Professor Tom Cockburn


Tom Cockburn is Professor in Social Sciences at Edge Hill University. He is currently Head of Department of Social Sciences at Edge Hill, after working for fourteen years at the University of Bradford and five years previously at Manchester Metropolitan University. He graduated in Sociology at the University of Manchester in 1991 with a first class degree and was awarded a PhD at the University of Manchester in 1996.

In the UK he has undertaken research into children and young people with The Childrens’ Society, Drugs charities, The Y.E.S. Forum, various local and national government organisations. He has been involved with a number of European projects including an evaluator for the Y.E.S. Forum, a consultant for Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Evangelische Jugendsozialarbeit (BAG EJSA) in Germany. He has published on a wide variety of issues concerning children and young people including: citizenship, theorising participation in public spaces and sport, children’s welfare, children’s associations and politics, youth offending, young people’s involvement in far right extremism, drug use in schools and has developed research methods in partnership with practitioners.

He has published widely in international publications in Germany, France, Holland, amongst others. His single authored book for Palgrave MacMillan entitled `Rethinking Children’s Citizenship: Theory, Rights and Interdependence’ explored theories of children’s citizenship from a broad historical perspective. Currently his research interests involve marginalised children and young people in Europe a European comparative framework. He understands children’s role in civil society and theorising of children’s rights through the prism of feminist and post-colonial approaches.

He currently Chairs and coordinates the European Sociological Association Research Network of the Sociology of Children and Childhood RN04 (with a membership of 160 members).

Publications since 2005


Tom Cockburn (2012) Rethinking Children’s Citizenship: Theory, rights and interdependence, Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Articles in journals

Tom Cockburn (2017) Children and the `Social Cohesion’ Agenda in Sport: Children as agents in sport participation with `ethnically mixed’ sports teams in the North of England. Children and Society. 31(1), pp.50-60

Tom Cockburn (2013) `Authors of their own lives? Children, Contracts, their Responsibilities, Rights and Citizenship’, International Journal on Children’s Rights, Volume 21, 0927-5568

Tom Cockburn (2010) `Childhood Studies’, Sozialwissenschaftliche Literatur Rundschau, Volume 60, pp.74 – 79, 0175-6559

Tom Cockburn and Frances Cleaver (2009) `Young People’s Involvement in Democratic Structures in England’ Forum 21: European Journal on Child and Youth Research, No. 3 June 2009. Pp. 54-60. 60% contribution

Sarah Neale-Smith and Tom Cockburn (2009) `Cultural Sexism in the Airline Industry’, Gender in Management: An International Journal, Vol.24(1): 32-451754-2413

Tom Cockburn (2008) `Fears of Violence among English Young People: Disintegration Theory and British Social Policy, in Wilhelm Heitmeyer and Sandra Legge (eds.) `Youth, Violence and Social Disintegration’, New Directions for Youth Development, No 119, Fall 2008. pp. 75-92. isbn 978-04704-24094. DOI: 10.1002/yd274.

Tom Cockburn (2007) `Partners in Power: A radically pluralistic form of participative democracy for children and young people’, Children and Society, 21(6): 446-457.

Tom Cockburn (2007) `”Performing” Racism: Engaging young supporters of the far right in England’, British Journal of the Sociology of Education, 28(5): 547-560

Tom Cockburn (2005) `Children as Participative Citizens: A radical pluralist case for `child-friendly’ public communication’, Journal of Social Science, Vol.9, pp.19-29.

Tom Cockburn (2005) `New Technologies and the Development of a Children’s “Community of Interest”’, Community Development Journal, Vol.40 (3) pp.329-342.

Tom Cockburn (2005) `Children and the Feminist Ethic of Care’, Childhood: A Global Journal of Child Research, Vol. 12(1) pp.71-89.

Tom Cockburn (2005) `Children’s Participation in Social Policy: Inclusion, chimera or authenticity?’ Social Policy and Society: A journal of the Social Policy Association, Vol. 4(2) pp.109-119.

Chapters in books

Tom Cockburn (2016) `La Cittadinanza nella vita quotidiana dei bambini di comunita asiatiche e altre minoranze etniche nel Regno Unito’. In Maria Carmen Belloni, Roberta Bosisio and Manuala Olagnero (eds) Traguardo Infanzia. Benessere, Partecipazione e Cittadinanza, Torino: Accademia University Press, 64-77.

Tom Cockburn and Frances Cleaver (2012) `Involving Young People in Democratic Political Structures in England’ in Sarah Pickard, Corinne Nativel, Fabienne Portier,Jeunesse et politique(s) au Royaume-Uni et en France aujourd’hui/ Youth Policy and Youth Politics in the UK and France Today, Paris: Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle (PSN)

Tom Cockburn (2010) Children, the Feminist Ethic of Care and Childhood Studies: Is This the Way to the Good Life?, in Sabine Andresen, Isabell Diehm, Uwe Sander  and Holger Ziegler (eds) Children and the Good Life: New Challenges for Research on Children, 29 – 40,  Children’s Well-Being: Indicators and Research

Tom Cockburn (2009) `Children and Deliberative Democracy’ in Barry Percy-Smith and Nigel Thomas Handbook of Children’s Participation: Perspectives from theory and practice, London: Routledge

Tom Cockburn (2007) `Reconstructing Children’s Agency: Boundaries of “rights” and “care”’, in  Clare Beckett, Owen Heathcote and Marie Macey (eds) Negotiating Boundaries: Identities, Sexualities, Diversities, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press.

Tom Cockburn (2006) `Global Childhood? The Role of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child’, in Alan Carling (ed) Globalisation and Identity, London: I.B.Tauris.