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Dr Sadiya Akram, BA, MA, PhD (Birmingham)

Lecturer in British Politics

Tel: 020 7882 5601
Location: Arts One, 2.20A


Sadiya Akram

Office Hours: Monday 11am-12pm & Friday 4-5pm

Prior to joining Queen Mary in 2015, Sadiya was a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Governance and Policy Analysis (IGPA) at the University of Canberra, Australia, where she worked on a project documenting new and alternative forms of political participation in a cross-national study of the UK, Australia and Denmark.  She now holds a position as an Adjunct Fellow at IGPA, University of Canberra. Before this, she was a lecturer in Politics and Sociology at POLSIS, the University of Birmingham.  Sadiya completed her ESRC funded PhD at the University of Birmingham (2010) during which time she was twice a Visiting Fellow at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australia National University.  

Sadiya’s research interests are in new and alternative forms of political participation, focusing on case studies from the UK such as 38 Degrees and Mumsnet.  She has also conducted work on rioting as a form of political mobilisation. The theorisation of agency and specifically the neglect of pre-conscious as a characteristic of agency represent another core strand of her research. Sadiya is also interested in theoretical and empirical debates on power and how to measure it.


Undergraduate teaching:

POL107 Background to British Politics
POL243 British Politics

Postgraduate teaching:

POLM065 British Politics - Theory and Practice


Research interests:

New and Alternative forms of political participation: theoretically-driven work exploring non-conventional forms of political participation and, activism such as grassroots movements (OccupyLondon, UK Uncut), online mobilisation (38 Degrees, Mumsnet) and rioting

Concepts of agency: explored using two case studies:  a) using habitus to understand the political rioter; and b) understanding pre-conscious bias as an obstacle to women’s career progression.

Theorising power: i) a critique of Steven Lukes’ third face of power – arguing that the pre-conscious habitus is a useful theoretical/methodological approach to use to explore the third face.

Examples of research funding:

  • Jan 2013 to Jan 2015, Australian Research Council Post-doctoral Fellowship (ARC)
  • Oct 2006 to Sept 2010, ESRC PhD Scholarship


Journal Articles

Akram, S and Hogan, A. (2015). On Reflexivity and the Conduct of the Self in Everyday Life: Reflections on Bourdieu and Archer. British Journal of Sociology.

Marsh, D, Akram, S and Birkett, H.  (2015). The Structural Power of Business: Taking Structure, Agency and Ideas Seriously. Business and Politics.

Akram, S. (2014). Recognising the 2011 UK Riots as Political Protest: A Theoretical Framework based on Agency, Habitus and the Pre-conscious. British Journal of Criminology.

Akram, S and McCaffrie, B. (2014) Crisis of democracy? Recognising the democratic potential of alternative forms of political participation. Democratic Theory.  

Marsh, D. and Akram, S. (2014). The Thatcher Legacy in Perspective. British Politics. Vol. 10, 52-63.

Akram, S. (2012). Fully Unconscious and Prone to Habit: The Characteristics of Agency in the Structure and Agency Dialectic. Journal for the Theory for Social Behaviour. Vol. 43 (1). pp.45-65.

Book chapters

Akram, S. Marsh, D. and McCaffrie, B. (2014). ‘Crisis Talks, Are We Listening? A Crisis of Apathy or Engagement: Interrogating Trends in Political Participation’ in Richards, D. ed.  Institutional Crisis in Twenty First Century Britain. London: Palgrave.   

Akram, S. (2014). 38 Degrees. Encyclopedia of Social Media and Politics. Harvey, K (ed.) Sage.

Akram, S. (2014).  A Methodology for Accessing the Pre-conscious: Obstacles to Senior Women’s Career Progression. SAGE Cases in Methodology. London: Sage.

Akram, S. (2012). ‘Riots’ or ‘Urban Disorders’? The Case for Re-Politicizing Urban Disorders in Furlong, A (ed.), Handbook of Youth and Young Adulthood, London: Routledge.  

PhD Supervision

I very much welcome applications from prospective PhD students in any of my areas of interest. I would especially like to hear from students interested in pursuing doctoral study on:

  • New and alternative forms of political participation
  • Theorisations of agency

Public engagement

Convenor for the Political Behaviour/Agency Theory Group  (collaboration between myself and colleague at London South Bank University)

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