Dr Bethany Simmonds
Bethany is Lecturer in Sociology, a qualitative researcher and a sociologist with expertise in the ageing body, physical activity and health. She joined the Sociology team at the University of Portsmouth in September 2016, and was previously employed as a Research Associate in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Bristol. Here she worked as a qualitative researcher, exploring topics including, falling and fracturing, delays to older people being discharged from hospital and end of life interventions. Prior to this, Bethany worked as a part-time Assistant Lecturer in Sports Sociology at the University of Chichester whilst completing her PhD in the sociology of ageing, physical activity and rurality at Southampton University. Finally, after completing her undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of Bath, she was appointed to Research Assistant at the University of Plymouth, working on numerous projects for the Social Research and Regeneration Unit.
Bethany is teaching on a number of units on the Sociology undergraduate programme; coordinating a core unit in the first year entitled Themes in Society, a second year option The Sociology of the Body and co-teaches on another second year option entitled Class,Inequalities and the Lifecourse, the latter two based on her substantive research interests. Additionally, Bethany supports with seminar teaching on Research Design and Analysis and Studying Society& core first year units.
Bethany is interested in corporeal identity construction, mediation, resistance and positioning in different social spaces. This has led to explore people’s identity experiences and examining the fluidity or fixed nature over time and in different spaces. Central to Bethany’s work has been the body and she is interested in how identities, such as, age, ethnicity, gender and ‘dis’ability relate to their internal sense of self; becoming alienated or aligned with their bodies and/or how society understands via public and cultural discourses. Health and ageing are key areas in which the body changes and she is interested in how people make sense of this using the narrative resources available. Bethany is also interested in neo-liberalism and the influence this has had in shifting responsibility for health and wellbeing from the state to the individual, especially in relation to older people. Finally, social policies regarding ageing, retirement and border crossings in the lifecourse have been central to her doctoral and post-doctorate work. She uses qualitative methodologies, such as, ethnography, narrative inquiry and visual methods to capture this in-depth material.