Vacancy: PhD Studentship – Cultures of Health (Inequalities) in a City of Culture

University of Hull

To celebrate the University’s research successes, the University of Hull is offering one full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarship or International Fees Bursary for candidates applying for the following project.

Studentships will start on 26th September 2016.


Dr Lisa Dikomitis,,  +44 (0)1482 465195, School of Social Sciences
Professor Vassos Argyrou,, +44 (0)1482 466305, School of Social Sciences

We are seeking a social scientist to undertake methodologically and conceptually ambitious doctoral research around the social and cultural dimensions of health. The aim of this project is to begin the process of fundamentally rethinking health inequalities based on ethnographic fieldwork in Hull.

Hull—the UK’s City of Culture 2017—ranks 144 out 150 local authorities in terms of premature deaths (Public Health England), while life expectancy in the city is 11.9 years lower for men and 8.6 years lower for women in the most deprived areas than in the least deprived areas (Health Profile 2014). It is clear that something needs to be done—urgently so. But do we really know what is causing these inequalities? We could put them down to the usual suspects: inadequate provision, material deprivation, environmental factors and what might be called the ‘cultural poverty’ of the social groups at the bottom of the health and longevity hierarchy. Yet decades after such solutions and the problem has not been solved. Could it be that a fresh perspective is needed?

The PhD researcher will conduct ethnographic fieldwork in two locations in Hull that differ significantly in terms of material deprivation and life expectancy. The key concern will be to find out to what extent, and how exactly, different cultures shape perceptions of health and illness and mediate heath warnings, whether these warnings come in the form of publicly available information—for example, ‘smoking kills’—or in the form of physical symptoms.

This project is part of the ‘Health, Well-Being and Social Inclusion’ research group which views health and illness beyond a purely clinical perspective. Its mission is to explore the changing landscape of health, illness and medicine from a social science perspective. This is a long-standing strong and vibrant interdisciplinary research cluster in the School of Social Sciences which provides a strong research base within which the Studentship will be located.

To apply for this post please click on the Apply button below.

In order to qualify for this scholarship you will require an undergraduate degree with at least a 2.1, or equivalent in a relevant subject.

Full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarships will include fees at the ‘home/EU’ student rate and maintenance (£14,057 in 2015/16) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.

Full-time International Fee PhD Studentships will include full fees at the International student rate for three years, dependent on satisfactory progress.

PhD students at the University of Hull follow modules for research and transferable skills development and gain a Masters level Certificate, or Diploma, in Research Training, in addition to their research degree.

Successful applicants will be informed of the award as soon as possible and by 30th April 2016 at the latest.