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Professor Sylvia Walby OBE

Distinguished Professor, UNESCO Chair of Gender Research, Associate Director, Director Violence and Society UNESCO Centre

Sylvia Walby

Lancaster University

Bowland North



Tel: +44 1524 593442

PhD supervision

Research students are welcome in all areas of my research interests including: gender violence and security; gendered political economy; policies towards equalities; sociology of the EU; and complexity theory.

Research Interests


Sylvia Walby: Distinguished Professor of Sociology and UNESCO Chair in Gender Research, Violence & Society UNESCO Centre, Lancaster University, UK


Violence & Society UNESCO Centre


The ‘Violence & Society UNESCO Centre’ has been developed from the critical mass of researchers working on ‘violence and society’, meeting in regular workshops and collaborating in a range of funded research projects.   

We have been developing a new approach to violence and society that analyses the interconnections between different forms of violence and other aspects of society. What drives changes in the rate of violence? For example: Walby, S. (2013) ‘Violence and society: Introduction to an emerging field of sociology’, Current Sociology, 61(2): 95-111. http://csi.sagepub.com/content/61/2/95.short; Walby, S. (2015) Crisis. Cambridge: Polity Press. https://www.polity.co.uk/book.asp?ref=9780745647609; Walby, S. (2009) Globalization and Inequalities: Complexity and Contested Modernities. London: Sage. https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/globalization-and-inequalities/book204568.


New methods have been developed to measure violence that make visible the previously hidden extent of gender-based violence. For example: Walby, S., J. Towers, B. Francis (2016) ‘Is violent crime increasing or decreasing? A new methodology to measure repeat attacks making visible the significance of gender and domestic relations’, British Journal of Criminology.http://bjc.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/01/31/bjc.azv131.full.pdf+html   Walby, S., J. Towers, B. Francis (2014) ‘Mainstreaming domestic and gender based violence into Sociology and the Criminology of violence’, The Sociological Review, 62(S2): 187-214. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-954X.12198/pdf.


We work with policy makers in the UN, EU and UK, to develop new approaches to ending violence. For example: Walby, S., P. Olive, J. Towers, B. Francis, S. Strid, A. Krizsan, E. Lombardo, C. May-Chahal, S. Franzway, D. Sugarman, B. Agarwal and J. Armstrong (2015) Stopping Rape: Towards a Comprehensive Policy. Policy Press: Bristol. http://www.policypress.co.uk/display.asp?k=9781447322092


Research funding has been awarded from a range of sources: Economic and Social Research Council, Home Office, Equality and Human Rights Commission, Northern Rock Foundation, Trust for London, European Commission, European Parliament, European Institute for Gender Equality, Council of Europe, UNDAW, UNECE, UN Women, and UNESCO.


We are part of new institutional developments at Lancaster in the Institute for Social Futures (Associate responsible for ‘the futures of violence’) and Security Lancaster (Associate Director co-responsible for ‘violence and society’).


Sylvia Walby also contributes to the development of social science: Member HEFCE REF2014 sub-panel for Sociology; Fellow, Academy of Social Sciences (2008); President of the International Sociological Association Research Committee 02 Economy and Society (2006-10); Founding President, European Sociological Association (1995-7); Chair, Women’s Studies Network, UK (1989-90). I engage with public issues: Steering Committee ONS Review of Domestic Abuse Statistics (2015-6); Board of Directors, UK National Commission for UNESCO (2011-3); OBE for services to equal opportunities and diversity (2008); Fellow, Royal Society of Arts (1996).


We develop teaching in new areas: ‘Violence and society’ (undergraduate) and ‘gender and violence’ (postgraduate). We welcome research students seeking PhD supervision.


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