2014-09-12 18.06.41-1Patrick Alexander is a social anthropologist specialising in education, childhood and youth studies. Patrick’s research and teaching interests include the sociology of schooling, youth and youth subcultures, gender, ethnography, and social theory.

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Patrick is Reader in Education and Anthropology in the School of Education, Oxford Brookes University. He is also Research Lead for the School of Education, with oversight for research and knowledge exhange activity. Patrick is also Director of the Centre for Educational Consultancy and Development (CECD), where he leads consultancy and contract research actvity in the field of education.

A Fulbright Scholar, Patrick is a Fellow of the RSA, HEA, Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI), and a Fellow of International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES). Patrick is also Research Fellow at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford. Patrick is Editor of the journal Teaching Anthropology

Research grants and awards

ESRC Impact Accelerator Award (with Oxford University) (2017)

Daiwa Foundation Award (2015)

Fulbright-Peabody Scholarship (2014)

Research projects

In 2016-2017 Patrick carried out a Brookes-funded research project with Professor Graham Butt and John Loewenthal exploring aspiration and imagined futures in rural and urban contexts in the UK. Find out more here.

In 2014 Patrick was awarded a Fulbright Peabody Scholarship to conduct research as a Visiting Scholar at New York University. This project comprised a two year comparative ethnographic study exploring aspiration and imagined futures in urban public/state schools in NYC and London. Find out more at the project blog.

Patrick is also involved in the Remembrance in Schools Project, exploring remembrance practices in UK schools.

Research impact

Patrick leads an ESRC Impact Accelleration project exploring how teachers can engage with anthropological questions about culture and difference in schools. Patrick is working closely with the Interational Baccalaureate (IB) and colleagues teaching in IB Schools to develop this project (2016-2018).

Patrick delivers regular talks and workshops to schools both in the UK and internationally, with a focus on aspiration, imagined futures, and transition to life after school.  If you would like Patrick to speak at your school or organisation, please email palexander@brookes.ac.uk

In 2017 Patrick devised FutureYou2020, an immersive mutli-media art-research installation aimed at engaging young people with questions about their futures and how the future is imagined. The installation has been seen by thousands of people in locations including The Ashmolean Museum, Pegagus Theatre (Outburst), the Oxford Science Bazaar, and eslewhere.

Further information


Prior to joining Oxford Brookes Patrick was a College Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford (St. Hugh’s College), and a researcher in the Oxford University Department of Education working on a range of projects related to aspiration and social identity. He was also coordinator for qualitative research methods training for the Social Sciences Division at Oxford University. Patrick studied United States and Latin American Studies at King’s College, London as an undergraduate before migrating to Oxford for postgraduate study (MSc Social Anthropology, 2005; PGCE English, 2006; DPhil Education, 2011).

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