I am currently a Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy at the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR) at the University of Kent, where I teach social policy, sociology and research methods to postgraduates and undergraduates. I am a member of the Exec of the Social Policy Association, (from Jan 2013) the editorial board of the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, and I also helped set up the collaborative research blog Inequalities, where I regularly write articles and short blog posts.
I have a wide range of research interests, with my current work/future plans focused on (i) disability, the workplace, inequality, and the benefits system; and (ii) the relationship between evidence and policy. The site has separate pages for my past/current research on (i) disability & work; and (ii) alcohol; other areas of research are covered under general social policy. A complete list of all my academic publications, non-academic writing, qualifications and positions is available here. And if you want to actually see me discussing some of these ideas - and typically waving my hands - then you can see me discussing the ALICE RAP addictions project and why bad working conditions are stopping people working later in life.
These pages provide more details about my past and current research, as well as details of how to get in touch with me; however, please go to the Inequalities site if you are interested in being part of the Inequalities blog community. I'm also happy to co-supervise research students on any of my research interests - information on PhD bursaries at Kent is available here, and just send me an email if you want to explore this.
Getting in touchI'm always happy to hear from potential collaborators / research students, or from people who are just interested in my research. You can email me at b dot p dot b...berg at kent dot ac dot uk (click here to see a spambot-protected email address in plain English), or get in touch via Inequalities. To hear about any new research/writing, then follow me on Twitter or academia.edu.
The stigma of claiming benefits
20/11/2012 - Is there a stigma to claiming benefits? If so, why, and does it matter? In a nutshell, these are the questions that I am looking at in a collaborative project with Kate Bell and Declan Gaffney, funded by the charity Elizabeth Finn Care, who run the advice line/website Turn2us. The project isn't that big, but despite this we're squeezing in a new survey, an unusually deep media analysis, analysis of existing data, and a few focus groups. You can also the report itself, our 'mythbusting' briefing (mainly a fantastic job by Declan), a quick note on a figure used in a Guardian article, and the appendices to the report.
Aside from our one-page summary in the report itself, you can also read short blogs on several different bits of the report - we've written on perceived fraud in the benefits system (on Inequalities), the role of the media (on the New Statesman blog, and a longer version here), and how benefits stigma is misunderstood (on LSE Politics & Policy). Other people have written about the report in the Guardian (including on their Datablog), and the TUC's Touchstone blog (also reposted on Liberal Conspiracy).
Mythbuster - tall tales about welfare reform
1/8/2012 - Kate Bell, Declan Gaffney and I recently wrote a short piece for Red Pepper magazine on common myths about the benefits system. You can find the piece here, and an unformatted version with added footnotes is available here. More 'mythbusting' - not our favourite term, but still... - will be coming out as part of the benefits stigma project later in Nov 2012.
How many qualitative interviews are enough?
1/7/2012 - I was asked to provide a single page of reflections on 'how many interviews are enough?' for a a publication by the National Centre for Research Methods, edited by Sarah Elsie Baker & Rosalind Edwards. You can download the report from the NCRM repository.
13/12/2011 - My thesis is now available online via LSE theses online, while the web appendices are available here. I'm gradually turning this into academic papers - which are probably easier and definitely faster to read - so get in touch (see above) if you're interested in hearing as these come out.
1/7/2012 - Other than near-weekly posts on the Inequalities blog, I'm occasionally writing for other blogs - the full list is available at , but the most recent or most interesting are:
(i) Let's all be open about what we earn on the Guardian's Comment is Free blog - arguing that one of the reasons that people are relatively relaxed about inequality is that we don't tell each other what we earn. [In the interests of disclosure and not being a complete hypocrite, I'm now on about £35-36k]
(ii) What should a progressive disability policy look like? - while I want to consider this more deeply in early 2013, I've blogged some of my first thoughts on Left Foot Forward and (alongside Declan Gaffney and Kaliya Franklin) on LabourList. [For anyone wondering about the role of political ideologies in research, my views are covered here].
Comments and critiques of these are always welcome - this is what blogging is for!