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Dr Rachel Swann

Senior Lecturer

School of Social Sciences

+44 29206 88799
Glamorgan Building, Room 1.03A Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA
Available for postgraduate supervision


I have been a Criminology Lecturer at Cardiff University since 2014. I hold a first class honours degree in Criminology and Social Policy (Cardiff University), an MSc in Social Science Research Methods (Cardiff University) and a PhD entitled 'Class, Status and Partying’ (Cardiff University). I am a sociological criminologist who teaches and supervises undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral students in the School of Social Sciences.

I am also senior tutor in the school and working with colleagues in the school, have overall responsibility for pastoral care for all our UG and taught PG students.

My research interests are linked to Norbert Elias' sociology and the night-time economy and I am currently focussed on developing an understanding of pathways into prostitution and sex work. I am currently Co-Director of the Centre for Crime, Law and Justice, with Dr Fred Cram. I am also ESRC Pathway convener for Criminology. 





  • Swann, R. and Hughes, G. 2018. Community crime prevention. In: Mendez Ortiz, E. and Tenca, M. eds. Handbook of Crime Prevention and Citizen Security. Ediciones Didot, pp. 171-208.




Book sections



I have a broad range of interests and am currently involved with the following research areas:

Night time economies. I have a broad interest in the night-time economy, including women’s self-regulation, violence and safety, street pastors and street sex workers in Cardiff’s night-time economy. 

Street sex workers’ pathways into prostitution. Working with Safer Wales, Public Health Wales and Wales' Assembly Government (WAG), I have undertaken a large scale project that aimed to identify risk factors that led to (predominantly women) becoming street sex workers in Cardiff. The most recent WAG funded phase of this on-going research interest resulted in a report that identified a number of risk factors, the most prevalent of which was being 'known' to social services. 

Eliasian figurational sociology. Together with Prof. Gordon Hughes, we would argue that Norbert Elias’ work has significant potential for illuminating ‘Criminological’ problems, yet his contribution remains under-utilised. His work has been used in my PhD research exploring women’s participation in Cardiff’s night-time economy and the community study undertaken alongside Prof Hughes and published in the Sociological Review. Continuing our shared interest in Eliasian sociology, Prof Gordon Hughes and I have also published in Human Figurations.

I have also worked with Dr Alyson Rees' research group to undertake studies looking at themes emerging from an analysis of child practice and adult practice reviews. The child practice review research has been published in the Child Abuse Review.


I teach across the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the school.  All of my teaching is informed by my pedagogic interests in the interrelationship of theory, method and data. I have been nominated and shortlisted for a number of Enriching Student Life Awards, most recently in 2023 for 'most engaging staff member'.

Current Undergraduate Teaching

I teach across the Criminology programme at undergraduate and postgraduate levels andc I currently convene the first year module 'Foundations of Contemporary Criminology' and the MSc module 'Researching Crime, Safety and Justice'. 

I particularly welcome PhD applicants to work on topics related to:

  • Violence and women as victims and perpetrators
  • Sex workers
  • Eliasian figurational sociology
  • Night time economy
  • Community studies

I have a broad range of interests and am currently a supervisor for the following PhD and Professional Doctorate students:

Sikiya Adekanye (sex workers & domestic violence)

Rhiannon Maniatt (support workers & vicarious harm)

Emma Barrow (sexual harassment)

Kirsty Stuart Jepsen (addiction recovery identity)

Danielle O'Shea (law and sex work)

Mark Brain (police and mental health) 

Prof Docs

Melanie Brain (experiences of homeless people)

Catrin O'Brien (adolescents & stalking)

I am currently DTP Pathway convener for Criminology


Dr. Rachel Swann has been a full-time member of academic staff within the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University since 2011.

Education and qualifications

2015: Fellow, Higher Education Academy

2012: PhD (socio-legal) Cardiff University

2007: MSc Social Science Research Methods, Cardiff University

2003-2006 BSc (hons) Criminology & Social Policy (!st), Cardiff University

Honours and awards

Nominated for Enriching Student Life Awards, 2018

Finalist for The Sociological Review 'Outstanding Scholarship' Prize 2017 for Exploring micro-sociality through the lens of ‘established-outsider’ figurational dynamics in a South Wales community (2016). See

Award for Outstanding Contribution 2017

Nominated for 'Exceptional Enhancement of the Student Experience' (Celebrating Excellence Awards, 2017)

Nominated for Personal Tutor of the Year, Enriching Student Life Awards, 2017

Nominated for Most Effective Teacher, Enriching Student Life Awards, 2017

Finalist for ‘Exceptional Enhancement of the Student Experience’, Celebrating Excellence Awards 2016. See

Finalist for Personal Tutor of the Year, Enriching Student Life Awards, 2015.

Finalist for Student Rep Co-ordinator of the year, Enriching Student Life Awards, 2013.

Nominated for Enriching Student Life Awards, 2016-19

Professional memberships

  • British Society of Criminology
  • European Society of Criminology
  • Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • Member of Cardiff Sex Work Steering Group
  • Member of the All Wales Sex Work Group
  • Member Cardiff Centre for Crime, Law and Justice (CCLJ)

Academic positions

2011 - present: Lecturer, Cardiff University

Committees and reviewing

  • Member, Cardiff Centre for Crime, Law and Justice (2011 – present)
  • Senior Personal Tutor Network


I am particularly interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

  • Night time economy
  • Sex work/prostitution
  • Eliasian sociology

External profiles