Dr Norman Gabriel

Dr Norman Gabriel

Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies

Plymouth Institute of Education (Faculty of Arts and Humanities)


Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies on the BA in ECS programme. 

Teaching on the Master's Programme in Education and Ed.D programmes


D.Phil - University of Sussex, 1998

Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing - Glasgow Caledonian University, 1986 

BA Social Sciences Honours 2:1 - University of the West of Scotland, 1983

Professional membership

International Sociological Association

Teaching interests

Sociology of Early Childhood, Developmental Psychology

Staff serving as external examiners

BEd (Hons) Primary Programme, University of Aberdeen

Doctorate in Social Sciences, MSc in Training, Human Resources Management and Performance Management, Centre for Labour Market Studies, University of Leicester (2002-2010).

Research interests

My research interests are in the sociology of early childhood and the relation between sociology and developmental psychology. I have an international reputation in applying the sociological work of Norbert Elias, co-editing a multi-disciplinary, social science Monograph for Sociological Review with Professor Stephen Mennell, Norbert Elias and Figurational Research: Processual Thinking in Sociology (2011). I also edited with Professor Lars Bo Kaspersen a special issue for The History of the Human Sciences, Norbert Elias and Process Sociology - Across Disciplines (2014).

I have recently written a book, The Sociology of Early Childhood: Critical Perspectives, published by Sage in 2017. You can link to the book's page on the Sage website at: https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/the-sociology-of-early-childhood/book241026

My book and author feature is featured on page 2: http://sage.uberflip.com/i/798072-sociology-catalogue-2017

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

Caroline Leeson, The involvement of looked after children in making decisions about their present and future care needs, awarded December 2009 

Marie Lavelle, A Sociological Investigation of Sure Start Children's Centres: Understanding Parental Participation, awarded December 2011 

Göran Krantz, Students' experiences of dance – a hermeneutic phenomenological study, awarded January 2015

Russell Shobrook, Greenies, Growlers and Goffers - the development of the Royal Navy Habitus, awarded July 2017

Zenna Kingdon, A qualitative exploration of children's experiences of role-play in two pack-away settings, awarded September, 2017

Grants & contracts

Director of Studies, ‘The Role of Children’s Centres in Addressing Issues of Inequality’, jointly funded PhD project over three years by Devon County Council and HEIFC - £50,000

Community Research Award (£9252) to work with the Lark Children’s Centre in Plymouth.

This project worked with the local community developing new and ongoing relationships with key stakeholders, such as Plymouth City Council and Plymouth Primary Care Trust.

Research groups

  • Early Childhood Studies
  • PhD in Education
  • Professional Theory and Practice

Key publications are highlighted

Gabriel NR 2017 'Growing Up in Society - A Historical Social Psychology of Childhood' Historical Social Research 42, (4) 207-226 Publisher Site , DOI PEARL
Gabriel N 2016 'Learning to mock - Challenging the teaching establishment' Research in Comparative and International Education 11, (4) 369-379 , DOI PEARL
Gabriel NR & Kaspersen LB 2014 '‘Human beings in the round’ - towards a general theory of the human sciences' History of the Human Sciences 27, (3) 3-19 Author Site
Gabriel NR 2014 'Growing up beside you: a relational sociology of early childhood' History of the Human Sciences 27, (3) 116-135 Author Site PEARL
Norman P & Gabriel NR 2013 'Reflections on Practice' Journal of Postgraduate Education Study 1, (2) 3-88
Gabriel N 2013 'Provoking conversations on inquiry in teacher education' JOURNAL OF EDUCATION FOR TEACHING 39, (5) 608-610 Author Site , DOI
Gabriel NR & Mennell S 2011 'Handing over the torch: intergenerational processes in figurational sociology' The Sociological Review 59, 5-23 , DOI
Gabriel NR 2011 'Norbert Elias and Developmental Psychology' The Sociological Review 59, 202-219 , DOI
Kaspersen LB & Gabriel N 2008 'The importance of survival units for Norbert Elias's figurational perspective' The Sociological Review 56, (3) 370-387 , DOI
Gabriel N 2017 The Sociology of Early Childhood - Critical Perspectives. SAGE PEARL
Gabriel NR & Mennell S 2011 Norbert Elias and Figurational Research: Processual Thinking in Sociology. Oxford Wiley-Blackwell
Kaspersen, LB and Gabriel & NR 2013 'Survival Units as the Point of Departure for a Relational Sociology' in Delpelteau, F and Powell, C Applying Relational Sociology: Relations, Networks and Society New York Palgrave Macmillan 51-82
Gabriel NR 2010 'Adults' Concepts of Childhood' in Parker-Rees R; Leeson C Early Childhood Studies - An Introduction to the Study of Children's Worlds and Children's Lives Exeter Learning Matters 137-151
Gabriel NR 0 An evaluation of health related support services for nursery age children: the Lark Children's Centre. Lark Children's Centre

Other academic activities

Editor for Plymouth University Journal of Postgraduate Education Study, an electronic journal that encourages research and critical reflection on school knowledge, practice and policy. 

Editorial Board, Education 3-13 - International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education