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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Julie Brownlie

Julie Brownlie
Dr Julie Brownlie
1.4, 22 George Square George Square Edinburgh UK
+44(0)131 651 3917
Research Interests
Personal lives and social change, sociology of emotions, Researching the everyday, Digital narratives and trust


My work is concerned with  (i)  everyday lives (ii) sociology of trust and empathy  (iii) sociology of emotions including digital narratives. It draws on several recent and ongoing research projects including The SomeOne To Talk To Study, a three year study of emotional lives and social change (funded by the ESRC) and  'The Liveable Lives' project (for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation). The latter is a two year ethnographic study of everyday practices  of kindness and engages with theoretical work on trust,  emotion and narrative.

My latest reseach project is part of the Spaces for Sharing collaboration. Funded by the ESRC's EMoTICON programme, Spaces for Sharing is a multi-institution, transdisciplinary exploration of the online sharing of personal information, emotion and resources in extreme circumstances.

I have a strong interest in qualitative research, including narrative and ethnographic approaches, as well as experience in qualitative secondary analysis and mixed methods research design.

Some recent publications

Brownlie, J. & Anderson, S (forthcoming) ‘Thinking sociologically about kindness: puncturing the blasé in the ordinary city’ Sociology

Brownlie, J. and Spandler, H. (forthcoming) ‘Mundane materialities and the art of holding one’s own’ Sociology of Health and Illness.

Karamshuk ,D. Shaw ,F. Brownlie , J. Sastry, S. (2017) Bridging big data and qualitative methods in the social sciences: A case study of Twitter responses to high profile deaths by suicide Online Social Networks and Media 01: 1–17

Karamshuk, D., Pupavac, M., Shaw, F., Brownie, J., Pupavac, V., and Sastry, N. (forthcoming) Towards Transdisciplinary collaboration between computer and social scientists: Initial experiences and reflections in  Fu, Lou and Boos  (Eds) Social Network Analysis: Interdisciplinary Approaches and Case Studies”, Taylor & Francis Group

Anderson, S., Brownlie, J., and Milne, E-J. (2015) Understanding everyday help and support. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Anderson, S., Brownlie, J., and Milne, E-J. (2015) Between Kith and Kin and Formal Services: Everyday help and support in the ‘middle layer’. JRF Programme Paper. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Brownlie, J. (2014) Ordinary Relationships. A Sociological Study of Emotions, Reflexivity and Culture (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan).

Brownlie, J. (2012) Male suicide in mid-life: linking private troubles and large social processes in C. Wyllie, S.Platt et al. Men, Suicide and Society. Why Disadvantaged Men in Midlife Die By Suicide. Samaritans UK

Brownlie, J. (2011) Being there: multidimensionality, reflexivity and the study of emotional lives The British Journal of Sociology 62(3):462-481

Brownlie, J and Sheach Leith, V. (2011) Social bundles: Thinking through the infant body Childhood 18(2):196-210

Anderson, S. and Brownlie, J. (2011) ˜Build it and they will come? Understanding public views of emotions talk and the talking therapies British Journal of Guidance & Counselling 39 (1): 53-66

Brownlie, J. (2010) '"Not going there": Limits to the professionalisation of our emotional lives' Sociology of Health and Illness 33 No. 1 pp. 130 144

Brownlie, J. (2009) 'Researching not playing in the public sphere' Sociology 43(40):699-71

Brownlie, J. (2009) ˜Age of grief in a time of talk Sociological Research Online, 14, 5

Topics interested in supervising

I would welcome research proposals from students in the following areas: Sociology of emotions; Social change and personal lives; Documents of life (including digital documents); Theorising and researching the everyday.

If you are interested in being supervised by Julie Brownlie, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Sociology