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Jane Pilcher

Jane Pilcher

Associate Professor

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)
Social and Political Sciences


Dr. Jane Pilcher is Associate Professor of Sociology in the School of Social Sciences. Her role is to provide research leadership and to engage in research-related activity in furtherance of the School's research strategy. Jane also delivers research informed teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Career overview

Jane began her academic career as a researcher and tutorial assistant at Cardiff University. Next came the University of Leicester, where Jane progressed from Lecturer to Associate Professor (despite choosing, for work-life balance reasons, to work part-time for many years). In 2015, Jane was awarded a Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. She moved to Nottingham Trent University as Associate Professor of Sociology in the School of Social Sciences in 2019.

Research areas

Jane's primary research interests are the sociology of gender (identities, relationships and inequalities), and the sociology of age, ageing and the life course. These two, often intersecting, fields of interest have led to funded research and/or published work on a range of topics, including:

  • names, gender identities and inequalities
  • gendered childhoods
  • gender, generations and feminism
  • Mannheim and the sociology of generations
  • the social significance of age in contemporary Britain
  • historical constructions of childhood in relation to school sex and health education
  • youth transitions
  • the provision of contraception to under 16s
  • key concepts in gender studies
  • gender and qualitative research
  • the gendering of career choices
  • the inter-generational dynamics of consumption in families
  • the socio-cultural significance of children as consuming agents of clothing fashions
  • girls, clothing and the sexualisation of childhood.

Current research

Jane has more recently developed an expertise in personal naming practices, in terms of identities and bodies, gendered forenames, and also family surname choices in the context of greater diversity and flexibility in contemporary gender identities and family relationships. She is also examining experiences and impacts of naming practices in adoption. Arising from this specialist interest in naming, Jane has appeared on the BBC Radio 4 programmes, Woman’s Hour and Thinking Allowed, and on BBC One's The One Show. Jane's article on 'Names, Bodies and Identities' was shortlisted for the 2017 SAGE Prize for Innovation and Excellence.

PhD. supervision

Jane is interested in supervising PhD. research students within the broad fields of the sociology of gender (for indicative topics, see research interests listed above), and the sociology of age (which includes cohorts and generations like the Baby Boomers and the Millennials), ageing, and the life course (from childhood, through to later life, old age, dying and death). Jane is especially keen to hear from research students who are interested in personal naming practices.

Jane has previously supervised, or examined, PhDs on a range of topics including: anorexia nervosa, the Jordanian women's movement, young women's participation in social movements, the gendering of the household division of labour, a multi-generational study of British Muslim women, ageing women punks, tween-age girls and fashion, the cultural construction of mothering, vegan identities and practices.

Opportunities arise to carry out postgraduate research towards an MPhil./PhD. in the areas identified above. Further information may be obtained on the NTU Research Degrees website.

External activity

Jane is a member of the British Sociological Association, the Campaign for Social Science, and the International Sociological Association. She has been an Associate Editorial Board member for the journals Sociological Research Online, and Sociology. Jane also referees journal articles by invitation for the editors of, for example, the American Journal of Sociology, Childhood, Current Sociology, Gender and Education, Sex Roles.

Jane acts as a sociology consultant to businesses and organisations, and the media, publishers and research funding bodies.

Previously, Jane collaborated with Leicester Ageing Together, including in the development of a community researcher programme to evaluate issues that matter to older people. She was also a member of the Working Group for the Campaign for Social Science, which produced a report on the value of social sciences in the run-up to the 2015 General Election.


Refereed Journal Articles

2020    'Names and naming in adoption: birth heritage and family-making', Child & Family Social Work, early view online.

2017    ‘Names and “Doing Gender”: How Forenames and Surnames Contribute to Gender Identities, Difference, and Inequalities’, Sex Roles 77 (11), 812-822.

2016    'Names, Bodies and Identities', Sociology 50 (4): 764-779 (Shortlisted for the 2016 SAGE Prize for Innovation and Excellence).

2013    ‘Small but Very Determined: a novel theorisation of children’s consumption of clothing’, Cultural Sociology, 7 (1): 86-100

2011    ‘No Logo? Children's Consumption of Fashion', Childhood 18 (1): 128-141

2010    ‘What Not to Wear? Girls, Clothing and Showing the Body, Children and Society 24 (6): 461-470.

2007    ‘Body Work: Childhood, Gender and School Health Education in England, 1870 to 1977’, Childhood 14 (2): 215-233

2005    ‘School Sex Education: Policy and Practice in England 1870-2000’, Sex Education 5 (2): 157-174.

2004     ‘Sex in Health Education: Official Guidance for Schools in England, 1928-1977’, Journal of Historical Sociology 17 (3):185-208.

2003    ‘Rethinking Adulthood: Families, Transitions and Social Change’ (co-author with J. Williams and C. Pole), Sociological Research On-line 8 (4),

2000    ‘Change Slow A-Coming’: Domestic Divisions of Labour in the Twentieth Century’, Work, Employment and Society 14 (4): 771-780.

1998    ‘Gender Matters? Three Cohorts of Women Talking About Role Reversal’, Sociological Research On-line 3 (1),

1997    ‘Contrary to Gillick: British Children’s Sexual Rights Since 1985’, International Journal of Children’s Rights 5 (3): 299-317.

1996    ‘Transitions to and from the Labour Market: Younger and Older People and Employment’, Work, Employment and Society 10 (1): 161-173.

1995    'The Gender Significance of Women in Power: Women Talking About Margaret Thatcher', European Journal of Women's Studies 2 (4): 493.

1994    'Mannheim's Sociology of Generations: An Undervalued Legacy', British Journal of Sociology 45: 481-494.


2018   Gender and Qualitative Research, Routledge Revivals, London: Routledge (co-editor with A. Coffey).

2017   Key Concepts in Gender Studies, 2nd edition, London: Sage (co-author with I. Whelehan).

2014  Thatcher’s Grandchildren? Politics, Childhood and Society Since 2000, London: Palgrave (co-editor with S. Wagg).

2005  Young People In Transition. Becoming Citizens, Basingstoke: Palgrave (co-editor with C. Pole and J. Williams).

2004 Fifty Key Concepts in Gender Studies, London: Sage (co-author with I. Whelehan).

1999 Women in Contemporary Britain. An Introduction, London: Routledge.

1998   Women of Their Time. Generation, Gender Issues, and Feminism, Aldershot: Ashgate,

1996 Thatcher’s Children? Politics, Childhood and Society in the 1980s and 1990s, London:      Falmer Press (co-editor with S. Wagg).

1996  Gender and Qualitative Research, Aldershot: Avebury (co-editor with A. Coffey).

1995  Age and Generation in Modern Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press.


2014  ‘The Politics of Children’s Clothing’ in Wagg, S. and Pilcher, J. (eds.) Thatcher’s Grandchildren? Politics, Childhood and Society Since 2000,      London: Palgrave.

2001   ‘Explaining Gender and Gender Inequalities’ in Giddens, A. (ed.) Sociology. Introductory Readings, Cambridge: Polity, pp71-77.

1996   ‘Gillick and After: Children and Sex in the 1980s and 1990s’ in Pilcher, J. and Wagg, S. (eds.) Thatcher’s Children? Politics, Childhood and Society in the 1980s and 1990s, Falmer Press pp77-93.

1994   'Who Should Do the Dishes? Three Generations of Welsh Women Talking About Men and Housework' in Aaron, J., Betts, S., Rees, T. and Vincentelli, M. (eds.) Our Sisters' Land. The Changing Identities of Women in Wales, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, pp31-47.

Selected Other Publications

2017  ‘Before You Name Your Baby, Consider This’, The Conversation, 20 September

2004  New Consumers? The Social and Cultural Significance of Children’s Fashion Consumption, (with Boden, S., Pole, C. and Edwards, T.) Working Paper Series, ESRC/AHRB Cultures of Consumption Programme.

2004    ‘The Uses of Sociology’, Sociology Review 14 (1):1-4.

2000    ‘Blair’s Babes’: Formal Politics and Femininity in Britain’, Sociology Review 9 (3): 15-18.

1998    ‘Understanding Later Life’, Reviewing Sociology 11 (1).

1998     ‘Hormones or Hegemonic Masculinity? Explaining Gender Inequality’, Sociology Review 7: 5-9.

1995    ‘Growing Up and Growing Older: the sociology of age’, Sociology Review 5: 8-13.

1993    ‘"I'm not a feminist but...". Understanding Feminism’, Sociology Review 3: 2-6.

1990   Career Choices for Schoolgirls: So You Want to Run a Women's Training Roadshow? A Handbook for Organising Careers Conventions to Promote Equal Opportunities in Training and Employment for Girls and Women (with Delamont, S., Powell, G. and Rees, T.), Welsh Office, Cardiff.

See all of Dr. Jane Pilcher's publications...

Press expertise

  • childhood, including children and fashion
  • youth and transitions to adulthood
  • generations, including Baby Boomers and Millennials
  • the ageing of the population
  • personal names, including baby names
  • gender identities and inequalities