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Dr Samuel Kirwan

Dr Samuel Kirwan

Dr Samuel Kirwan
BA(Leeds), MSc(Bristol), PhD(Bristol)


Area of research

Living in Debt

Office Room 2G7, 12 Woodland Road
School for Policy Studies,
8 Priory Road, Bristol BS8 1TZ
(See a map)

+44 (0) 1173311096




I am interested in practices, policies and experiences at the intersection of debt and welfare; where indebted lives are shaped by benefits systems, and where social security is re-framed as a debtor/creditor relationship.

I am currently working as a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow carrying out a project entitled 'A Sociology of Everyday Indebtedness', a project begun at the University of Warwick. The project investigates how households deal with and experience different debts, with a particular focus upon:

  • The growing problem of 'priority' debts, principally Council Tax and rent arrears
  • Understandings of the Debt Relief Order and other insolvency measures
  • How debt shapes familial and social relations
  • Changes in the temporal structures of debt
  • The criminalisation of debt

Between 2013 and 2016 I worked at the University of Bristol on the "New Sites of Legal Consciousness' Project, looking at the work and experience of advisers with the Citizens Advice Service.

My work draws particularly upon the writings of Lisa Adkins, Michel Foucault and Loïc Wacquant. I incorporate this work into my teaching on the course Key Thinkers in Criminology.


  • Debt
  • Advice
  • Governmentality
  • Criminalisation

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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