London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Lyn Thomas

Emeritus Professor of Cultural Studies


Research Interests 
Postgraduate Supervision

• MA Oxford
• MA London University
• PhD London University

Contact details

Current and Recent Activities

  • Lyn participated in a promotion panel (Habilitation à diriger la recherche) at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, on 29 January 2013.
  • Lyn is an invited speaker at a conference on 'Intertextuality in the work of Annie Ernaux' to be held at the University of Rouen in October 2013. She will speak on the theme: 'Class enemies or soul sisters? Annie Ernaux and Virginia Woolf'.
  • She spoke on working-class whiteness at Brunel University on 15 January 2013 
  • She is currently peer-reviewing for the AHRC and the Austrian Science Fund.
  • Lyn participated in a workshop on gender and religion at Stockholm University 12-13 October 2012. Her paper was on '“Suspect” communities? Performing Irish and Muslim identities and gender in multicultural Britain'.  A book 'Contemporary Encounters in Gender and Religion' edited by Lena Gemzoë, Marja-Liisa Keinänen and Avril Maddrell is planned as an outcome of the workshop. 
  • Lyn spoke to the WLRI Prof doc students on the topic of working-class whiteness on 21 September 2012 (see FAIR newsletter -
  • Lyn was an invited speaker at a conference on 'Annie Ernaux: Time and Memory' at the château of Cerisy in Normandy, 6-13 July, 2012.  Her paper was a comparison of Ernaux's writing with that of Carolyn Steedman, Pierre Bourdieu and Richard Hoggart and was entitled: 'La “mémoire humiliée” et sa narration: Ernaux et la communauté des intellectuels transfuges de classe' (The narration of 'humiliated memory': Ernaux and the international community of class migrant intellectuals). It will be published by Les Éditions Stock in an edited collection, Annie Ernaux, le temps et le mémoire, based on the conference. 



Lyn Thomas is Emeritus Professor of Cultural Studies at London Metropolitan University.  She studied French and German at Oxford University (MA, 1976), Film and Television Studies at London University (MA, 1989) and obtained her PhD in Media and Cultural Studies from London University in 2000. She taught French and German in secondary schools until 1989 when she took up a post as Lecturer in French at the then Polytechnic of North London. She was a founding member of ISET and Deputy Director from 2003-2012. She has developed and taught courses in contemporary French women's writing, popular culture and film, as well as contributing to the BA in Film Studies and MA in Mass Communications and most recently teaching media studies in the Faculty of Applied Social Sciences.  She has organised several ISET seminar series and two international conferences: 'Actualités de Recherche en Sociologie de la Réception' (Current Research in the Sociology of Reception) with Isabelle Charpentier, Université de Versailles - Saint Quentin-en-Yvelines in November 2003, and 'Countering Consumerism: Religious and Secular Responses' with Kate Soper, at London Metropolitan University, April 2006. She was a member of the Feminist Review Editorial Collective from 1998 to 2011. She is a member of the AHRC's peer review college. 


 Research Interests

Contemporary French literature, especially Annie Ernaux; conceptualisations of class in French and British literature and sociology; French and British media; media audiences; 'quality' media and fan cultures; the relationship between religion, spirituality and media. 


Selected Publications


Religion, Consumerism and Sustainability - Paradise Lost? L. Thomas, (ed) Palgrave Macmillan, 2011

The Politics and Pleasures of Consuming Differently, M. Ryle, K.Soper and L. Thomas (eds) Palgrave Macmillan, 2009

Annie Ernaux: A la première personne, (2005) Éditions Stock: Paris

Fans, Feminisms and 'Quality' Media (2002) London and New York: Routledge

Annie Ernaux: An Introduction to the Writer and her Audience (1999) Oxford and New York: Berg.


'Suspect Communities'? Counter-terrorism policy, the press, and the impact on Irish and Muslim communities in Britain, A Report for Policy Makers and the General Public (2011), Institute for the Study of European Transformations, London Metropolitan University (with M. Hickman, S. Silvestri and H. Nickels)

Journal Editing

Feminist Review 97, Religion and Spirituality, edited with A. Brah, Palgrave Macmillan (Spring 2011).

Feminist Review 80, Reflections on 25 Years, Summer 2005, with Helen Crowley and Nirmal Puwar, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Feminist Review 74, Fiction and Theory: Crossing Boundaries, Summer 2003 with Vicki Bertram and Helen Crowley, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Journal Articles

'Working-class whiteness from within and without: an auto-ethnographic response to Avtar Brah's “The Scent of Memory”', Feminist Review 100, 2012, pp. 106-123.

'Social Cohesion and the Notion of 'Suspect Communities': a study of the experiences and impacts of being 'suspect' for Irish communities and Muslim communities', with M. Hickman, H. Nickels and S. Silvestri, Critical Studies on Terrorism Vol. 5 No. 1, April 2012, pp. 89-106.

'Constructing “suspect” communities and Britishness: Mapping British press coverage of Irish and Muslim communities. 1974-2007', with H. Nickels, M. Hickman and S. Silvestri, European Journal of Communication Vol. 27, No. 2, 2012, pp. 135-151.

'De/constructing ''suspect'' communities: A critical discourse analysis of British newspaper coverage of Irish and Muslim communities', 1974-2007 with H. Nickels, M. Hickman, and S. Silvestri, Journalism Studies Vol. 13, No. 3, 2012, pp. 340-355.

'Changing old habits? "New Age" Catholicism, subjectivity and gender in BBC2's The Monastery and its reception, European Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol. 14, Issue 5, October 2011 pp. 558 - 572

'The Archers: An everyday story of old and new media', The Radio Journal, Vol.7 No.1, 2009, pp. 49-66.

'A la recherche du moi perdu: Memory and Mourning in the Work of Annie Ernaux', Journal of Romance Studies, Vol.8, Issue 2, Summer 2008

 'Annie Ernaux, class, gender and whiteness: finding a place in the French feminist canon?' Future of Feminism, Future of Fiction issue, Gender Studies, Vol. 15, No. 2, July 2006, pp. 159-168.

'Alternative realities: downshifting narratives in contemporary lifestyle television', Cultural Studies Vol. 22, No. 5, 2008, pp. 558-572.


'La “mémoire humiliée” et sa narration: Ernaux et la communauté des intellectuels transfuges de classe' in Annie Ernaux, le temps et la mémoire, F. Dugast-Portes, F. Best and B. Blanckeman (eds), Paris: Stock, forthcoming 2013.

'Religion for a Postsecular Society? Discourses of Gender, Religion and Secularity in the Reception of BBC2's The Monastery and The Convent' in D. Herbert and M. Gillespie (eds), Social Media, Religion and Spirituality, Berlin: de Gruyters, forthcoming 2013.

'Who owns Ambridge? Producers and online listeners negotiate meaning in The Archers' in H. Thornham and S. Popple (eds) Content Cultures: Transformations of User Generated Content in Public Service Broadcasting London: IBTaurus, forthcoming 2013.

'Le texte-monde de mon enfance : Intertextes populaires et littéraires dans Les Armoires vides' in J. Dor and D. Bajomée (eds) Annie Ernaux : se perdre dans l'écriture de soi, Paris : Klincksieck, coll. 'Circea', 2011, pp. 15-32.

'Sustaining Spiritualities in Consumer Cultures' in L. Thomas (ed) Religion, Consumerism and Sustainabilty – Paradise Lost? Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, pp. 72-92.

 'Annie Ernaux et ses lecteurs', ('Annie Ernaux and her readers') in S. Salis, (ed) Annie Ernaux: Perspectives Critiques, Legis: Ottawa, 2009, pp. 27-34.

"Annie Ernaux". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 February 2010 [, accessed 07 November 2010.]

'“Ecochic”: green echoes and rural retreats in contemporary lifestyle magazines' in M. Ryle,  K. Soper and L.Thomas (eds) The Politics and Pleasures of Consuming Differently, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, pp. 59-73.

'“Ecoreality”: the aesthetics and politics of 'green' television', in Exposing Lifestyle Television: The Big Reveal, G. Palmer (ed) Farnham: Ashgate, 2008, pp. 177-188.

'La construction et l'interprétation de l'appartenance de classe dans les études qualitatives de réception' ('The construction and interpretation of class belonging in qualitative reception study')  in I. Charpentier (ed) Comment sont reçues les oeuvres: Actualités des recherches en sociologie de la réception et des publics, (How are texts read: Current Research in the Sociology of Reception and of Audiences) Paris: Créaphis, 2006, pp. 93-105.

Essay on Annie Ernaux for The Encyclopedia of Erotic Literature, G. Brulotte and J. Phillips (eds), London and New York: Routledge, 2006, pp. 422-424.

'Influences illégitimes: Confidences comme intertexte des Armoires vides', ('Illegitimate influences: the magazine Confidences as intertext of Les Armoires vides') in F. Thumerel (ed) Annie Ernaux: une oeuvre de l'entre-deux, (Annie Ernaux: Writing in the interspace) Arras: Université d'Artois-Presses, 2004, pp. 139-149.

'Representations of childhood in Sandrine Veysset's Y aura-t-il de la neige à Noël?' in L. Mazdon (ed) France on Film: Reflections on Popular French Cinema, London: Wallflower Press, 2001, pp. 81-94.

Twentieth Century France (Introductory Essay and entries) in C. Buck, (ed.) The Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature, London: Bloomsbury, 1992, pp. 61-66.

Recent papers and addresses

Keynote address on 'The Archers: nostalgia, rural radio and urbane listeners' at a one day symposium on media and the countryside at the Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading, May 12th, 2011. More

Seminar on the representation of Irish communities and Muslim communities in the British press 1974-2007, at the Working Lives Research Institute, May 2010 (with Henri Nickels).

Presentation of first findings of the 'suspect communities' project, London Metropolitan University, March 5th, 2010 (with Mary Hickman, Henri Nickels, Sara Silvestri)

Plenary presentation on 'Lost and leisured femininities in contemporary lifsetyle television' in an ESRC research seminar series on 'Nostalgia in the Twenty-First Century' Strathclyde University, April 2010. The presentation can be viewed at:

Paper at an interdisciplinary conference on 'Alternative spiritualities, the New Age and New Religious Movements in Ireland' at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth on 30 & 31 October 2009. The paper,  'Returning to the fold: The Monastery in narratives of spiritual life', discussed the programme's impact on 'lapsed' Catholics and other Christians, including second generation Irish 'lapsed' Catholics.

Paper at a one day symposium on media reception, participation and power, organised by CRESC, the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-cultural Change, on 27 June 2009; the paper discussed BBC2's The Monastery as an instance of the 'new visibility of religion', in a plenary panel on 'religious identities, media production and reception' with Professor Stewart Hoover, Director of the Center for Religion, Media and Culture, Colorado; Ruth Deller (Sheffield) and Professor Marie Gillespie (OU).

Presentation on her research on Archers fans online at the final showcase event of the BBC/AHRC knowledge exchange pilot programme on 27 April 2009. The audience consisted of BBC staff, other media professionals, academics and AHRC staff


Postgraduate Teaching

Supervision of the following research degrees:

2004-2011 Matthew Janes 'Entrer par effraction: The Construction of Reader, Writer, and Narrator Identities in Annie Ernaux's Twenty-First Century Writing'
2004 - 2009 Marie-Pierre Moreau, Secondary school teachers' constructions of gender and career trajectory in France and Britain (Director of Studies Merryn Hutchings)
2008 - 2009: PhD by prior output, Inge Weber-Newth, European Migration to Post-War Britain: History, Migration, Identities'
2002 - 2007: PhD, Chafik Abdelghani, Synonymy in the Qur'an: A Potential Translation Problem from Arabic (Director of Studies Nadia Rahab)
2001 - 2004: PhD by prior output, Margaret Llewellyn Jones, Body, Space and Ideology: Strategies in the Dramatic Representation of Identity
1999 - 2004: PhD, John Ford, Creolisation: A Sign of Modernity and Postcolonial Healing in the Literature of Erna Brodber, David Dabydeen and Caryl Phillips, (Director of Studies, Patricia Murray)
1999 - 2003: PhD, Darren Waldron, Queering Contemporary French Film: A Study of Representations and Reception (awarded in January 2004)
1995 - 2000: PhD, Emma Webb, Autobiographical Intentions and Interpretations: Marie Cardinal, Annie Leclerc
1995 - 1999: PhD, Maria Esposito, Space, Place and the Past: National Identity, National Cinema and the French film de patrimoine
1998 - 1999: M.Res, Darren Waldron, Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary French Comedy: A Case-Study of 'Gazon Maudit' (awarded Distinction in October 1999)
Emma Webb, Maria Esposito and Darren Waldren were full-time students funded by the British Academy / AHRB


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