For millennia humans have created communities in a complex variety of ways, at different scales and for different durations.
Our scholars explore the many ways groups of people create, maintain, navigate and transform the rules and compacts that allow communities to function, whilst also examining the modes of negotiation and compromise needed for communities to develop and thrive.
We study the way power works in human societies, through the positive pressures that reinforce the social fabric and promote justice and human flourishing as well as the destructive mechanisms that oppress and exploit people and environments.
We explore the way social forces are felt, absorbed and challenged, both in the intimate and everyday as well as in the public arena.
We investigate the ways in which humans have resisted, critiqued, and reformed social norms and political institutions. Our scholars engage these critiques and justifications of social arrangements to identify ways in which our own societies can be improved.
Our research draws on architecture and material culture, written documents, languages, creative arts, economic and social policy, and all forms of media. This is achieved by employing traditional, new and innovative methods to explore social and cultural life, both past and present.
Our scholars are committed to building on the contributions of feminism, decolonisation, and other environmental and social justice approaches to contemporary issues to help understand the ways our communities interact.
Our academics apply a variety of research methodologies to topics as diverse as ancient and modern legal and governmental systems; language acquisition and use, community formation around identity categories such as ethnicity, culture and gender; everyday practices of family, intimacy and friendship and the ways that groups work together.