It's good to work on a glass of wine

September 15, 2006

Name : Adam Dinham Age: 32

Job : Reader in social policy, department of primary care, public health and social policy, Anglia Ruskin University.

Salary : Enough for now.

Background : BA (Hons) (Cantab) in theology and religious studies, Selwyn College, Cambridge; MA in applied social studies, Brunel University; diploma in social work, Brunel; PhD in politics and community development, University of London; PGCert, Brunel.

What is it like to be a young reader? Most people outside universities don't know what a reader is. I just say that I am research-focused and that I can read.

Working hours : I usually find myself catching up on something after dinner and late at night - it's normally better after a glass of wine.

Number of students you teach/staff you manage : Thirty undergraduates, ten tutees, five supervisees (BA/ MA), two PhDs, nine sessional/ Royal Academy staff this year, and a supportive team of seven social policy academics.

Biggest challenge : Fitting everything in.

Worst moment in university life : Delivering my first lecture was pretty terrifying.

What your office is like : Nice, with doors out into the courtyard. I have a second desk now for research assistants.

What university facilities do you use : Cafe, gym, library, reprographics - in that order.

Who are the most difficult people you deal with and how do you cope? Fellow social scientists. My research looks at the engagement between faiths and policy. There's a government agenda that sees faith communities as potential providers of services, community cohesion and, since 7/7, the means to prevent extremism. The Government tends to act as though there are no debates, but faith communities have histories, characteristics, moralities, theologies, values and practices that are hugely differentiated. My work tries to conceptualise some of this and to offer it constructively to people in positions of power as well as faith groups. Some social scientists can be fervent in their rejection of faith as a valid area of inquiry. At worst, I've encountered suspicion that I have a sinister agenda to perpetuate the delusions of the feeble-minded - I think that includes me. But there's lots of support for it.

Best excuses for bad behaviour : "We were expressing a postmodern boundarilessness after MacIntyre." Yeah, yeahI

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