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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Heather Blenkinsop

Heather Blenkinsop
Heather Blenkinsop
Sociology School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
Research Interests
Storytelling & ethnography, Memory, identity, Britain, Historical sociology, Research methods, Narrative Inquiry, Legends, Community Belonging, Interdisciplinary Research, Mythology and folklore, Myth and storytelling

PhD Title

Stories from the Wall: The Making and Remaking of Localism

Research Interview

Thesis Overview

The broad aim of this study concerns the making and remaking of localism, by which I mean the experience of group identity expressed through commitment to community, in a small rural Northumbrian town. This research will contribute to the sociology of local identity and ‘belonging’, using an ethnographic methodology focused around three public events. These events are: the bi-annual Walking Festival, the Summer Carnival and the Annual Craft Fair. I will examine how ‘incomers’ and ‘locals’ cooperate to organize and attend these events and how they provide a time/space through which solidarity or otherwise, is performed and identities are related to the outside world. The research investigates the process of becoming, or claiming to be, a local person, of belonging to a community and how the processes of making, verifying and ascribing such identity claims occurs and in what situations and contexts.     



Prof. Liz Stanley and Dr. Michael Rosie



  • PhD Sociology (University of Edinburgh) 2012
  • MA in Anthropology (California State University, Los Angeles) 2006
  • BA in Anthropology (California State University, Los Angeles) 2005



  • Roberts Funding: co-authored proposal & organised workshop 2009 - 2009
  • ESRC +3 Award 2008 - 2011
  • NABS Bursary 2007-2008
  • B.L Hoyt Scholarship 2005


Publications and Reviews

Blenkinsop, H. 2013 ‘Forgotten Memories? Silence, Reason, Truth and the Carnival.’ In        Documents of Life Revisited: Narrative and Biographical Methodology for a 21st              Century Critical Humanism, ed. Liz Stanley. Farnham: Ashgate.

Blenkinsop, H. 2010 ‘She’s From Bothy Sike: Challenges to Research and the                      Experience of Belonging.’ Sites 7 (1): 123-142. 

Blenkinsop, H. 2010 ‘Review of Telling Stories: The Use of Personal Narratives in the            Social Sciences and History, by Mary Jo Maynes, Jennifer Pierce and Barbara                  Laslett.’ Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 36(3): 539 - 540. 

Blenkinsop, H. 2008 ‘Review of Cosmic Society, by Peter Dickens and James Ormrod.’        Network 100:19.

Blenkinsop, H. 2007 ‘Review of Anthropology Matters! by S. Fedorak.’ Anthropology and      Ageing Quarterly 28 (3):81.