School of Social and Political Science

Professor Mary Holmes

Job Title

Professor of Emotions and Society

Photo of Mary Holmes

Room number


Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

Street (Address)

15a George Square

City (Address)


Country (Address)


Post code (Address)


Research interests

Research interests

Feminism, Social movements, gender, Gender Theory, emotions, Sexuality, friendship

My overall intellectual project seeks to provide a better understanding of the complex forms of relationality, embodiment and emotionality currently operating within globalised societies. I examine how people are emotionally reflexive in navigating  their way through the world. They draw on interpretations of their own and others’ feelings in doing intimate relationships, gendered sexuality, political action or dissatisfaction, and migration and mobility. My empirical work currently focuses on imagining maternal futures in the context of climate change. I have also recently done collaborative research on internet dating and also on the emotional lives of young displaced Syrians and Iraqis in Beirut. Theoretically my work hinges around the sociology of emotions, symbolic interactionist and feminist approaches applied to the consideration of reflexivity, inequality, subversion and resistance. I am one of the founding editors of the journal Emotions and Society.

Topics interested in supervising

I would be happy to supervise research in any of the following areas:

1. Intimacy and Relationships, especially couple relationships, distance/commuter relationships, friendship, relationality

2. Sociology of emotions, especially emotional reflexivity

3. Gender and Sexuality, especially heterosexuality, feminist theory, gendered embodiment, gendered identities

4. Political Sociology, including social movements (especially Feminism), political dissatisfaction

5. Mobilities and transnationalism, especially transnational relationships

If you are interested in being supervised by Mary Holmes, please see the links below (opening in new windows) for more information:



PhD, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

MA, University of York, England.

BA, University of Auckland. New Zealand.

Recent publications include:

Internet Dating: Intimacy and Social Change (with Chris Beasley)


Young Refugees and Forced Displacement: Navigating Everyday Life in Beirut. (with Lili Riga et al.)

Works within

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Holmes M, Thomson R. Emotional reflexivity in the time of COVID: Working class emotional practices. Emotions and Society. 2022 Nov 8.
Holmes M, Natalier K, Leahy CP. Unsettling maternal futures in climate crisis: Towards cohabitability. Families, Relationships and Societies. 2022 Oct 7;1-17.
Wettergren Å, Holmes M, Manning N. Emotions, politics and truth. Emotions and Society. 2022 Mar;4(1):3-6.
Holmes M. Emotions in Aotearoa New Zealand: Reflexive emotionalisation in a colonised context. International Sociology. 2021 May 17.
Holmes M, Jamieson L, Natalier K. Future building and emotional reflexivity: Gendered or queered navigations of agency in non-normative relationships? Sociology. 2021 Jan 11.
Riga L, Holmes M, Dakessian A, Langer J, Anderson D. Young Refugees and Forced Displacement: Navigating Everyday Life in Beirut. 1 ed. Abingdon: Routledge, 2020. 178 p. (Routledge Advances in Sociology).
Holmes M. Sexualizing. In Matthewman S, Curtis B, Mayeda D, editors, Being Sociological. 3 ed. Red Globe Press. 2020
Wettergren Å, Holmes M, Manning N. Emotions in the pandemic: Crises and politics of change. Emotions and Society. 2020 Nov 1;2(2):115-119.
Holmes M, Manning N, Wettergren Å. Political economies of emotion. Emotions and Society. 2020 May 1;2(1):3-11.
Holmes M, McKenzie J. Relational happiness through recognition and redistribution: Emotion and inequality. European Journal of Social Theory. 2019 Nov 1;22(4):439-457.
Holmes M. Gendered identities. In Elliott A, editor, Routledge Handbook of Identity Studies. 2 ed. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. 2019. p. 185-201
Holmes M. ‘Going against the grain’? Distance relationships, emotional reflexivity and gender. Emotion, Space and Society. 2019 May 30;31:56-62.
Koslowski A, Holmes M, Jamieson L. Social forms of care: changing relationships of support. Families, Relationships and Societies. 2018 Mar 1;7(1):3-5.
Beasley C, Holmes M. Internet Dating, Sexual Intimacy and Older People. In Peel E, Harding R, editors, Ageing and Sexualities: : Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Routledge: London. 2016. p. 205-222
Holmes M. Sociology for Optimists. London: SAGE Publications Ltd, 2016.
Holmes M. Men’s emotions: Heteromasculinity, emotional reflexivity, and intimate relationships. Men and Masculinities. 2015 Jun;18(2):176-192.
Holmes M. Researching emotional reflexivity. Emotion Review. 2015 Jan;7(1):61-66.
Brook H, Mulholland M, Beasley C, Holmes M. Introduction to the special section: Challenging heterodoxies. Sexualities. 2015;18(5-6):645-48.
Greco S, Holmes M, McKenzie J. Friendship and Happiness from a Sociological Perspective. In Demir M, editor, Friendship and Happiness: Across the Life-Span and Cultures. New York: Springer. 2015. p. 19-35
Beasley C, Brook H, Holmes M. Heterodoxy: Challenging orthodoxies about heterosexuality. Sexualities. 2015;18(5-6):681-697.
Holmes M. Distance Relationships: Intimacy and Emotions Amongst Academics and their Partners in Dual-Locations. 1 ed. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. 212 p. (Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life).
Manning N, Holmes M. Political emotions: A role for feelings of affinity in citizens’ (dis)engagements with electoral politics? Sociology-The journal of the british sociological association. 2014;48(4):698-714.
Holmes M, Manning N. ‘Them that runs the country don’t know what they’re doing’: political dissatisfaction amongst members of the white working class. The Sociological Review. 2013 Aug;61(3):479-498.
Holmes M, Manning N. “He’s snooty ‘im”: Exploring ‘white working class’ political disengagement. Citizenship Studies. 2013;17(3/4):479-490.
Holmes M, Burrows R. Ping Pong Poms: Emotional Reflexivity in Return Migration from Australia to the UK. Australian Journal of Social Issues . 2012;47(1):105-123.
Beasley C, Brook H, Holmes M. Heterosexuality in Theory and Practice. Routledge: London, 2012. 138 p. (Routledge Advances in Feminist Studies and Intersectionality).
Holmes M. Emotional reflexivity in contemporary friendships: Understanding it using Elias and Facebook etiquette. Sociological Research Online. 2011;16(1).
Holmes M. The Emotionalization of Reflexivity. Sociology. 2010 Feb;44(1):139-154.
Holmes M. Intimacy, Distance Relationships and Emotional Care. Recherches Sociologiques et Anthropologiques. 2010;41(1):105-123.