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Sociology Research

Members of ILM group on a beach.

The background and aims of ILM

The Individual in the Labour Market (ILM) Reading Group was founded in the year 2000 by Dr. Brendan Burchell, Professor of Sociology and ex-President of Magdalene College. Our membership is mainly composed of graduate students in Sociology, but we also attract members from psychology, management, geography, politics and economics. As a group, our research interests and methods are broad, but are ultimately all united by an interest in employment and workers.

The sessions have multiple aims, not least being keeping up to date with new developments in knowledge/methods/theories within the employment literature. Our membership guides our reading, with individuals often suggesting papers for group engagement that are of particular relevance to their own research. As such, other group members are encouraged to read more broadly than just within their own topic. ILM also has a strong social component, with there being a trip to the pub after each session and an annual reading retreat.



The group typically meets 2-4 times over the course of each of the 3 undergraduate terms. The sessions are normally hosted on Thursday afternoons from 4:30-6pm and then followed by a trip to a local pub. Readings/ videos are circulated in the week prior to the session via the mailing list hosted on Moodle.

In the sessions, we come and discuss our thoughts on the content we’ve engaged with. This could include the strengths and weaknesses of the paper, new ideas we’ve found interesting, or complaints about the colour schemes of graphs. We all share our feedback, then the floor is opened to a discussion of the broader themes raised.

Any Cambridge affiliated postgraduate student or staff member is welcome to attend the ILM sessions. If you are a visiting scholar or otherwise external to the university, please email us first.


Upcoming meetings

For the 2024 Lent term, we will be meeting 3 times in the 4:30-6pm slot at the Department of Sociology:

  • Thursday 18th Jan: Work & hope. Examining two recent articles that use the concept of ‘hope’ as a lens to explore the experiences of workers in creative industries.
  • Thursday 15th Feb: Women in the labour market. Celebrating Claudia Goldin being awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics.
  • Thursday 14th March: Contemporary professions and occupations.

For further details and readings please see the ILM Lent 2024 Term Card here.


Contact details

If you’re interested in attending an ILM session, want to be added to the moodle page, or would like to suggest a reading, please contact:

Niamh Bridson Hubbard (,uk)

Charis Nogossek (


Please click here to view the ILM archive website.