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portrait of Dr Rachel Cohen

Dr Rachel Cohen

Reader and Head of Department

School of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Sociology

Contact Information


Visit Rachel Cohen

D614, Rhind Building

Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom



Dr Cohen is Head of the Department of Sociology.

Dr Cohen joined City, University of London in January 2013. She has previously worked as a lecturer at the University of Surrey and the University of Warwick and visiting lecturer at St Petersburg State University. She obtained an MA and then PhD (both in Sociology) from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and between 2007and 2010 Dr Cohen was a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

Dr Cohen's main interests are in the sociology of work and employment; especially 'non-standard' work, including self-employment, mobile work, and homeworking and in work-life boundaries. Her PhD focused on the working lives and employment relations of hairdressers. Her current research explores similar issues in the working lives of car mechanics and accountants. Her research involves a mixed-methods approach.

Dr Cohen has co-edited a special issue of Sociology of Health and Illness on 'body work' (work which takes the bodies of others as its object), and an issue of The International Journal of Social Research Methodology on feminism and quantitative methods and an issue of American Behavioral Scientist on Everyday Self-Employment. These form part of ongoing collaborative projects. Dr Cohen is interested in and has written about statistical literacy. She has also written on gender and sport.

Dr Cohen is a Convenor of the BSA Study Group on Work, Employment and Economic Life. She is a co-organiser of the 2018 Work, Employment and Society Conference in Belfast. She is on the editorial board of the European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology and was on the editorial board of Work, Employment and Society (2010-2016) and editor of Radical Statistics (2012-2016)

In 2013 Dr Cohen was PI and founding Coordinator of City Q-Step Centre ( In 2017 Eric Harrison took over from her as Coordinator.

Dr Cohen is also active in the UCU, and is a member of the City UCU Executive Committee and was a member of the National Executive Committee (2018-18).


  1. PhD Sociology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, United States, 1997 – 2005
  2. MA Sociology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, United States, 1995 – 1997
  3. BA Politics and Modern History, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom, 1990 – 1993

Postgraduate training

  1. Postgraduate Certificate in Academic and Professional Training, University of Warwick, Coventry, Coventry, United Kingdom, 2005 – 2006

Administrative roles

  1. Head of Department of Sociology, City, University of London, Sep 2017 – present
  2. City Q-Step Centre Coordinator, City, University of London, Sep 2013 – Sep 2017
  3. Undergraduate Programme Director, City, University of London, May 2013 – Aug 2016


Research interests

- employment relations and non-standard work (e.g. self-employment, homework and mobile work)
- work-life boundaries
- the times and spaces of work
- occupational labour process variation
- body work'/'body labour'
- worker-customer relations, including 'emotional labour'
- quantitative methods and learning in sociology
- feminist research methods
- mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) research
- gender and sport.

Areas of PhD supervision

Dr Cohen has broad sociological interests and welcome requests to supervise PhDs. Students working in the area of the sociology of work and employment or economic or Marxist sociology are particularly welcome, especially projects which involve non-standard work (e.g. self-employment, mobile work, homeworking, sub-contracting), body work/labour, emotional work/labour, work-life boundaries, the times and spaces of work or the labour process.

Research Students

Liz Gilfillan

Thesis title: A statistical study of the relationship between ethnic diversity and social quality in local areas in England

Delaram Ghanimifard

Thesis title: Representations of Power Relations in Tehran Urban Spaces

Nongluck Pussayapibul

Thesis title: Quality of Life Strategy for Camden’s Older Citizens

Gabriella Caminotto

Thesis title: Doing 'women's work': Gendered discourses in UK higher education administration

Rima Saini

Thesis title: Negotiating visible minority ethnic and ‘middle-class’ social identity in the UK


Books (4)

  1. Wolkowitz, C., Cohen, R., Sanders, T. and Hardy, K. (Eds.), (2013). Body/Sex/Work: Intimate, embodied and sexualised labour. London: Palgrave. ISBN 978-1-137-02190-8.
  2. Hughes, C. and Cohen, R.L. (Eds.), (2013). Feminism Counts Quantitative Methods and Researching Gender. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-98621-8.
  3. (2013). Body/Sex/Work. Macmillan Education UK. ISBN 978-1-137-02190-8.
  4. Twigg, J., Wolkowitz, C., Cohen, R.L. and Nettleton, S. (Eds.), (2011). Body Work in Health and Social Care Critical Themes, New Agendas. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-4443-4584-1.

Chapters (7)

  1. Cohen, R. (2015). Towards a quantitative feminist sociology: the possibilities of a methodological oxymoron. In McKie, L. and Ryan, L. (Eds.), An End to the Crisis of Empirical Sociology? Trends and Challenges in Social Research (pp. 117–135). London: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-138-82867-4.
  2. Cohen, R.L., Hardy, K., Sanders, T. and Wolkowitz, C. (2013). The Body/Sex/Work Nexus: A Critical Perspective on Body Work and Sex Work. Body/Sex/Work (pp. 3–27). Macmillan Education UK. ISBN 978-1-137-02190-8.
  3. Sanders, T., Cohen, R.L. and Hardy, K. (2013). Hairdressing/Undressing: Comparing Labour Relations in Self-Employed Body Work. Body/Sex/Work (pp. 110–125). Macmillan Education UK. ISBN 978-1-137-02190-8.
  4. Cohen, R.L. (2011). Time, Space and Touch at Work: Body Work and Labour Process (Re)Organisation. Body Work in Health and Social Care: Critical Themes, New Agendas (pp. 19–35). ISBN 978-1-4443-4987-0.
  5. Twigg, J., Wolkowitz, C., Cohen, R.L. and Nettleton, S. (2011). Conceptualising Body Work in Health and Social Care. Body Work in Health and Social Care: Critical Themes, New Agendas (pp. 1–18). ISBN 978-1-4443-4987-0.
  6. Cohen, R.L. (2008). Work relations and the multiple dimensions of the work-life boundary: Hairstyling at home. In Warhurst, C., Eikhof, D.R. and Haunschild, A. (Eds.), Work less, live more? (pp. 115–135). Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN 978-0-230-53560-2.
  7. Cohen, R. Types of work and labour. In Gall, G. (Ed.), HANDBOOK ON THE POLITICS OF LABOUR, WORK AND EMPLOYMENT London: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.

Journal articles (14)

  1. Cohen, R.L. (2020). ‘We’re not like that’: Crusader and Maverick Occupational Identity Resistance. Sociological Research Online, 25(1), pp. 136–153. doi:10.1177/1360780419867959.
  2. Bozkurt, Ö. and Lara Cohen, R. (2019). Repair work as good work: Craft and love in classic car restoration training. Human Relations, 72(6), pp. 1105–1128. doi:10.1177/0018726718786552.
  3. Cohen, R.L. (2019). Spatio–Temporal Unboundedness: A Feature, Not a Bug, of Self-Employment. American Behavioral Scientist, 63(2), pp. 262–284. doi:10.1177/0002764218794781.
  4. Cohen, R.L., Hardy, K. and Valdez, Z. (2019). Introduction to the Special Issue: Everyday Self-Employment. American Behavioral Scientist, 63(2), pp. 119–128. doi:10.1177/0002764218794786.
  5. Cohen, R.L. and Wolkowitz, C. (2018). The Feminization of Body Work. Gender, Work & Organization, 25(1), pp. 42–62. doi:10.1111/gwao.12186.
  6. Cohen, R.L. (2014). Playing with Numbers: Using Top Trumps as an Ice-Breaker and Introduction to Quantitative Methods. Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences, 6(2), pp. 21–29. doi:10.11120/elss.2014.00030.
  7. Cohen, R.L. (2013). Femininity, Childhood and the Non-Making of a Sporting Celebrity: The Beth Tweddle Case. Sociological Research Online, 18(3).

    [publisher’s website]

  8. Cohen, R.L., Hughes, C. and Lampard, R. (2011). The methodological impact of feminism: A troubling issue for sociology? Sociology, 45(4), pp. 570–586. doi:10.1177/0038038511406599.
  9. Cohen, R.L. (2011). Time, space and touch at work: Body work and labour process (re)organisation. Sociology of Health and Illness, 33(2), pp. 189–205. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9566.2010.01306.x.
  10. Twigg, J., Wolkowitz, C., Cohen, R.L. and Nettleton, S. (2011). Conceptualising body work in health and social care. Sociology of Health and Illness, 33(2), pp. 171–188. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9566.2010.01323.x.
  11. Hughes, C. and Cohen, R.L. (2010). Feminists really do count: The complexity of feminist methodologies. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 13(3), pp. 189–196. doi:10.1080/13645579.2010.482249.
  12. Cohen, R.L. (2010). When it pays to be friendly: employment relationships and emotional labour in hairstyling. SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW, 58(2), pp. 197–218. doi:10.1111/j.1467-954X.2010.01900.x.
  13. Cohen, R.L. (2010). Rethinking 'mobile work': Boundaries of space, time and social relation in the working lives of mobile hairstylists. Work, Employment and Society, 24(1), pp. 65–84. doi:10.1177/0950017009353658.
  14. Cohen, R.L. (2008). Changing Places of Work - By Alan Felstead, Nick Jewson and Sally Walters. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 46(3), pp. 557–559. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8543.2008.00690_2.x.


Undergraduate 2013/2014

Sociology in Action, Quantitative Analysis of Research Data, Work and Workers in the 21st Century

Postgraduate 2013/2014

Analysing Data - Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches

Other Activities

Editorial activity (3)

  1. European Journal for Cultural and Political Sociology, Editorial Board Member, 2013 – present.
  2. Work, Employment and Society, Editorial Board Member, 2010 – present.
  3. Radical Statistics, Editor.

Online articles (4)

  1. UK Self-Employment Boom: Why This Labour Market Trend is Worrying. (2014). International Business Times
  2. Crises in care: compassion and body work. (2015). Discover Society
  3. #RealBurghley isn’t about Damian Lewis or class war. It’s about our brilliant school. (2016). The Guardian
  4. CareRooms initiative is another assault on domestic labour. (2017). The Conversation