Dr Julie Parsons

Dr Julie Parsons

Associate Professor of Sociology

School of Law, Criminology and Government (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)

Julie can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • Sociology
  • Health and sociology
  • Illness and sociology


Associate Professor in Sociology
Programme Lead BSc (Hons) Sociology
Convenor BSA Food Studies Group

Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF) Mid-Career Fellow (2016-17)

External Examiner (2016-2020): BA (Hons) Sociology, Single Honours and BA (Hons) Sociology, Joint Honours, University of Worcester, Worcester WR2 6AJ.

Sociology of Health and Illness Foundation Mildred Blaxter Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (2015-2016)

Associate Head of Teaching and Learning (AHTL) (2014-15)

Programme Lead MSc Social Research (2010-2014)




Academic Qualifications:
PhD Sociology (Plymouth) 2014
MSc Sociology (University of Bristol) 1996
BA (Hons) First Class Sociology (UWE) 1994

Teaching Qualifications:
Fellow of Higher Education Academy (HEA) (2014)
Accreditation as a teacher in Higher Education (SEDA) (2000)
PG Certificate in Teaching & Learning in Higher Education (1999)
UPSU SSTAR Awards 2014: Nominated as Outstanding Personal Tutor, Plymouth University

Professional membership

Member of the British Sociological Association (BSA)
Member of the European Sociological Association (ESA)
Member of the Association for Food and Society (ASFS)
Member of the British Society of Criminology (BSC)
Fellow of the Higher Education Acadamy (HEA)

Roles on external bodies

Convenor of the BSA Food Studies Group



Teaching interests

I teach in the areas of food, family, gender and health. Also, qualitative research methods, feminist approaches to research, research as a reflexive and reflective practice and Auto/Biography.

Staff serving as external examiners

External Examiner (2016-2020): BA (Hons) Sociology, Single Honours and BA (Hons) Sociology, Joint Honours, University of Worcester, Worcester WR2 6AJ.



Research interests

  • Finishing time’ a pilot project following ‘offenders’ beyond their resettlement into the community after punishment. Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF) Discretionary Grant Award. August 1st 2018 – 31st July 2020.
  • Evaluation of the Dartington LandWorks Project (June 2015 - April 2018) & LandWorks (CIO) Evaluation, 1st April 2018 – 31st March 2020.
  • Mapping the transformative potential of participatory styles of research with vulnerable, marginalised and/or hard-to reach groups. Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF), Residential Research Group Award, Girton College, Cambridge, 20-25 August 2017.
  • Developing social and cultural capital through Photographic e-Narratives (PeN) at an offender/ex-offender rehabilitation scheme (RS). Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF) Mid-Career Fellowship Award, September 2016 - September 2017.
  • Commensality (eating together) as a tool for health, well-being, social inclusion and community resilience, at a rural land-based offender resettlement project. Sociology of Health and Illness Foundation (SHI) Mildred Blaxter Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award, September 2015 - September 2016.
  • Ourfoodstories@e-mail.com', an auto/biographical study of relationships with food, incorporates feminist approaches to research, auto/biography, life history models, gender, class, food, health, family, maternal identities, emotion, culture and the body. PhD 2010 - 2014

Research groups

Other research

  • Member of an interdisciplinary research team funded by the Institute for Sustainable Solutions Research (ISSR) and lead by Dr Clare Pettinger (Public Health Dietician) on a small-scale exploratory study ‘Food as Lifestyle Motivator’ investigating the use of food as a lifestyle motivator to enhance wellbeing and life skills in marginalized individuals in a Plymouth Homeless Centre (May 2014-2015).
  • Pilot project for the Institute of Health & Community (IHC), exploring the lived experience of weight loss surgery (WLS) and the management of diabetes through weight management practices.

Grants & contracts

  • Sociology of Health and Illness Foundation (SHI) Mildred Blaxter Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award, (2015-16)
  • Shortlisted for the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness book prize 2016 for Gender, Class and Food, Families, Bodies and Health (Palgrave MacMillan 2015)
  • Winner of the International Award for Excellence for Volume 4 of Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, for the article “‘Good’ Food as Family Medicine: Problems of Dualist and Absolutist Approaches to ‘Healthy’ Family Foodways,” was selected for the award from among the ten highest-ranked papers emerging from the peer review process and according to the selection criteria outlined in the referee guidelines.




Parsons, J.M. (2020) Finishing Time, iPoems & The ‘Pains of Release’ into the community after punishment, ISRF Bulletin 22, Structures of Feeling, pp15-20 https://issuu.com/isrf/docs/isrf_20bulletin_20issue_20xxii

Parsons, J.M. and Letherby, G., (2020) An Introduction to Creative and Collaborative Approaches to Research with a Social and Criminal Justice Focus, Special Issue of Methodological Innovations, https://doi.org/10.1177/2059799120942054

Parsons, J.M. (2020) Making time for food when ‘doing time’; how enhanced status prisoners counter the indignity of prison foodways, Special Issue of Appetite on Prison Food. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2019.104507

Pettinger, C., Parsons, J. M., Letherby, G., Cunningham, M., Withers, L., Whiteford, A., (2019) Participatory food events as collaborative public engagement opportunities, Methodological Innovations, Vol 12, Iss 2. https://doi.org/10.1177/2059799119863283

Parsons, J.M. (2019) Narrative re-scripting: Reconciling past and present lives, Auto/Biography Review 2018, (editor) Sparkes, A.C. British Sociological Association Auto/Biography Study Group, Russell Press, Nottingham, pp111-128

Parsons J.M. (2018) Commensality as a theatre for witnessing change for criminalised individuals working at a resettlement scheme, European Journal of Probation, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 182-198 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2066220318819239

Parsons, J.M. (2018) Virtual social media spaces, a relational arena for ‘bearing witness’ to desistance, Papers from the British Criminological Conference 2018, Vol 18, http://www.britsoccrim.org/papers-from-the-british-criminology-conference-2018/

Parsons, J.M. and Hocking, S (2018) The Lived experience of Carrots and Risks, voices from within the criminal justice system, ISRF Bulletin XV1, pp32-38, https://issuu.com/isrf/docs/isrf_bulletin_issue_xvi

Pettinger, C., Parsons, J.M., Withers, L., Daprano G., Cunningham, M, Whiteford, A., Ayers, R., Sutton, C., and Letherby, G. (2017), Engaging homeless individuals in discussions about their food experiences to optimise wellbeing: a pilot study, Health Education Journal, Vol 76, Iss 5, pp 557-568.

Parsons, J. (2017). The Joy of Food Play – Gender and Class in Men’s auto/biographical Accounts of Everyday Food-ways. Women, Gender & Research 24(3-4). https://doi.org/10.7146/kkf.v24i3-4.97061

Parsons, J.M. (2017), "Cooking with offenders to improve health and well-being", British Food Journal, Vol. 119 No. 5, pp. 1079-1090. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-10-2016-0453

Parsons, J.M. (2017) “I much prefer to feed other people than to feed myself.” The ’i-poem’ as a tool for highlighting ambivalence and dissonance within Auto/Biographical accounts of everyday foodways, in a Special Issue of The Journal of Psycho-Social Studies, Offering Food ↔ Receiving Food, Vol 10, Iss 2 (unpaginated) http://www.psychosocial-studies-association.org/volume-10-issue-2-october-2017/

Parsons, J.M. (2016) When convenience is inconvenient: ‘healthy’ family foodways and the persistent intersectionalities of gender and class, Journal of Gender Studies, 25:4, 382-397, DOI: 10.1080/09589236.2014.987656

Parsons, J. (2015) ‘Good’ Food as Family Medicine: Problems of Dualist and Absolutist Approaches to ‘Healthy’ Family Foodways, Journal of Food Studies, Volume 4, Issue 2.

Parsons, J.M. and Jarvie, R.J. (2015) 'Fat' editorial. M/C Journal, A Journal of Media and Culture, Vol.18, No 3. http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/viewArticle/1001

Brown, G., Davidson, D., Harvey, J., Letherby, G., and Parsons, J.M. (2015) HE(R)tales: reflections on some auto/biographical inter/multi-connections in academia, in Sparkes, C. (Ed) Auto/Biography Yearbook 2014, Russell Press, Nottingham, pp118-134

Parsons, J. (2014). “Cheese and Chips out of Styrofoam Containers”: An Exploration of Taste and Cultural Symbols of Appropriate Family Foodways. M/C Journal, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.5204/mcj.766


Parsons, J.M. and Chappell., A., (eds) (2020) The Palgrave Handbook of Auto/ Biography, Palgrave MacMillan: Basingstoke.

Parsons, J. M. (2015) Gender, Class and Food: families, bodies and health, Palgrave MacMillan: Basingstoke.

Book reviews

Parsons, J.M. (2018) Book Review: McLeod, K. Wellbeing Machine: How Health Emerges from the Assemblages of Everyday Life. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press. 2017, in Sociology of Health & Illness, Vol 40, Iss 6, pp 1108 – 1109.

Parsons, J.M. (2017) Book Review: Food and Femininity, by Cairns, K and Johnston, J. London: Bloomsbury, 2015, in The Review of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Studies Vol: 97(4), pp273-275.

Parsons, J.M. (2016) Book Review: A Fat Girl’s Manifesto, A thin book on living FAT in America, by Cyr V. Daniel. Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Peter E. Randall, 2015, in Fat Studies Journal, volume 5 (1) 2016.


Parsons, J.M. and Chappell, A., (2020) Chapter 1: A case for Auto/Biography, in Parsons, J.M. and Chappel., A., (eds) (2020) The Palgrave Handbook of Auto/Biography, Palgrave MacMillan: Basingstoke.

Parsons, J.M. (2020) Tastes of reflection, food memories and the temporal affects of sedimented personal histories on everyday foodways, in Falconer, E. (ed), Affecting Tastes, London: Routledge.

Parsons, J.M. and Pettinger, C. (2017) ‘Liminal identities’ and power struggles, reflections on the regulation of everyday foodways at a homeless centre and the use of creative participatory research as a tool of empowerment and resistance, in Bleakley, A. Lynch, L. and Whelan, G. (eds) Risk and Regulation at the Interface of Medicine and the Arts, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp171-189.

Parsons, J.M. (2015) ‘Food Work’ in Michelini, A. (Eds) Food, Nutrition, Agriculture: The Challenge for the New Millennium, 2nd Edition, UK and IT.


Walker, S., and Parsons, J. (2019) LandWorks Evaluation Annual Report, Plymouth, University of Plymouth.

Halliday J., Parsons, J., and Wilkinson, T. (2018) LandWorks Evaluation Final Report (August 2018), Plymouth, University of Plymouth.

Fok, J., Parsons, J. and Corrigan, O. (2016) Social and Cultural Aspects of Food Shopping, a pilot study of mum’s healthy and unhealthy food choices, Healthwatch Essex.

Bos, E., Brown G., Parsons, J., Halliday, J. and Brady, G., (2016) Supporting Rehabilitation: A pilot study exploring the role of community and land based models, Coventry University, Centre for Business in Society (CBiS). http://www.coventry.ac.uk/Global/08%20New%20Research%20Section/CBiS/Supporting%20Rehabilitation%20report.pdf

Halliday J., Wilkinson, T., and Parsons, J. (2016) LandWorks Interim Evaluation Report: Year 1. Plymouth: Plymouth University.

Other Publications

Parsons, J. (2016) (Editor) “It is What it is”, LandWorks Recipe Book, Volume 1, Cats-Solutions, Swindon, available at https://landworks.org.uk/portfolio/cook-book/

Parsons, J.M. (2016) Eat well together, work well together, Inside Time, the National Newspaper for Prisoners and Detainees, November 1st 2016, Southampton. http://www.insidetime.org/eat-well-together-work-well-together/#.WCAyUO8gQ6g.twitter


Parsons, J.M. and Leherby, G., (2020) An Introduction to Creative and Collaborative Approaches to Research with a Social and Criminal Justice Focus, Special Issue of Methodological Innovations, Sage.


Parsons, J. (2014) 'Ourfoodstories@email.com', An Auto/Biographical Study of relationships with Food, PhD thesis, http://hdl.handle.net/10026.1/2920

Parsons, J.M. and Jarvie, R.J. (2015) 'Fat' editorial. M/C Journal, A Journal of Media and Culture, Vol.18, No 3. http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/viewArticle/1001

Internet Publications

The Pen Project: https://penprojectlandworks.org/

Collaborations in research: https://collaborations-in-research.org/

The Finishing Time Project: http://www.finishingtime.online/



Conferences organised

BSA Food Studies Group Conference, Re-imagining Food Systems, Sustainability, Futures and the Everyday, Monash University, Prato, Italy, 24th-25th June 2019.

Methodological Innovations Conference 2018, Methods & Methodologies for Exploring Everyday Life, Institute of Health & Community (IHC), Methodological Innovations Group, University of Plymouth, 28th June 2018.

Methodological Innovations Conference 2017, Contemporary, collaborative and creative approaches to research questions, Institute of Health and Community (IHC),Contemporary Research Methodologies (CRM) group, Plymouth University, 26th May 2017.

Methodological Innovations Conference 2015, Innovation, Challenges & Opportunity, 3rd December 2015.

Methodological Innovations Conference 2014, Creative and critical possibilities: methods, methodologies and epistemologies, CMI, Plymouth University, 9th -10th December 2014.

Methodological Innovations Conference 2013, Methods & Methodologies: Approaches & Experiences, CMI, Plymouth University 4th-5th December 2013.

British Sociological Association Postgraduate Event: Auto/Biographical Approaches to Sociological Research, Plymouth University, 18th February 2011

Other academic activities

Convenor British Sociological Association Food Studies Group (from December 2017)

Editor - Special Issue Media Culture Journal on 'fat'

Peer-reviewed articles for the following Journals:

Critical Dietetics
Critical Public Health
Fat Studies Journal
Food and Foodways, Explorations in the History and Culture of Human Nourishment
Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Journal of Gender Studies
M/C Journal (A Journal of Media and Culture) http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal
Medical Anthropology, Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness
Methodological Innovations Online
Sociological Research Online
Social Science and Medicine

Guest Editor for Special Issues of:

Methodological Innovations Online
M/C Journal: http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/information/authors#fat