Staff Profile


Dr Sarah Cant

School Director of Academic Studies

School: School of Law, Policing and Social Sciences

Campus: St Martins Priory

Tel: 01227 922145

Profile summary

I am a Principal Lecturer and the Director of Academic Studies in the School of Law, Policing and Social Sciences.

I joined Canterbury Christ Church University in 2001, after six years as a Research Fellow and a subsequent six years as a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Roehampton University.

During my time at Canterbury Christ Church I have consolidated my interest in the Sociology of Health and Illness and specifically the sociologies of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Mental Health. I also have extended my research interests to include the study of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, the status and promise of Sociology, and Community Regeneration.  I initiated a 'Community Partnerships Project' at the University, designed to foster reciprocal relationships with local charity and third sector organisations and, along with my students and colleagues, have undertaken a number of research projects. One particular project, commissioned by Thanet District Council, involved an evaluation of team working to deliver community services and this led to an exciting collaboration with the London School of Economics working on a Leverhulme/Rockefeller funded project on community resilience.

In the Sociology Programme we take a team approach to teaching and as such I contribute to many modules across all three years of the undergraduate degree.  I teach on the Masters programme and welcome PhD students interested in the sociologies of CAM, mental illness and higher education. I am currently overseeing 10 PhD students within the University.

Research and knowledge exchange

My main area of research interest lies in the Sociology of Health and Illness. This began with a scholarship to study for a Masters in Sociology as Applied to Medicine, followed by funded research into the private health care sector and then a project about health promotion in primary care. The award of an ESRC grant fostered a long term interest in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) with a particular focus on the processes of professionalisation and questions of power and legitimacy.  This work formed the basis of my PhD. My most recently funded research work in this area has centred on the use of CAM by nurses and midwives and this has led to an interest in the intersection of gender and CAM and health policy questions around integration. Additionally, I have secured funding to examine the experiences of teaching and learning in Higher Education.

My latest work has centred on the establishment of a 'Community Partnerships Project'. This developed from a teaching initiative where I developed a volunteering module ('Citizenship and Community') for our students. The aim of the project is to develop volunteering opportunities for our students but to also work with our local charity and third sector organisations by providing research consultancy and a support nexus. Perhaps the most exciting part of the project is that we are offering not just academic expertise but are also engaging our students in these research activities, providing them with practical research experiences.

Teaching and subject expertise

Whilst my main research area lies in the Sociology of Health and Illness, I contribute to a wide range of modules, reflecting a broad based expertise in Sociology, Social Theory and Social Research Methods. As such, I am centrally involved in the delivery of our Level 4 modules. In addition, I offer specialist modules in the Sociology of Health, Sociology of Mental Health, Theory and Methods at Lveles 5 and 6 and contribute to our taught Masters programmes. I supervise Masters by Research and am involved in a large number of PhD supervisory panels. In addition, I contribute to the medical sociology delivery at Kent and Medway Medical School.

I have published research on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

In 2011, my team and I were awarded the BSA/C-Sap National Award for Excellence in Teaching Sociology.

External activities

My research in complementary and alternative medicine has resulted in conference presentations at many national and international conferences. During the House of Lords review of CAM, I contributed to working group discussions and I have acted as an Advisor to the Open University on a Wellcome Foundation research project and for their undergraduate degree.

My recent work within the Sociology of Teaching and Learning within Higher Education has also been widely disseminated at conferences and our Programme hosted a Higher Education Academy Seminar.

I have extensive experience of External Examining, PhD examination and I have acted as an External Assessor for validation work at other Universities.

I am a trustee of the British Sociological Association and sit on their public engagement committee. In this role, I have been championing and defending the teaching of sociology in schools and colleges to ensure that teachers and the next generation of sociologists are fully supported by the Association. 

Publications and research outputs

Recent publications include:

Cant, S. (2022). ‘Complementary and Alternative Medicine’ in Monaghan, L and Gabe, J. (eds) Key Concepts in Medical Sociology. London: Sage.

Cant, S. (2022). ‘Health’ in Murji, K., Neal, S., and Solomos, J. (eds) Introduction to Sociology. London: Sage

Cant, S., and Hardes., (2021). How to be a Sociologist. London: Harper Collins.

Koch, I., Fransham, M., Cant, S., Ebrey, J., Glucksberg, L., Savage, M. (2021). Social Polarisation at the Local Level: A Four-Town Comparative Study on the Challenges of Politicising Inequality in Britain. Sociology. 55(1):3-29. doi:10.1177/0038038520975593

Bristow, J., Cant, S., and Chatterjee, A. (2020) Generational Encounters with Higher Education. The academic -student relationship and the university experience.  Bristol University Press

Kolbe, K., Upton-Hansen, C., Savage, M., Lacey, N. and Cant, S. (2020). The art world’s response to the challenge of inequality.  Working Paper (40) International Inequalities Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

Cant. S. (2020). ‘Medical Pluralism, Mainstream Marginality or Subaltern Therapeutics? Globalisation and the Integration of ‘Asian’ Medicines and Biomedicine in the UK’. Society and Culture in South Asia, 6(1): 1-21

Cant, S., Savage, M., and Chatterjee, A. (2019) ‘Popular but Peripheral:  The Ambivalent Status of Sociology Education in Schools in England’. Sociology.

Cant, S. and Watts, P. (2019) Hidden in plain sight: exploring men’s use of complementary and alternative medicine. The Journal of Men's Studies. pp. 1-21. ISSN ‎1060-8265

Cant, S (2017) Hysteresis, social congestion and debt: towards a sociology of mental health disorders in undergraduates. Social Theory and Health, 10.1057/s41285-017-0057-y.

Cant, S. and Watts, P. (2015) The 'knowledgeable doer': nurse and midwife integration of complementary and alternative medicine in NHS hospitals. In: Gale, N. and McHale, J., eds. Routledge Handbook of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. London: Routledge. pp. 98-110 ISBN 9780415818940

Read more of my research.


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Last edited: 15/12/2018 11:46:00