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Professor Peter Glasner

Emeritus Professor

School of Social Sciences


I obtained an external BSc (Sociology) from London University in 1968, and a PhD from the LSE in 1973. I have taught extensively in universities in Australia and Great Britain. I was a founder and co-editor (with Harry Rothman) of 'New Genetics and Society' in 1999, and was a Professorial Research Fellow in Cesagen, Cardiff between 2002 and 2012, undertaking research and supervision on current developments in post-genomics and stem cell technologies. I have been Treasurer of the British Sociological Association, Vice-president of the Sociology section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, an Auditor with the Higher Education Quality Council, and worked with ESRC and CNAA in various capacities. From 1992-5, I was President of the Association of Learned Societies in the Social Sciences. I have been the Treasurer of the Academy of Social Sciences, and, in 2006, was a founder and co-editor (with Miriam David) of its journal 'Contemporary Social Science'.


My early research was in the sociology of religion, with a particular interest in contemporary belief systems and the secularisation process. I published three books and several articles and reports based on my research in Australia and the UK. My interest in science as a belief system led me to develop research into the culture of science, and I helped develop the field of the social studies of the new genetic technologies in the 1980s. My research projects have included the regulation of genetic engineering in Britain, the organization and management of the Human Genome Mapping Project, the public understanding of science, citizens' juries, the development of proteomics, tissue engineering governance in Britain and Europe, embryonic stem cell research in India, and the UK Stem Cell Bank. I have published nine books and over forty academic papers based on my research in these areas, and with colleagues established the Routledge book series on 'Genetics and Society'.


I  have taught courses in Introductory Sociology, Social Theory, the Sociology of Science and Technology, Science Policy, Research Methods, Comparative Religion, and the Sociology of Religion and Belief.


Honours and awards

  • Morris Ginsberg Fellow LSE 1984,
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts 1991,
  • Fellow Academy of the Social Sciences 2001

Professional memberships

British Sociological Association, Sociological Association of Australia and New Zealand, Australian Association for the Study of Religions, Society for the Social Studies of Science, European Association for the Study of Science and Technology, Australia and Pacific Science, Technology and Society Network

Academic positions

  • 1971-77 Foundation Lecturer in Sociology Australian National University Canberra,
  • 1973-75 Visiting Lecturer in the Sociology of Religion St Marks Institute of Theology Canberra,
  • 1977 Visiting Research Fellow University of Sussex (History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science),
  • 1978-84 Principal Lecturer and Deputy Head of Department of Sociology Polytechnic of North London,
  • 1985 Acting Head of Department of Sociology PNL (January-August),
  • 1985-92 Head of Department of Economics and Social Science Bristol Polytechnic,
  • 1988-2001 Professor of Sociology,
  • 1991-7 Visiting Lecturer in Sociology University of Bristol,
  • 1992-7 Executive Dean, Faculty of Economics and Social Science UWE Bristol,
  • 1997- 2001 Research Professor in Sociology UWE Bristol,
  • 2002 -12 Professorial Research Fellow Cesagen'
  • 2009 International Visiting Scholar in STS Griffith University Queensland