Dr Robin James Smith
Lecturer in Sociology
I am currently a Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Social Sciences. I teach a number of modules concerning ethnography, everyday life, Interactionist theory, qualitative research methods, and ethnomethodology.
My research is influenced by ethnomethodology, and the work of Harvey Sacks and Erving Goffman. Projects have focused upon categorisation practices, everyday mobilities (especially walking), and, more recently, analyses of perception-in-action as an aspect of membership categorisation analysis. These have included an ethnography of urban outreach work, a study of social scientists' reasoning practices, and studies of mobile interaction and spatial categorisation practices (see publications). I am currently pursuing some of the above interests through participant observation of the work of Mountain Rescue.
I am currently co-Editor of Qualitative Research and a board member of The Sociological Review. I am Associate Editor of the SAGE Encyclopaedia of Social Research Methods. I co-convene the Cardiff Ethnography, Cultural and Interpretive Analysis Research Group. I am a faculty member, and academic lead for Wales, of the EMCA Doctoral Network.
I am keen to supervise doctoral projects concerned with the empirical analysis of interaction(s) in public space, mobility practices and every day and institutional talk. I have a particular interest in ethnographic methods and the practice of ethnography in urban and 'public' settings.
Lecturer in Sociology, Cardiff School of Social Sciences
2009-12 Research Assistant (Wales Institute of Social Economic Research and Data, Cardiff University)
2015 Postgraduate Certificate in University Teaching and Learning (Cardiff University)
2010 PhD Sociology (Cardiff University, ESRC 1+3 Quota Award Studentship)
2005 MSc Social Science Research Methods (Cardiff University)
2004 BSc/Econ (Hons.) Sociology and Criminology (Cardiff University)
Other positions and affiliations
Co-Editor (including Book Review editor) of Qualitative Research.
Associate Editor (Qualitative Methods) SAGE Encyclopaedia of Research Methodology.
Exceptional Visiting Fellow, CeMoRe, Lancaster University, Spring 2016.
Visiting Scholar, City University New York, Graduate Centre.
Fellow of Higher Education Academy.
Honours and awards
Article 'Care and repair and the politics of urban kindness' nominated for Sociology SAGE Prize for Excellence and/or Innovation 2015 (with Tom Hall)
Nominated for ‘Enriching Student Life Award’ 2013/4; 2014/5.
- British Sociological Association
- International Sociological Association
- American Sociological Association
- Higher Education Academy
- MOBSIN (Mobilities and Social Interaction; Aalborg, Cardiff, Helsinki, Linkoping, Paris Telecom, and Oulu universities)
- IIEMCA (International Institute for Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis)
- Centre for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe)
- ANNSoR (Anglo-Nordic Network; founding member)
- Public Space Research Group (City University, New York)
Invited conference and seminar contributions:
"Symposium on ‘Method and Measurement in Sociology" (with Cicourel, Uprichard, Fransozi, and Atkinson)
NCRM Research Methods Festival, 2016 (based on Smith and Atkinson, 2016)
“Slow, Messy and Expensive? The precarity of street care in the austere city”.
Inaugural Conference of the Centre for Urban Research on Austerity. De Montfort University. 19th November, 2015
“Revisiting the observer’s maxim: categorization and perception in action”
Membership Categorisation Analysis: In Memory of Stephen Hester. International Institute of Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis Conference. Kolding, Denmark, 4-7th August, 2015
“Pedestrian Mobilities: Intersections of mobility, need and care”
Mobility Intersections Conference, 6th-7th July, 2015. CeMoRe, Lancaster University
“Sharing Space: the accomplishment of territory ‘on the move’”
4th Advanced Workshop in Mobility and Social Interaction. Aalborg, Denmark, 2014
“Locating public space in theory and in practice”
Conference Stream Plenary, British Sociology Association Annual Conference April, 2014
“Keeping up appearances: the street-level politics of care, repair and maintenance”
Invited paper, Edinburgh University Human Geography Seminar Series. May 2012
“Researching Space, Place, and Setting: Perspectives on Theory and Method.”
Invited paper, NCRM Research Methods Festival 5-8 July, 2010
Selected international and peer reviewed conference contributions:
“Get in the cycle lane”.
International Institute of Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis Conference. Kolding, Denmark, 4-7th August, 2015
“The observer’s maxim: categorisation and perception in action”.
5th Advanced Workshop in Mobility and Social Interaction. Norrkoping, Sweden, 6-9th May, 2015
“On doing being a pedestrian”.
Complexity and Interaction Conference, COACT. Oulu, Finland. October, 2014
“Movement, need and the politics of public space”.
American Sociological Association Annual Conference. New York, August 2013
“Movement, territory and need”.
British Sociological Association Annual Conference. London, April 2013
Royal Geographical Society Conference. Edinburgh, July 2012
“The politics of care and repair”.
British Sociological Association Annual Conference. Leeds, April 2012
“Urban circulations: Outreach work, homelessness, and the city”.
British Sociological Association Annual Conference. London, April 2011
“Circuits of city Space: Moving and meeting with the homeless.
American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting 21/11/10 (paper given as part of a submitted session ‘Domesticating and Domesticated Urban Space’, organised by myself)
“The urban problem: From the Bay to the soup run.”
British Council-Netherlands Knowledge Exchange Workshop on Urbanism 8-9 October 2010
“Tinkering at the margins: The outreach encounter.”
British Sociological Association Annual Conference Glasgow, April, 2010
I am currently Teaching Group Coordinator for Sociology.
I am course convenor for Sociology, Society and Social Change (Y1), Ethnography and Everyday Life (Y2), and Power, Culture and Identity (Y3). I also teach qualitative methodology at UG and PG(R) levels.
I am interested in supervising doctoral projects concerned with the empirical analysis of:
Interaction(s) in public space
Mobilities practices and mobile scenes
Ethnography of urban settings/groups
Studies of everyday and institutional talk
Current PhD supervision:
Charlotte Wise: female homelessness, urban-rural mobilities, shelter and refuge
Zoe John: MMA, embodiment, gender, power
Jonathan Ablitt: urban patrol, repair, waste
Mark Berry: criminal networks, identities and practices
Hyo Eun Shin: cosmopolitanism, belonging and place making
Lorenzo Marvulli: institutions, work place studies and policy making (recently submitted)
Interaction and ethnomethodology, mobilites, public space, talk and categorisation practices, reasoning, methodography.