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About MiSoC

The ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change (MiSoC) is a multidisciplinary centre that studies the micro-social causes and consequences of macro-social change through a wide-ranging and multi-disciplinary research agenda. Our programme for the 2014-2019 period, “Understanding individual and family behaviours in a new era of uncertainty and change”, covers three areas: how individuals and families are affected by and react to changes in their life circumstances; how new members of society – children, young people and new migrants – develop and are integrated into it; and how values, attitudes, expectations, tastes and identity are formed. A unifying theme is the use of advanced quantitative methods and the analysis of longitudinal micro-data.

MiSoC research is both substantive, addressing important social issues, and methodological, contributing to the development of research methods and the building of research capacity. It is based primarily on household- and individual-level survey data and aims to take a dynamic, longitudinal view rather than a static cross-section view; and to allow for the inter-relatedness of different aspects of social change, and the endogeneity and selection effects that are typical of social research problems. MiSoC research aims to be relevant to policy and practitioner research needs, but to inform the development of policy and practice rather than to evaluate specific policies or practices.

Our programme for the 2014-2019 period is titled “Understanding individual and family behaviours in a new era of uncertainty and change”. Our work covers three main areas:

  • How individuals and families are affected by and react to changes in their life circumstances
  • How new members of society – children, young people and new migrants – develop and are integrated into it
  • How values, attitudes, expectations, tastes or preferences and identity are formed.

Find out more about our areas of research and current work.

We expect this programme of research to benefit a wide range of organisations involved in policy debates, policy design and practice, in a range of domains, located in the UK and other countries, and provide evidence informing key policy choices, such as the balance between intervening late or early in children’s lives, the role of family and wider society in an individual’s development, the choice between universal or targeted support or safety nets for the vulnerable, and the relative roles of values, expectations and preferences versus structure in determining how we act.

For more details, please contact the Director: mbrewer@essex.ac.uk

MiSoC’s Advisory Board is made up of academics, policy-makers, journalists, employees of think-tanks and research foundations, and representative from the private sector. Its general role is to act as a critical friend, advise on MiSoC’s overall shape, academic direction and relevance to policy and practice. It is currently chaired by Professor Tarani Chandola.

Members of the Advisory Board since September 2014 are listed below:

MiSoC Advisory Board members