Professor Alan Peter France

PhD Sociology and Social Policy, University of Sheffield


  • Professor

I was born and educated in Sheffield in the UK. In 1986 I returned (as a mature student) to higher education and completed my undergraduate and then post-graduate studies at the University of Sheffield. I completed my doctorate in 1994 and after working in Sheffield and Warwick Universities as a Research Fellow I was appointed in 2000 as Lecturer in Applied Sociology at the Department of Sociological Studies in Sheffield.

In 2002 I was instrumental in setting up the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth which brought together fourteen university departments spread across five university Faculties and involved a wide number of international academic partners (USA, Europe and Australia). This centre is still in operation and growing. In 2012 I returned and gave a Keynote Lecture in their International Conference. In 2001 I was also successful in winning the multi million pound ESRC Research Network: Pathways into and Out of Crime. In 2006 I was appointed Professor of Social Policy and Director of the Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP). The centre employed 27 staff and undertook a wide range of national and international social policy research.

I was appointed as Professor of Sociology at the University of Auckland in November 2010. I was HOD of Sociology between July 2011 and December2013. I go on long leave in July 2014 until July 2015

Research | Current

  • Sociology of youth
  • Theories of Bourdieu
  • Youth policies including youth justice
  • Education and employment/unemployment

My main research interests are related to Youth and the Life Course. This covers a wide range of areas and includes youth transitions, youth crime, youth and (sub)culture, youth and new media and youth and policy.

I have been developing a political ecological form of analysis to the youth question drawning on the work of Pierre Bourdieu. My recent book (A Political Ecology of Youth and Crime, Palgrave MacMillan 2012)  explores these ideas in a systematic way by exploring the interrelationship between youth criminal identities and social ecology. This work builds and intersects with a number of other writing projects that I have recently been undertaking around youth crime, risk, and citizenship.

I am also presently writing my next book - Understanding Youth in Global Crisis (Policy Press) which is due to published in 2016. This book is exploring the impact of polcies of austerity across the world to examing the chaging nature of what it means to be young in late modernity

Teaching | Current

SOCIOL 334 Youth Sociology

SOCIOL 747 Political Ecology of Youth and Policy

Areas of expertise

Sociology of Youth, Theories of Bourdieu, Youth Policies including Youth Justice, Education and Employment/ Unemployment

Committees/Professional groups/Services

 Journal of Youth Studies Editorial Board Member

Youth Justice Editorial Board Member



Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • France, A., & Roberts, S. (2017). Youth and social class: Enduring inequality in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Pages: 146.
  • France, A. (2017). Youth, social change and inequality. Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, 33 (1), 87-94. 10.1080/21699763.2017.1288161
  • France, A., & Threadgold, S. (2016). Youth and political economy: Towards a Bourdieusian approach. Journal of Youth Studies, 19 (5), 612-628. 10.1080/13676261.2015.1098779
  • France, A. (2016). Understanding youth in the global economic crisis. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.
  • France, A., & Roberts, S. (2015). The problem of social generations: a critique of the new emerging orthodoxy in youth studies. Journal of Youth Studies, 18 (2), 215-230. 10.1080/13676261.2014.944122
  • France, A. (2015). Theorising and researching the youth crime nexus: Habitus, reflexivity and the political ecology of social practices. In C. Costa, M. Murphy (Eds.) Bourdieu, habitus and social research: The art of application (pp. 74-91). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9781137496928_5
  • Bottrell, D., & France, A. (2015). Bourdieurian cultural transitions: Young people negotiating 'Fields' in their pathways into an out of crime. In D. Woodman, A. Bennett (Eds.) Youth cultures, transitions, and generations: Bridging the gap in youth research (pp. 99-112). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • France, A., & Roberts, S. (2015). The problem of social generations: A critique of the new emerging orthodoxy in youth studies. Journal of Youth Studies, 18 (2), 215-230. 10.1080/13676261.2014.944122

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 9, Room 951
New Zealand