Professor John Offer

Professor of Social Theory & Policy

School of Applied Social and Policy Sc.

Coleraine campus

Room J511,
Cromore Road,
Co. Londonderry,
BT52 1SA,

Institute for Research in Social Sciences

Professor of Social Theory & Policy

Professor John Offer


John Offer has been Professor of social theory and policy at Ulster University since 2000. Previously he held the positions of Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at Ulster. His first degree was in Philosophy and Sociology from Keele University, his PhD in Sociology was also from Keele.

His main undergraduate teaching interests are in the areas of Changing Images of Welfare and Social Theory and Social Policy. His recent research, with financial support from the British Academy, has focused on the reinterpretation of Herbert Spencer’s social thought, and the idea of welfare pluralism in Robert Pinker’s writing.

John has published nine books. Of his book, Herbert Spencer and Social Theory (2010), Professor J. D .Y. Peel commented in the European Journal of Sociology:

"The last twenty years have seen a notable revival of scholarly interest in Herbert Spencer...all of these are now eclipsed by John Offer's excellent study, which must surely remain the definitive critical treatment on the whole range of Spencer's thought for quite some time to come".

In 2016 he was a Guest Co-Editor of and contributor to the special issue of Sociology entitled Bringing it ‘Home’? Sociological Practice and the Practice of Sociology (2016). He is joint editor, with Robert Pinker, of the book Social Policy and Welfare Pluralism: Selected Writings of Robert Pinker, to be published by Policy Press in 2017.

From 2010 to 2014 John was Chair of the Editorial Board of the leading social science journal Sociology. In 2012 he was elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS).