Skip to content

Dr Emily Nicholls

Senior Lecturer

Emily Nicholls


Emily is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology who teaches around the sociology of gender and risk, and has research expertise in gender, femininities and alcohol consumption / sobriety.


Emily joined the University of Portsmouth in September 2015, after working as a Research Associate (RA) on a collaborative ESRC-funded project ‘If the Shoe Fits: Enabling Patient-Centred Podiatry’ around footwear and identity with the University of Sheffield and Podiatry Services, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. Prior to this, Emily worked as a Teaching Assistant whilst undertaking her PhD thesis at Newcastle University. Emily also completed an MA in Gender Research at Newcastle University, and a BA in Politics and Philosophy at the University of Leeds. 

Media Availability

Emily is available to talk to the media about alcohol and sobriety.

Research Interests

Emily's main research interests are in the area of gender, femininities and identities, specifically the ways in which gender and identity are performed in everyday contemporary contexts such as the Night Time Economy (NTE), and the ways in which gender intersects with class, age and sexuality, particularly in the context of alcohol consumption. Her PhD thesis examined the ways in which young women embody ‘appropriate’ femininities through their everyday practices on a ‘girls’ night out’ and in the NTE more widely. She is particularly interested in the ways in which drinking practices - and more recently, sobriety - are negotiated in the construction of feminine identities, and is a member of the British Sociological Association (BSA) Alcohol Study Group.

Emily has recently published a full-length monograph on negotiations of femininity on a 'girls' night out' with Palgrave  Macmillan ( She has also published journal articles around risk and femininity, and a book chapter on femininities, class and alcohol consumption published by Routledge as part of the BSA’s Sociological Futures Series. She was shortlisted for the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association Student Essay Prize in 2015. Her recent collaborative work on shoes and identity at the University of Sheffield received a Council for Allied Health Professions Research (CAHPR) Public Health Research Award and was shortlisted for a Medipex Innovation Award.

Emily is currently researching the experiences of women who are navigating the early stages of sobriety, with a particular focus on the stories women share of their 'journeys' to sobriety and any changes to their sense of self and identity that they experience when they stop drinking. She also welcomes opportunities to continue to build on the success of the ‘If the Shoe Fits’ project through future collaborative work with academic and NHS partners.

Emily welcomes PhD applications in areas related to gender, identities and postfeminism and / or alcohol studies, sobriety and the Night Time Economy.

Teaching Responsibilities

Emily is joint unit co-ordinator for the third year unit ‘Gender and Sexuality’, and unit co-ordinator for the second year unit ‘Risk in Society’. She supervises undergraduate dissertations, teaches on first year units ‘Studying Society’ and ‘Research Design and Analysis’ and acts as personal tutor for undergraduate students. She is also the Admissions, Recruitment and Induction Lead for the School of Education and Sociology and the Course Leader for Sociology with Criminology. 

ID: 2991037