Professor Stephen Ball

My first degree was in Sociology at the University of Essex, where Dennis Marsden was my tutor.

My MA and PhD were done at Sussex where Colin Lacey was my supervisor. I worked for 10 years at Sussex, for 16 at Kings College London, and joined the Institute of Education in 2001. Until August 2015 I was Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology of Education and now Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology of Education. I have been Managing Editor of the Journal of Education Policy since 1985. In 2003 I was awarded Doctor honoris causa University of Turku, Finland; in 2014 an Honorary D. Litt University of Leicester; 2006 elected Fellow of the British Academy; 2015 elected as Laureate of Kappa Delta Phi, and Fellow of Society of Educational Studies.


  • (2013) Foucault, Power and Education. New York, Routledge.
  • (2013) The Education Debate (2nd Edition). Policy Press, Bristol.
  • Rollock, N., D. Gillborn, C. Vincent and S. J. Ball (2014) The Colour of Class: The educational strategies of the Black middle class. London, Routledge.
  • Ball, S. J. and Nikita, D. P. (2014) ‘The global middle class and school choice: a cosmopolitan sociology’, Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft 17 (3): 81-93
  • Ball, S. J. (2015) ‘What is policy? 21 years later: reflections on the possibilities of policy research’, Discourse 36 (I3): 306-313 DOI:10.1080/01596306.2015.1015279
  • Ball, S. J. (2015) Living the Neo-liberal University, European Journal of Education (Article first published online: 2 JUN 2015)
  • Ball, S. J. (2015) Subjectivity as a site of struggle: refusing neoliberalism? British Journal of Sociology of Education (Published online: 16 Jun 2015)


I recently completed two related research projects, both addressing the ways in which education policy moves through global policy networks, one focused on Africa (funded by the Leverhulme Foundation) and the other on India (funded by the British academy). These build upon previous work on the increasing participation of philanthropy and business in processes of educational policymaking.

Stephen Ball profile


  • Honorary Research Fellow