Former Associate Director at MeRC
Peter Halfpenny is the former Associate Director of MeRC and Professor of Sociology in the School of Social Sciences until September 2010. He was educated at Oxford, LSE and Essex before coming to Manchester as a Lecturer at the beginning of the 1970s. He has been here ever since, except for short periods as a visiting fellow elsewhere. He was Head of the Department of Sociology from 1993 to 1996, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law in 2003-04, and first Head of the School of Social Sciences for two years after the new University of Manchester was formed by the merger of the Victoria University of Manchester and UMIST in 2004. He was Executive Director of the National Centre for e-Social Science from its establishment in 2004 until 2009.
His research revolves around computer applications in social research; the voluntary sector and in particular charitable giving; and philosophy of social sciences, focussing on positivism and its critics.
- 'Voluntary organisations and social policy: twenty years of change', chapter 1 in M. Harris and C. Rochester, eds., Voluntary Organisations and Social Policy in Britain: Perspectives on Change and Choice , Palgrave, 2001, pp.1-20 (with Margaret Harris and Colin Rochester).
- 'Positivism in the Twentieth Century', chapter 28 in George Ritzer and Barry Smart, eds., Handbook of Social Theory , Sage, 2001, pp.371-385.
- 'Benchmarking the provision of scientific equipment', Science and Public Policy , vol 28, 2001, pp.303-311. (with Luke Georghiou and Kieron Flanagan).
- 'Can virtual seminars be used cost-effectively to enhance student learning?', Association for Learning Technology Journal, vol. 9, no. 3, 2001, pp.43-52 (with Sonja Wellings).
- 'Research on the voluntary sector: an overview', Policy & Politics , vol.30, no. 4, 2002, pp. 533-50. (with Margaret Reid).
- 'Family and community ties in space and time', in Graham Allan and Gill Jones, eds., Social Relations and the Life Course , Palgrave, 2003, pp.172-186. (with Fiona Devine, Nadia Joanne Britton and Rosemary Mellor).
- 'A social policy role for faith based organisations? Lessons from the UK Jewish voluntary sector', Journal of Social Policy , vol. 32, no. 1, 2003, pp. 93-112 (with Margaret Harris and Colin Rochester).
- 'Mobility and the middle classes: a case study of Manchester and the North West', International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, vol. 27, no 3, 2003, pp. 495-509 (with Fiona Devine, Nadia Joanne Britton and Rosemary Mellor ).
- 'The 'good' suburb as an urban asset in enhancing a city's competitiveness' in Martin Boddy and Michael Parkinson, eds., City Matters: Competitiveness, Cohesion and Urban Governance , Policy Press, 2004, pp. 255-268 (with Nadia Joanne Britton, Fiona Devine and Rosemary Mellor)
- 'The potential for homeworking in the information age: case studies from Manchester's financial and business services', Sociology, vol. 38, no. 4, 2004, pp. 795-814 (with Nadia Joanne Britton, Fiona Devine and Rosemary Mellor).
- 'Positivism', in George Ritzer, ed., The Encyclopedia of Social Theory , Sage, 2005, pp. 571-575