Liverpool Skyline

Humanities and Social Science

Dr Chris Allen


I am now a part-time lecturer that has worked as a sociologist in a variety of universities (Cardiff, Manchester, Salford, Bradford, Sheffield Hallam, Manchester Metropolitan) since 1993. My key areas of work until recently were in urban sociology (especially housing justice) and the sociology of knowledge.

After 18 years of an academic life that was becoming defined by conflict and a lack of true purpose, I left academia in 2011 to run alternative cycle and walking tours of Liverpool and also to create more time for voluntary work which I undertook at Asylum Link Merseyside. I also began to attend a local Quaker meeting where I started to engage in peace work.

The cycle and walking tours were fantastic but I still wanted to do some academic work, albeit in a different and more purposeful way to before. So, I returned to academia in 2013 as a part-time sociology lecturer. (I was previously a full-time Professor).

Since returning in 2013 I have made some further and final written contributions to urban and housing sociology. However, these pieces of writing are now complete so, after 25 years, my written contribution to the field of urban and housing sociology has come to an end.

Since 2015, I have been opening up several new lines of academic work in the fields of political theology, peace studies and football studies which reflects where my energies are now invested. Specifically:

I am a member of the Liverpool Unitarian Church and the Merseyside Peace Network - through which I work with a range of peace organisations such as Pax Christi and CND.

I undertake voluntary work in the field of adult education and continue to work with Asylum Link Merseyside where I run football projects for asylum seekers and refugees.

With my Unitarian friends, Rev. Phil Waldron and Paul Miller, I recently established a football club for asylum seekers and refugees which I now run as Club Secretary. This is a wonderful venture because it provides multiple opportunities to facilitate social interaction between asylum seekers, refugees and local people - inluding my students. There is no better way to learn and develop as human beings than in personal encounters with others.

In addition, I occasionally write in alternative football magazines and also write a sociological blog about football mainly in the non-leagues. My football blog can be found here:

As a Unitarian Pacifist, I practice meditation and yoga which I have now been exploring for 25 years. I bring the benefits of these practices to students in the form of the teaching techniques I use in the classroom. These are based on short periods of silence and conscious movement that help us digest and learn much better than in normal classroom situations. I teach the following courses:

Radical Planet: Alternatives to Urban Capitalism
Society and Environment in Conflict
Work Based Learning


Nothumbria University, United Kingdom, BA (Hons) Government and Public Policy
University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, MA Public Administration and Management
Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom, PhD


Highlighted publications

Allen C, Crookes L. 2009. Fables of the reconstruction: a critical phenomenology of place shaping in the North of England Town Planning Review, 5 :455-480


Allen C. 2018. The Deprivation of Theory: What Do We Really Need To "Know" About Housing? HOUSING THEORY & SOCIETY, 35 :199-204 >DOI >Link

Journal article

Allen C. 2017. Love Among the Ruins: Nonviolent Anarchism and the Housing Question Planning Theory and Practice, 18 :676-683 >DOI

Allen C. 2017. Social Science versus Christian Theology, Reconsidered: The Case of British Social Policy Studies International Journal of Public Theology, 11 :211-235 >DOI

Allen C. 2016. Gentrification: A working class perspective HOUSING THEORY & SOCIETY, 33 :114-116 >DOI >Link

Allen C. 2016. Getting 'Out There' and Impacting: The Problem of Housing and Urban Research and its Anarchist Alternative HOUSING THEORY & SOCIETY, 33 :268-287 >DOI >Link

Allen C. 2016. Food Poverty and Christianity in Britain: A Theological Re-assessment Political Theology, :1-17 >DOI

Allen C, Imrie R. 2012. The knowledge business: A critical introduction :1-19

Imrie R, Allen C. 2012. Reconstructing the knowledge business :241-248

Allen C, Imrie R. 2012. Preface The Knowledge Business: The Commodification of Urban and Housing Research, :13

Allen C, Marne P. 2012. In the name of the people?: The state, social science and the ‘public interest’ in Urban regeneration :57-76

Allen C, Marne P. 2012. Entrepreneurialõ :93-116

Allen C. 2012. Social class and housing :368-373 >DOI

Allen C. 2012. Construction of housing knowledge :227-232 >DOI

Allen C. 2011. Against dialogue: Why being critical means taking sides rather than learning how to play the 'policy research' game Dialogues in Human Geography, 1 :223-227 >DOI

Allen C. 2011. Where the Other Half Lives: Lower Income Housing in a Neoliberal World CRITICAL SOCIAL POLICY, 31 :487-490 >Link

Tonkiss F, Byrne D, Edwards A, Allen C. 2011. Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the Twenty-First-Century City SOCIOLOGY-THE JOURNAL OF THE BRITISH SOCIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION, 45 :335-342 >DOI >Link

Allen C. 2011. A problem of verification: What critique is, and is not Housing, Theory and Society, 28 :68-74 >DOI

Allen C. 2011. A welcome critique: Some comments on flint's response to the fallacy paper Housing, Theory and Society, 28 :92-99 >DOI

Allen C. 2010. Urban geographies for violence and destruction: Urban research and the 'Housing Market Renewal' programme in the UK Geography, 95 :116-123

Savage M, Allen C, Atkinson R, Burrows R, Mendez ML, Watt P. 2010. The politics of elective belonging Housing, Theory and Society, 27 :115-161 >DOI

Allen C. 2009. The fallacy of "Housing studies": Philosophical problems of knowledge and understanding in housing research Housing, Theory and Society, 26 :53-79 >DOI

Allen C, Crookes L. 2009. Fables of the reconstruction: a critical phenomenology of place shaping in the North of England Town Planning Review, 80 :455-480 >DOI

Allen C, Crookes L. 2009. Fables of the reconstruction: a critical phenomenology of place shaping in the North of England Town Planning Review, 5 :455-480

Allen C. 2008. Gentrification 'research' and the academic nobility: A different class? International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 32 :180-185 >DOI

Allen C. 2007. The meaning of housing: A pathways approach JOURNAL OF URBAN AFFAIRS, 29 :102-104 >DOI >Link

Casey R, Coward S, Allen C, Powell R. 2007. On the planned environment and neighbourhood life: Evidence from mixed-tenure housing developments twenty years on Town Planning Review, 78 :311-334 >DOI

Allen C, Powell R, Casey R, Coward S. 2007. 'Ordinary, the same as anywhere else': Notes on the management of spoiled identity in 'marginal' middle-class neighbourhoods Sociology, 41 :239-258 >DOI

Allen C. 2007. Of urban entrepreneurs or 24-hour party people? City-centre living in Manchester, England Environment and Planning A, 39 :666-683 >DOI

Allen C. 2007. The poverty of death: Social class, urban deprivation, and the criminological consequences of sequestration of death Mortality, 12 :79-93 >DOI

Allen C. 2005. Note of clarification Housing, Theory and Society, 22 :237 >DOI

Allen C. 2005. On the epistemological limitations of the "area effects" debate: Towards a Phenomenology of urban deprivation Housing, Theory and Society, 22 :196-212 >DOI

Allen C. 2005. On the social relations of contract research production: Power, positionality and epistemology in housing and urban research Housing Studies, 20 :989-1007 >DOI

Sprigings N, Allen C. 2005. The communities we are regaining but need to lose: A critical commentary on community building in beyond-place societies Community, Work and Family, 8 :389-411 >DOI

Allen C. 2005. The links between heroin, crack cocaine and crime: Where does street crime fit in? British Journal of Criminology, 45 :355-372 >DOI

Allen C. 2005. Reflections on housing and social theory: An interview with Jim Kemeny Housing, Theory and Society, 22 :94-107 >DOI

Allen C, Joanne Milner . 2004. I don't know what you're trying to establish: the housing and urban problems of visual impaired children Social Policy and Society,

Allen C. 2004. Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology and the body-in-space encounters of visually impaired children Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 22 :719-735 >DOI

Casey R, Allen C. 2004. Social housing managers and the performance ethos: Towards a 'professional project of the self' Work, Employment and Society, 18 :395-412 >DOI

Allen C. 2004. Bourdieu's habitus, social class and the spatial worlds of visually impaired children Urban Studies, 41 :487-506 >DOI

Allen C. 2003. Why Living in a Deprived Area is a Hidden Disability Issue: Some Housing Policy and Practice Implications Journal of Integrated Care, 11 :28-32 >DOI

Allen C. 2003. On the logic of 'new' welfare practice: An ethnographic case study of the 'new welfare intermediaries' SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH ONLINE, 8 >Link

Allen C. 2003. Desperately seeking fusion: on 'joined-up thinking', 'holistic practice' and the new economy of welfare professional power. Br J Sociol, 54 :287-306 >DOI >Link

Allen C. 2003. On the epistemology of welfare professional practice Housing, Theory and Society, 20 :24-27 >DOI

Allen C. 2003. Joined-up working, welfare professionalism and the pursuit of the 'pure relationship' - A critical encounter with the sociology of trust Housing, Theory and Society, 20 :2-14 >DOI

Allen C, Barkley D. 2002. Housing For Offenders: The Role Of ‘Understanding Relationships’ In Supporting People Probation Journal, 49 :267-276 >DOI

Allen C. 2001. 'They just don't live and breathe the policy like we do…': Policy Intentions and Practice Dilemmas in Modern Social Policy and Implementation Networks Policy Studies, 22 :149-166 >DOI

Allen C. 2001. On the Social Consequences (and Social Conscience) of 'the Foyer Industry': A Critical Ethnography Journal of Youth Studies, 4 :471-494 >DOI

Allen C. 2001. Back to the old house? 'Sick role' and biographical narratives of the housing needs of short-stay hospital patients. Health Place, 7 :81-92 >Link

Allen C, Sprigings N. 2001. Housing policy, housing management and tenant power in the 'risk society': Some critical observations on the welfare politics of 'radical doubt' Critical Social Policy, 21 :384-412 >DOI

Allen C. 2000. On the "Physiological Dope" problematic in housing and illness research: Towards a critical realism of home and health Housing, Theory and Society, 17 :49-67 >DOI

Allen C, Gallent N, Tewdwr-Jones M. 1999. The limits of policy diffusion: Comparative experiences of second-home ownership in Britain and Sweden Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 17 :227-244 >DOI

Allen C. 1999. Disablism in housing and comparative community care discourse - towards an interventionist model of disability and interventionist welfare regime theory Housing, Theory and Society, 16 :3-16 >DOI

Allen C. 1999. Towards a comparative sociology of residence and disablement - britain and sweden in interventionist welfare regime perspective Housing, Theory and Society, 16 :49-66 >DOI

Gallent N, Jones R, Allen CB. 1998. Political change and local objectives: observations from rural Wales Area, 30 :125-132 >DOI

Allen C. 1997. The policy and implementation of the housing role in community care—a constructionist theoretical perspective Housing Studies, 12 :85-110 >DOI


Allen C, Imrie R. 2012. The knowledge business: The commodification of Urban and housing research :1-283 9780754693871

Allen C. 2008. Housing Market Renewal and Social Class Routledge 9781134119394

Allen C. 2007. Crime, Drugs and Social Theory A Phenomenological Approach Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. 9780754647423

Allen C, Britain CIOHG, Foundation JR. 2005. Mixed Tenure, Twenty Years on - Nothing Out of the Ordinary 9781905018048

Allen C, Milner J, Price D. 2002. Home Is Where the Start Is The Housing and Urban Experiences of Visually Impaired Children The Policy Press 9781861344564

Allen C, Sprigings N. 1999. Managing Risk Together 9781902496054


Allen C. On Theory, Knowledge and Practice in Housing and Urban Research: A Phenomenology of Conflict and reconciliation Chalcraft D.