithfully,
    H C Kamali
    PhD Scholar,
    Nepal Sanskrit University, Nepal

    • Mark Murphy
      Mark Murphy

      This is good to know and thanks for your kind words H C Kamali – have you completed or are you still progressing with your PhD?

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