Dr Will Atkinson

Dr Will Atkinson

Dr Will Atkinson
Reader in Sociology

1.13, 11 Priory road,
11 Priory Road, Clifton, Bristol
(See a map)


Telephone Number (0117) 331 7598

School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies

Personal profile

ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Bristol 2009-10, Research Associate 2010-11, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow 2012-13, Lecturer in Social Research 2013-16, Reader in Sociology from 2016.


I have broad interests in class inequalities and differences, whether in education, work, culture, politics or self-perception, as part of a larger general concern with systems of power and domination and how they interplay to shape who we are. I work closely with the social theory of Pierre Bourdieu in this regard, though with a phenomenological twist.

I'm the author/editor of Class, Individualization and Late Modernity: In Search of the Reflexive Worker (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), Class Inequality in Austerity Britain (with Steven Roberts and Mike Savage, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), Class (Polity, 2015), Beyond Bourdieu: From Genetic Structuralism to Relational Phenomenology (Polity, 2016), Class in the New Millennium: The Structure, Homologies and Experience of the British Social Space (Routledge, 2017) and Bourdieu and After: A Guide to Relational Phenomenology (Routledge, 2019).

I'm currently working on a comparative analysis of class structures, or 'social spaces', across capitalist nations, with a particular focus on the US, Germany and Sweden. In many ways a logical extension of my work on the UK, the aim is to document convergences and divergences in the shape, effects and experience of class in the different countries. 

I'm also in the early stages of composing a sociological biography of Vincent van Gogh.


Conceptualising the Social (UG)

Class and Social Division (UG)

Contemporary Sociological Theory (PG)

Social Class in Contemporary Society (PG)

I have quite broad interests so welcome inquiries from prospective PhD students on diverse topics. I am, however, more inclined to supervise those that have shared or similar conceptual starting points, even if the precise topic is a little distant from my core interests, than those intrested in class and inequality but with radically opposed theoretical frameworks. 

Latest publications

  1. Atkinson, W, 2019, ‘Time for Bourdieu: insights and oversights’. Time and Society, vol 28., pp. 951-970
  2. Atkinson, W, 2019, ‘Luc Boltanski’s pragmatic sociology: A Bourdieusian critique’. European Journal of Social Theory.
  3. Atkinson, W, 2018, ‘The social space, the symbolic space and masculine domination: the gendered correspondence between class and lifestyles in the UK’. European Societies, vol 20., pp. 478-502
  4. Atkinson, W, 2018, ‘Bourdieu and Schutz: Bringing Together Two Sons of Husserl’. in: The Oxford Handbook of Pierre Bourdieu.
  5. Atkinson, W, 2016, ‘Class and Cuisine in Contemporary Britain Reheated’. The Sociological Review, vol 64., pp. 194-201

Full publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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