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Photo of Dr Christopher Thorpe

Dr Christopher Thorpe

Senior Lecturer (Sociology)

Amory 349

Office hours:

Appointment via e-mail

Office hours: Monday 11:30 - 12:30 / Tuesday 11:30 - 12:30

Office: Room B349, Third floor, Amory Building, Streatham Campus

Please note that requests for references must be confirmed with me first

Research interests

  • Classical and modern social and cultural theory
  • Historical sociology / cultural sociology from an historical perspective
  • Cultural representation - in particular, representations of Italy and the Italians in English and later British culture from a longue-duree historical perspective
  • Sociology of Art and culture
  • Cultural globalisation, inter-change and translation
  • Social theory, sociology and social work

Cultural Sociology of Cultural Representation

My current work explores how analytic frames and theoretical concepts taken from the ‘sociology of culture’ and ‘cultural sociology’ can be brought together to go beyond orthodox conceptions of and approaches to cultural representation within sociology and the social sciences more broadly. The monograph, published with Routledge, is entitled:

Cultural Sociology of Cultural Representations: Visions of Italy and the Italians in England and Britain from the Renaissance to the Present Day.

Endorsements for the book

‘This book is a signal achievement of cultural sociology, reconstructing and interpreting the collective representation of "nations" and "civilizations" at a macro level and over shifting historical time. Thorpe shows, not only how British thinkers understood "Italy" in terms of the binary code of good and evil, but how that signification inverted in the wake of the English Reformation. An original and compelling work.’

- Jeffrey C. Alexander, Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology, Yale University, USA.

 ‘Just as Marx turned Hegel on his head, so too does Christopher Thorpe comprehensively upend 40 years' worth of conventional thinking in the post-Saidian interdisciplinary study of cultural representations. He thereby provides a radically new interpretation of how the British have understood Italy and the Italians over hundreds of years. The book should appeal to sociologists who want their predictable paradigms shaken, and to historians, of Anglo-Italian relations and much else, who want their field cleared of idealising bourgeois obfuscation.’

David Inglis, Professor of Sociology, University of Helsinki, Finland.


Editorial work and professional affiliations

(2020 - ongoing) I am an editor for the journal Cultural Sociology (Sage):

(2024 - ongoing) I am also editor for the journal Dialogues in Sociology (Sage):

I am a member of the British Sociological Association



Thorpe, C. (2023) Cultural Sociology of Cultural Representations: Visions of Italy and the Italians from the Renaissance to the Present Day. London:

Thorpe, C. (2017) Social Theory for Social Work: Ideas and Applications. London: Routledge.


Books – co-authored

Inglis, D. with Thorpe. C. (2012 1st ed. / Dec. 2018, 2nd ed. / Jul. 2024, 3rd ed.) An Invitation to Social Theory, Cambridge: Polity.

Recently translated into Chinese as: Inglis, D., & Thorpe, C. (2022). 社会理论的邀请. The Commercial Press.


Books – edited

Inglis, D., Thorpe, C. and Gimlin, D. (2007) Food and Society: Critical Concepts in the Social Sciences, 4 vols., London: Routledge.


Refereed journal articles

Inglis, D., Almila, A.M., Thorpe, C. and Todd, M. (2024) 'For Sociological Polyphony and Conviviality: Enhancing Sociology's Intellectual Aspirations', Dialogues in Sociology, 1(1).

Inglis, D. and Thorpe, C. (2023) 'Towards a Cultural Sociology of the Uses of Classical Literature: Deploying Literary Representations of Rome and the Romans in England between the 15th and 18th Centuries', Classical Literature, 1(1): 49 -

Inglis, D. and Thorpe, C. (2023) 'Beyond the 'inimitable' Goffman: from 'social theory' to social theorizing in a Goffmanesque manner', Frontiers Sociology, 8. 

Inglis, D., Thorpe, C. and Almila, A. M., (2023) ‘Masks /Cosmopolitanism / Hospitality: On Facial Politics in the Covid-19 Era’, Revista Portugesa de Filosofia, 78(4): 1511 – 1532

Thorpe, C. and Inglis, D. (2022) 'What's Up With Cultural Sociology? From Bourdieu and the Mainstream to 'Productive Weirdness', Cultural Sociology, 16(3): 318 - 337.

Thorpe, C., Jaworsky, N., Lo, M-C. M., Morgan, M., Ushiyama, R. (2022) ‘Visions for Cultural Sociology in Uncertain Times’, Cultural Sociology, 16(3): 305 – 317.

Thorpe, C. (2019) ‘Reconsidering Cultural Representation with Field Theory: Continuity and Change in the Discursive Construction of Italy and the Italians from 1680 to 1830’, Journal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change, 4(1): 1 - 15. DOI:

Thorpe, C. and Inglis, D. (2019) ‘Do 'Global Generations' Exist? From Mannheim to Beck and Beyond’, Youth and Globalization, 1(1): 40 - 64. DOI:

Inglis, D. and Thorpe, C. (2019) ‘Catwalk Catholicism: On the Ongoing Significance of Federico Fellini's Ecclesiastical Fashion Show’, Religions, 10(9): 520.

Thorpe, C. (2017) ‘Comments on Claudio E. Benzecry, Monika Krause and Isaac Ariail Reed’s Social Theory Now: Social Theoretical Dialogue and Development in America from a British Perspective’, Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, 18(3): 350 – 357.

Thorpe, C. (2011) ‘The Dual-Edged Sword of Sociological Theory: Critically Thinking Sociological Theoretical Practice’, Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, Vol., 12 (2):  215 – 228.

Thorpe, C. (2009) ‘Beyond ‘La Dolce Vita’: Bourdieu, Market Heteronomy and Cultural Homogeneity’, Cultural Sociology, 3(1): 123 – 146.

Thorpe, C. (2008) ‘Imagining Italy and the Italians in the 'Age of Machinery': Spectres of Industrial Modernity in the Italianate Visions of John Ruskin and D.H. Lawrence’, Journal of Anglo-Italian Studies, Vol. 9. pp. 79 – 106.

Thorpe, C. (2008) ‘The Distinguishing Function of Europe: attitudes towards and perceptions of Europe and the European Union among young Scottish adults’, Perspectives on European Politics and Society, 9(4): 499 - 513.


Book chapters

Thorpe, C. (2020) ‘(Re-)Imagining Social Theory for Social Work’ in Webb, S. (Ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Critical Social Work. Oxford: Routledge. ISBN: 1138578436 (hbk)

Inglis, D. and Thorpe, C. (2020) ‘Translation Encounters and the Histories of Globalization’, in Bielsa, E. and Kapsaskis, D. (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Globalization, London: Routledge, pp. 13 - 26.

Thorpe, C. (2013) ‘Critical Strategies for Implementing a Relational Sociological Paradigm: Elias, Bourdieu and Uncivilized Sociological Theoretical Struggles’, in C. Powell and F. Deplteau (eds.) Conceptualizing Relational Sociology: Ontological and Theoretical Issues, Vol. 1. London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Thorpe, C. (2013) ‘The Poetics of Travel in Byron and Shelley: Translating Italian Experience into Artistic Distinction’, in A. Yarrington and S. Villani (eds.) Travels and Translations: Anglo-Italian Cultural Transactions. Rodopi B.V,pp. 181 – 203

Thorpe, C. (2010) ‘Crime and Society’, in C. Yuill and A. Gibson (eds.) Sociology for Social Work. London: Sage.

Thorpe, C. (2010) ‘Sociology for Social Work: An Overview’, in C. Yuill and A. Gibson (eds.) Sociology For Social Work, London: Sage.


Popular sociology texts

Thorpe, C. (2020) ‘Sociology’ in H. Wilkinson (Ed.) The Visual Encyclopaedia. London. DK.

Thorpe, C. and Yuill, C. (2018) Heads Up Sociology. London: DK. (Translated into a wide range of languages and sold internationally)

Loxley, D., Thorpe, C. and Yuill, C. (2015) The Sociology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained London: DK.


Encyclopaedia entries

Thorpe, C. (2017) ‘Leo Strauss’, The Encyclopaedia of Social Theory. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell Books.

Thorpe, C. (2017) ‘Vilfredo Pareto’, The Encyclopaedia of Social Theory. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell Books.

Thorpe, C. (2017) 'Jean-Paul Sartre', The Encyclopaedia of Social Theory. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell Books.


Book reviews

Thorpe, C. (2023) 'Jeffrey Alexander and Cultural Sociology', European Journal of Social Theory

Thorpe, C. (2023) 'Critically Appraising Bourdieu and Marx: Practices of Critique', Journal of Classical Sociology, 24(1): 95 - 102

Thorpe, C. (2022) 'The Heavens and the Earth: Graeco-Roman, Ancient Chinese, and Medieval Islamic Images of the World', Glocalism: Journal of Culture, Politics and Innovation, 1

Thorpe, C. (2021) 'Durkheim and After: The Durkheimian Tradition, 1893 - 2020', European Journal of Social Theory, 25(3): 496 - 500.

Thorpe, C. (2020) 'Andrea Cossu and Matteo Bortolini's Italian Sociology, 1945 - 2010: An Intellectual and Institutional Profile', Journal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change, 5(1): 09.

Thorpe, C. (2020) 'What Makes A Social Crisis? The Societalization of Social Problems', Cultural Sociology, 14(4): 204 - 205.

Thorpe, C. (2019) 'Nietzsche and Sociology: Prophet of Affirmation', European Journal of Social Theory, 23(1): 113 - 118.

Thorpe, C. (2019) 'Manet: A symbolic Revolution and Classification Struggles: General Sociology, Volume 1 Lectures at the College de France', Journal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change, 4(1): 07.

Research interests

Review work

I am presently Co-Editor for Cultural Sociology.

I was Associate Editor for the journal Cultural Sociology (Sage)

I have undertaken  review work for Cultural Sociology, Journal of Anglo-Italian Studies, Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, Journal of Common Market Studies, American Sociological Review, Journal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change,

I have alos carried out reviews of book proposals for: Manchester University Press, Vernon Press, Sage, Routledge, Palgrave, Polity.


I have reviewed chapters for Giddens' Sociology (7th and 8th editions) and Contemporary Sociology (Polity Press).

I was an academic consultant for Dorling Kinderlsey Publication on an introductory sociology/ social theory text entitled The Sociology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained – Jul. 2014 to Feb. 2015.

Research supervision

I have acted as LEAD SUPERVISOR and SECOND SUPERVISOR on a range of doctoral theses through to COMPLETION.

I am interested in supervising doctoral students in sociology in a range of areas which include:

Sociology of Culture / Cultural Sociology

Cultural representation; representations of the 'cultural other' and 'other cultures'; cultural appropriation; cultural identity; cultural (re-)production; cultural nationalism; culture and taste; cultural globalization; autonomy of culture.

Social and Cultural theory

Classical and modern social and cultural theory - particular expertise in the theoretical work of Pierre Bourdieu, Norbert Elias and Jeffrey Alexander

Historical Cultural Sociology/ Sociology of Culture

Particularly as applied to the discursive representation of Italy, Italian culture, the Italians, Anglo-Italian relations, England, Britain

Social work, social theory and sociology

In particular, the use and application of sociological and social theoretical ways of seeing and modes of reasoning in and across a wide range of areas of social work theory and practice




Research students



External impact and engagement

External Examiner for London Metropolitan University (2018 - present)

I am currently in dialogue with the Italian Embassy in order as part of an ongoing initiative to maintain and develop cultural outreach.

I presented the Charles de Chassion Memoral Lecture to the British Italian Society in 2018:



During my time as an undergraduate and postgraduate student I lived and worked in Northern Italy for a number of years, spending time between Lake Garda and Verona. I am fluent in Italian and undertake occasional translation work for Italian broadsheet newspapers and Sunday magazine articles.

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