Dr William McGowan

School of Justice Studies

Will joined the Department of Criminology within the School of Justice Studies in June 2020 having held previous lecturing and research posts at the University of Liverpool and LJMU. Drawing primarily on Sociology, Philosophy of Social Science, Critical Criminology and Critical Social Policy, his research interests span two related areas within this interdisciplinary space: 1) Violence, Victimisation, Death and Bereavement and 2) Social Theory and Social Science Methodology.

Will obtained his MA in Social Science Research Methodology from the University of Liverpool where he went on to complete a PhD in Sociology. He is currently writing a monograph, based partly on this doctoral work, entitled 'Victims of Political Violence and Terrorism: Making Up Resilient Survivor Communities'. His current research is focused on the political and moral economies of the funeral industry, particularly how capital accumulation operates within this relatively overlooked sector, but he has also published recent articles and chapters on emotional labour, reflexivity, and the question of what should constitute the 'empirical' within qualitative and interpretive epistemologies. Exploring the ongoing ways in which social inequalities are produced and reproduced through the supposedly great leveller of mortality form the basis of his future work.


University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, PhD Sociology (conferred without modifications)
University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, MA Social Science Research Methodology (Distinction)
University of Salford, United Kingdom, BSc (Hons) Criminology (First Class)

Journal article

McGowan W, Cook EA. 2020. Comprehensive or Comprehensible Experience? A Case Study of Religion and Traumatic Bereavement Sociological Research Online, DOI Author Url Public Url

Fletcher S, McGowan W. 2020. The State of the UK funeral industry Critical Social Policy, DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

McGowan W. 2020. ‘If you didn’t laugh, you’d cry’: Emotional labour, reflexivity and ethics-as-practice in a qualitative fieldwork context Methodological Innovations, DOI Public Url

McGowan W. 2016. Critical terrorism studies, victimisation, and policy relevance: compromising politics or challenging hegemony? Critical Studies on Terrorism, 9 :12-32 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Internet publication

Fletcher S, McGowan W. 2020. “YOU DESPICABLE BEASTS”: Dignity Funerals and commodified death in the spotlight Publisher Url Public Url

Wilkinson H, McGowan W, Fletcher S. 2018. ‘I should be doing my PhD. Instead, I’m here. Making this sign, and defending a pension I don’t even have yet…’ Public Url

Vaughn L, McGowan W. 2016. Treating honour-based violence as terrorism will only harm more women and girls Public Url


Carrapico HF, Massoumi N, McGowan W, Mythen G. 2020. Disputing Security and Risk: The Convoluted Politics of Uncertainty Public Url

McGowan W. 2019. Performing Atrocity: Staging Experiences of Violence and Conflict Lippens R, Murray E. Representing the Experience of War and Atrocity: Interdisciplinary Explorations in Visual Criminology Palgrave Macmillan 978-3-030-13925-4 Publisher Url Public Url

McGowan W. 2017. The perils of ‘uncertainty’ for fear of crime research in the 21st century Lee M, Mythen G. The International Handbook on Fear of Crime Routledge 9781315651781 Publisher Url Public Url

Mythen G, McGowan W. 2017. Cultural Victimology Revisited: Synergies of Risk, Fear and Resilience Walklate S. Handbook of Victims and Victimology Routledge 9781315712871 Publisher Url Public Url


Book review

McGowan W. 2017. In Praise of Forgetting: Historical Memory and Its Ironies by David Rieff The British Journal of Criminology: an international review of crime and society, 57 :1520-1523 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Research Grants Awarded:

Research Development Fund, University of Liverpool, Making Sense of the Past in the Present: Findings and Futures for Survivors of Violence and Conflict, Grant value (£): 3,875. 2019

University of Liverpool/Santander, Santander Travel Grant for the Early Career Researcher Development Programme RENKEI PAX School: ‘Enslaving the Mind’, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan., Grant value (£): 1,000. 2016

Economic and Social Research Council, Facing the consequences of political violence and terrorism: 'Resilient' subjects?, Grant value (£): £56,635. 2014

External collaboration:

City, University of London, Dr Elizabeth Cook.

Manchester Metropolitan University, Dr Samantha Fletcher.

University of Greenwich, Dr Christian Perrin.

University of Liverpool, Professor Gabe Mythen.