As a sociologist working in education I have completed doctoral research on the A-Level learning career; in particular, I am interested in the way students make sense of the curriculum, specifically the way they experience the combination of subjects they have chosen. I have a great deal of experience teaching different subjects at A-level, which means teaching the same students in more than one subject. Published papers (in Changing English and English in Education) are based on an interview study with A-Level English students; here, concerned with the way they presented themselves as students of literature, I discussed the importance of the assessment regime. The latest (delayed) stage of this research is about to begin.

My most recent publication, on education policy, is in Power and Education (October 2018).

I am also interested in curriculum history; work-in-progress includes a history of the A-Level.

This blog will also include reviews and other writings outside education. I have completed a page-by-page analysis of Pynchon’s Against The Day. This work was, in the first instance, posted section-by-section on pynchon-l, and can be found in its entirety on (many thanks to Michel Ryckx). My analysis of Against The Day illustrates an interest in narrative theory that I developed as an interviewer (and perhaps my approach to interviewing has been shaped by the way I read fiction). I am currently working on a full-length study of Pynchon’s work (provisional title something like ‘Pynchon’s American century’ to address the way his fiction has engaged with post-1945 politics and history); to this end I am currently engaged in a page-by-page analysis of Mason & Dixon.

You will find that my work has been influenced, in different ways at different times, by Foucault, Bourdieu, Bernstein, Denzin, Bloomer, among many others.

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