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 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.

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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