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Friday, 26 June 2015

Liverpool Hope launch PhD Scholarships in Social Work, Care and Justice

Written by The Editorial Team

Liverpool Hope University (LHU) has launched a series of PhD Scholarships and is looking for applications from outstanding individuals of a high calibre to pursue PhD research in Social Work, Care and Justice.

LHU are seeking confident, innovative postgraduates with a record of achievement to undertake a broad range of thematic and inter-disciplinary projects. This call is open to both UK/EU and international applicants.

Over the coming weeks LHU will profile the details of these areas of research on their website, but in the the meantime here is an overview:

  • School Governance, Community Cohesion and Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development
    Principal Investigators: Professor George Mair and Dr David Lundie

    The project aims to explore the complex plurality of structures which set the ethos and value of publicly funded schools in England. Working with colleagues in the philosophy and sociology of education, there is broad scope for the doctoral student to explore topics such as:
    • the development of culturally sensitive resources to support the development of school governors at the nexus of engagement between community and school leadership;
    • the relationship between religion, community and commonality in the governance and values of education, problematising the faith/state school dichotomy;
    • developing shared models of understanding the National Curriculum goal of the ‘spiritual, moral, social and cultural development’ of young people, identifying points of consensus and disjuncture between practitioners, policy and community;
    • exploring contested conceptions and definitions of citizenship, community and ‘British values’ in policy and practice;
    • how the discourse of ‘protecting frontline services’ which dominates politics in an age of austerity conceals rapid changes in the support and governance of schools.

The student will be co-located in the Centre for Education Policy Analysis and the Department of Social Science, and will benefit from a confluence of academic expertise in ethnography, local governance, religion in education, moral and character education and post-secularity across the two departments.

  • The Use and Impact of Low-Level Sentences on Offenders
    Principal Investigators: Professor George Mair and Dr Esther Van Ginneken

    There are a number of potential candidates for the title of most significant penological development since 1945, but a strong case could be made for the decrease in the use of the fine. In 1970, almost nine out of ten (87%) sentences passed at the magistrates’ courts were fines – a total of 1.43 million. By 2013, the total number of fines passed by magistrates was 791,017 – almost half the number for 1970.

    Yet despite this dramatic fall in use the fine remains the most commonly used court sentence. The use of conditional and absolute discharges has fluctuated and while they have been decreasing over the past 20 years, there were still around 80,000 made in 2013.

    Very little is known about the use of such low-level sentences as a great deal of criminological research has been devoted to imprisonment and probation-based sentences. Yet their significance is considerable.

    This project would seek to explore a number of key questions around low-level sentences. Why do sentencers use them (or not)? How do offenders view such sentences? How has the increasingly punitive nature of sentencing impacted on low-level sentences? What about the effect of penalty notices for disorder? Is it possible to rejuvenate the fine and the discharge ? Could this lead to a reduction in the use of custody ?
  • The Third Sector in welfare provision: History and development of PSS
    Principal Investigators: Professor Michael Lavalette and Dr Joe Greener

    This PhD offers a unique opportunity for a researcher to produced a focussed piece of historical work on the development of PSS and its shifting relationship to the 'welfare state' in its various guises.

    PSS is one of the oldest established voluntary sector organisations in Merseyside. Formed in 1919 under the guidance of Eleanor Rathbone, it has been involved in establishing some of the most innovative and creative approaches to social welfare issues in Britain. The Citizen's Advice Bureau and Relate, for example, are two contemporary organisations whose origins rest in PSS. This project will involve liaison with PSS with the intention of establishing a historical account of the organisation, it's projects and the role played by workers and service users in the development of the organisation.

    This project will be undertaken with the full support of PSS. Part of the project will offer prospective research students the opportunity to publish a history of the organisation as part of the organisations centenary celebrations.

    PSS has substantial archives which will be heavily utilised through out the programme. The archives cover the wide range of projects PSS has developed, but also personal memoirs of workers and activists describing the lives of some of the poorest communities in Liverpool and the activities of PSS workers to support service users in times of hardship and difficulty.

    More recently PSS has been involved in developing welfar services that recognise the importance of service users in he provision and delivery of services.

    This project would appeal to a highly motivated graduate of social work, social policy or modern British history. 

You can find full details about the Scholarships by contacting Mr Chris Lowry at: