Research at Leeds Beckett
Dr Darren Nixon
About Dr Darren Nixon
Dr Darren Nixon is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Leeds Beckett University. His research interests centre on the sociology of work and particularly the interrelationships between work, gender, class and identity in the 'new economy'.
Dr Nixon has a B.Soc.Sc (Sociology) , MA (Econ) Applied Social Research and a PhD (Sociology) all of which he gained from the University of Manchester. After lecturing in Manchester for a couple of years he joined our University in 2006. Dr Nixon's doctoral research was funded by the ESRC and explored the consequences of the growth of the 'service economy' for low-skilled unemployed men in Manchester. The PhD documented how previously low-skill men have clustered in particular male-dominated areas of manual work in manufacturing. However de-industrialisation has proven highly problematic for such men as male-dominated manual employment has declined dramatically, significantly swelling the numbers of low-skill men not in work since the late 1970s. Equally the rise of the 'service economy' has also proved to be highly problematic for low-skill men as the key areas of low-skill employment growth in recent years have been female-dominated areas of service work that are argued to require 'feminine' skills (attributes and competencies commonly associated with women). These trends have been described as constituting the 'feminisation of work' and a 'crisis of masculinity'.
Dr Nixon is Research Ethics Co-ordinator for the School of Social Science and external examiner for the sociology degree at the University of Sunderland. He teaches on many of the core modules on the sociology degree at Leeds Beckett University including: Global Capitalism, Culture Media Society, Origins and Development of Sociology, Modernities, Research Strategies: Theory Methods, Social Futures, The Sociology of Work and Organisations.
Dr Nixon's research has sought to explain sociologically how and why the growth of the 'service economy' and the continuation of historical patterns of occupational segregation by sex are creating new forms of inclusion and exclusion in the contemporary economy. His research deconstructs the concept of 'working-class masculinity' to show how and why it may be at odds with the skills, attributes and competencies demanded in many forms of low-skill work in the contemporary economy, contributing to the large-scale labour market detachment of low-skill men. Dr Nixon has presented his work at a range of national and international conferences, HE institutions and policy institutes. Dr Nixon's work has important implications for unemployment policy. Last year he was invited to present his work to the Department for Work and Pensions in both Whitehall and Leeds. He is currently working on a co-authored text book The Sociology of Work and his own sole-authored book - Work, Identity & Economic Change: Working-class men in the post-industrial economy. He is also further developing themes from his doctoral research through collaborative papers with colleagues in Australia and Sheffield.