Dr Sarah Moore

Personal profile

I joined Royal Holloway as a Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology in 2009, having previously held a full-time lectureship at Queen’s University, Belfast and worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Kent. My research interests range across the sociology of crime & criminal justice and the sociology of health, and I have particular research interests in:

1) Sexual violence in the media (particularly in relation to blame attribution)

2) Fictional and ‘factual’ depictions of criminal justice processes (particularly the courtroom and police detection)

3) Gender, risk, and health (particularly the origin and implications of health messages/campaigns)

4) The sociology of the everyday (particularly ritual and behaviour in public/semi-public places, both physical and virtual)

Since completing my ESRC-funded doctorate in 2006, I have worked on two British Academy-funded studies (first as an RA, and then as a PI) and published in a range of international journals, including the British Journal of Criminology, Body & Society, Crime, Media, Culture, Journal of Risk Research, Feminist Media Studies, and Health, Risk, and Society (for which I have also served as co-guest editor). I am also the sole author of two books – Ribbon Culture: Charity, Compassion, and Public Awareness (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008/2010) and Crime and the Media (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014 -- visit the publisher’s website for advance reviews). The former book looks at the cultural origin and meaning of health ‘awareness’ campaigns and provides a critical discussion of their tendency to commercialise compassion and misrepresent illness. The book was awarded the British Sociological Association’s Philip Abrams Memorial prize in 2009 for ‘Best First Book in Sociology' (you can read a review here).


I am currently involved in three collaborative projects with academics from the University of Kent, Bristol University, and the LSE.


1) ‘Viral Memes: Neknomination and Beyond’ (PI: Dr Adam Burgess, University of Kent; Co-I: Dr Vince Miller, University of Kent, Dr Sarah Moore, Royal Holloway, UoL)

In May 2014 we were awarded Faculty funding from the University of Kent to develop a study of ‘neknomination’ and subsequent online crazes. The first stage of the study uses an online survey, focus groups, and content analysis to examine university students’ experiences of neknomination — we’re currently part-way through this stage. We will then broaden the study, focusing on the next, as yet unknown, meme.


2) ‘Cameras in the Courtroom: A Cross-Disciplinary Study of the Introduction of Cameras     to the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division’ (for submission to the Leverhulme Trust: PI: Dr Sarah Moore, Royal Holloway, UoL; Co-I: Dr Alex Clayton, Department of Film and Television, Bristol University)

Still in the planning stage, this proposed study will examine the introduction of cameras to the Court of Appeal. The project — a cross-disciplinary collaboration between academics in criminology and screen studies — will assess the production and distribution of audiovisual footage, its framing in online and television news, as well as contemporaneous responses to the footage on microblogging sites and in comments to online news items.


3) Detective Fiction: A Manual of Detection (co-written book, Professor Mary Evans, LSE and Sarah Moore, Royal Holloway, UoL).

Mary and I are planning a book that identifies and explicates a shift in the detective fiction genre during the 1970s. In attempting to understand this shift — and, within it, the extraordinary growth in popularity of detective fiction in the twenty-first century — we consider what contemporary detective fiction tells us about the popular conception of crime and the balance between social order and control.



BA English Literature and Sociology, University of Kent (1st Class)

MA Sociology and Social Research Methods, University of Kent (ESRC-funded, Distinction)

PhD Sociology, University of Kent (ESRC-funded)



British Sociological Association


Distinctions/External engagement

  • Winner of the 2009 British Sociological Association Philip Abrams Memorial Prize for ‘Best First Book in Sociology’
  • Visiting Fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology, Yale University, Spring 2009 
  • Positive reviews of my books have appeared in the British Journal of Sociology, Contemporary Sociology, Spiked, Australian Literary Review, and the Times Higher
  • Winner of a Faculty Teaching Prize, 2012
  • Nominated for the Student Union ‘Apple for the Teacher’ prize, 2014
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of AQA’s HE Expert Panel for the reform of A-Level Sociology
  • Peer reviewer for Body and Society, Gender and Society, Sociology Compass, Health, Risk, Society, and Crime, Media Culture
  • Research has received international media coverage, featuring in The Washington Post, The Daily Telegraph (front page), the Los Angeles Post, Time Magazine Online, The Atlantic



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