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Professor of Sociology, University of Essex

John is an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Leadership Fellow in Conflict, Crime and Security. John works on the sociology of disasters, emergencies and existential threat as well as the sociology of education.

His new book is “Artificial Intelligence in the Capitalist University: Academic Labour, Commodification, and Value”.

John has acted as PI on both ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) and EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Science Research Council) interdisciplinary projects related to preparedness and disasters namely 'Preparedness pedagogies and race' (ESRC, 2009-2010), 'Game theory and adaptive networks for city evacuations'' (EPSRC, 2010-2013) and 'Threats to Infrastructure' (2012 - 2015). His ESRC Leadership Fellowship examines preparedness cultures across a number of comparative contexts (UK, US, Japan, Germany and New Zealand).

His work considers the racial and classed contexts of preparedness campaigns for disasters and emergencies. This has involved analysis of preparedness campaigns and films from the Cold War in the UK and US, reappraising working class children's agency in the Aberfan disaster, community case studies on the racialization of public information for terrorist attacks, comparative analysis of national cultures of preparedness and critiquing popular conceptions of existential threat from nuclear war to A.I. 'super-intelligence'. His latest book 'Grenfell Tower: Preparedness, Race and Disaster Capitalism' (2019) uses Marxist value critique and Critical Race Theory to argue that disaster preparedness increasingly works against working class and racialised populations as exemplified by the Grenfell Tower fire.


  • –present
    Professor of Education , University of East London


  • 2004 
    UCL (Institute of Education), Education