David Smith

Dr David Smith CertTESOL, BA Hons, PgCLTHE, PhD

David Smith

Dr David Smith

Principal Lecturer, Sociology

Department of Psychology, Social Work and Counselling

Faculty of Education and Health

Dr David Smith is a Principal Lecturer for Sociology in the Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling at the University of Greenwich. 

He completed his ESRC funded PhD at Royal Holloway College, University of London in 2002, an ethnographic study of the social and community impacts of large scale economic and industrial changes in London.

David joined the university in 2011 to lecture across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, particularly those with a sociological and social policy element. He also course coordinates Research Methods and Methodology as well as supervising post-graduate and PhD research projects.

His research interests include social policy, social exclusion and social divisions, health inequalities, palliative and end of life care and the health of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) populations, primarily Gypsies and Travellers.

His more recent projects include examination in the use of palliative and end of life care in BME groups; the reasons for low uptake of the MMR vaccine in Gypsy/Traveller communities; as well as work on the social integration of Roma migrants for the EU Fundamental Rights Agency.

David has acted as a panel member on the Department for Education's Gypsy Roma Traveller Stakeholder Education Group, and on a review of Coalition Government Policy on Gypsies and Travellers' for the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

In 2013 he published a co-authored monograph Gypsies and Travellers in Housing: the decline of nomadism, which was the first in-depth study of the settlement of the UK's nomadic communities into housing and the social impact of these changes.

Posts held previously:

  • 2006-11, Senior Lecturer, Sociology & Social Science, Department of Applied Social Sciences, Canterbury Christ Church University
  • 2005-06, Lecturer (p/t), Sociology, Department of Human Sciences, Thames Valley University
  • 2003-05, Research Fellow, Private Pensions & Social Inclusion, Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Southampton
  • 1999-2002, Teaching Fellow, Royal Holloway College, University of London
  • Principal Lecturer, Sociology, Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling
  • Lecturer on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes
  • Course coordinator for Research Methods & Methodology
  • Supervises Postgraduate/PhD research projects
  • Leads on Ageing, Daily Life and the Life Course, in the Centre for Positive Ageing
  • The Social Policy Association: Best New Publication Award; 'On the Margins of Inclusion: changing labour markets and social exclusion in London' (2005: Policy Press), 2006
  • University of Southampton Staff Achievement Award Level 1, 2005
  • The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Postgraduate Fellowship Award, 1998-2001
  • The Royal Holloway College Steve Schenk Prize in Sociology, 1995
  • Co-applicant Council of Europe/European Academic Network on Romani Studies funded International Seminar, Thematic Meeting Report and Policy Guidance: Crime and Punishment-Gypsies, Travellers and Roma in the criminal justice system, 3-4 December, New Scotland Yard, London, UK, 2014
  • Editorial Advisory Board Member: Handbook of Research on Impacts of International Business and Political Affairs on the Global Economy' IGI Global / UUM Malaysia, 2014
  • Grant application reviewer, Department of Health Policy Research Programme., 2014
  • Chair, Advisory Board for Community Channel's Gypsy Roma Traveller season, 2013
  • Peer reviewer: Sociology of Health and Illness; Social Policy and Administration; Ethnic and Racial Studies

Urban sociology; social class; social exclusion and social divisions; social policy; minority populations, especially Gypsies and Travellers; health inequalities; and social networks.

Funded research projects

  •  University of Greenwich Faculty of Education and Health REF Funds 2015/16: Exploring lay understandings of cancer in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities; Principal Investigator October 2015-July 2016
  • Health Education Kent Surrey Sussex (HEKSS): End of Life Practices and Palliative Care among Black and Minority Ethnic Groups; Principal Investigator April 2014-May 2015
  • EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA): Action research on local Roma integration plans in EU countries: Phase One; UK Country Coordinator, 2013
  • RAE Competitive Investment Round Research and Enterprise Investment Programme 2013/14: Barriers and Facilitators to the uptake of immunisation in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities in Kent and South East London; Co-Investigator January-July 2014
  • Health Education Kent Surrey Sussex (HEKSS): Evaluation of LETB/HEKSS Phase 1 and how it is achieving its vision; Principal Investigator April 2013-April 2014
  • Knowledge Transfer Development Fund: Gypsy Travellers Education Project Knowledge Transfer Bid Application Fund; Principal Investigator December 2010-January 2012
  • South East Coastal Communities Grant: Travellers Health Project; Co-Investigator September 2009-March 2011
  • Knowledge Transfer Development Fund: Housed Gypsies and Intercommunity Relations on Housing Estates; Principal Investigator March-December 2008
  • Amacus Housing Association Sittingbourne Gypsy/Traveller Survey; Principal Investigator January-December 2008
  • Canterbury City Council: East Kent Area Gypsy and Traveller Needs Assessment for Canterbury City Council; Co-Investigator March-May 2007


Smith, D. and Greenfields, M. (2013). Gypsies and Travellers in housing: the decline of nomadism. Bristol: Policy Press.

Journal articles:

Picker, G., Greenfields, M. and Smith, D. (2015). Colonial refractions: The 'Gypsy camp' as a spatio-racial technology. City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, 19(5), pp. 741-752. 

Smith, D. and Greenfields, M. (2015). Resisting Assimilation: survival and adaptation to 'alien' accommodation forms: the case of British Gypsy/Travellers in housing'. Today's Children Tomorrow's Parents: an interdisciplinary journal, 40-41, pp. 68-81. 

Smith, D. and Ruston, A. M. (2013). If you feel that nobody wants you you'll withdraw into your own: Gypsy/Travellers, networks and health care utilisation. Sociology of Health and Illness, 35(8), pp. 1196-1210.

Ruston, A. M. and Smith, D. (2013). Gypsies/Travellers and health: risk categorization versus being 'at risk'. Health, Risk and Society, 15(2), pp. 176-193. 

Smith, D. and Greenfields, M. (2012). Housed Gypsies and Travellers: ethnicity exclusion and adaptation. Race and Class, 53(3), pp. 48-64.


Smith, D. and Greenfields, M. (2014). 'The wellbeing of Gypsies and Travellers'. In: A. Knight, V. La Placa, and A. McNaught, eds., Wellbeing: Policy and Practice. Cheltenham: Lantern. 

Greenfields, M., Smith, D. and Ryder, A. (2012). Gypsies and Travellers: economic practices, social capital and embeddedness. In: J. Richardson, and A. Ryder, eds., Gypsies and Travellers: Accommodation, Empowerment and Inclusion in British Society. Bristol: Policy Press. 

Greenfields, M. and Smith, D. (2011). Travellers, Housing and the Reconstruction of Communities. In: L. Holt, ed., Geographies of children, youth and families: an international perspective. London: Routledge.

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Invited and Keynote Speaker:

Smith, D. (2015). UK Scientific Expert, EU/Interreg IV A 'Manche' Programme. Action to Generate Inclusion for Residents of migrant background (AGIR) Amiens, France.

Smith, D. (2014). UK Scientific Expert, EU/Interreg IV A 'Manche' Programme. Action to Generate Inclusion for Residents of migrant background (AGIR) Amiens, France.

Smith, D. (2013). Social Control and Vulnerable Groups. University of Western Timisiora. Timisoara, Romania.

Smith, D. (2013). Public Services and Gypsy/Travellers. ESRC Seminar Series. University of Sheffield.

Conference Papers:

Smith, D. (2015). Settlement patterns, housing careers and accommodation-related experiences of Roma migrants in the UK. Communicating with States: "Underprivileged" Migrations within the European Union, 5-6 October, Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies. Uppsala University, Sweden.

Smith, D. (2014). Roma migrants, the EU and the politics of integration in the UK. In: A. Eby Hara, and S.L. Taya, eds., 5th International Conference on International Studies (ICIS) 2014: Globalization and Nation States, Malaysia: School of International Studies: Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM).

Smith, D. (2014). Roma migrants, the EU and the Politics of Integration in the UK. 5th International Conference on International Studies (ICIS), 1-2 December, School of International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia.

Smith, D. (2014). Guy Standing and the Urban Precariat. ETMU Days conference: Inequalities in Diverse Societies Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism, 23-24 October, University of Helsinki: Finland.

Greenfields, M. and Smith, D. (2014). Doing it for ourselves: narratives of resistance and resilience among the urban precariat. ETMU Days conference: Inequalities in Diverse Societies, 23-24 October, University of Helsinki, Finland .

Smith, D. and Greenfields, M. (2013). Enforced settlement and urban Gypsy and squatter camps in London and its environs between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries. Resourceful Cities 21 Conference 2013: Sociology of Urban and Regional Development International Sociological Association, 29-31 August, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany.

Smith, D. (2013). The Decline of Nomadism: spatial management and enforced settlement of gypsy/travellers in the UK. Swiss-Romanian Cooperation Programme, ISI Conference Proceedings: The Fourth International Conference Psychological-Social Perspectives in the Quasi-Coercive Treatment of Offenders: Social Control and Vulnerable Groups, Medimond International Proceedings.

Smith, D. (2013). Spatial Management and Control of the UK's nomadic population. Social Control of Vulnerable Groups, April, University of West Timisiora: Romania.

Smith, D. (2013). Housing Gypsy/Travellers – Transitions and Challenges. ESRC Seminar, April, University of Sheffield.

Smith, D. (2013). Gypsies/Travellers and Coalition Policy. Social Policy Association Annual Conference, July, University of Sheffield.

Smith, D. (2012). Gypsy/Travellers in a post industrial economy: exclusion, adaptation and continuity. Royal Anthropological Institute, Anthropology in the world. British Museum, London.

Smith, D. (2012). They think moving here is a step up: neighbourhood reputation and intra-class distinctions in outer South London. British Sociological Association, Urban Theory and Research Study Group. University of Leeds.

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