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Salman Khan

Research Assistant/Associate

Research Assistant/Associate in the Department of Sociology


I’m a second-year PhD student in the Department of Sociology, having started my studies here in September 2021. My research is funded by the Durham Doctoral Studentship, and seeks to ethnographically investigate three main themes pertaining to the UK’s cab driving industry. The first focuses upon affective relationality, particularly in relation to the decline of the ‘hackney carriage’ (or black cab) trade and the rise of platforms like Uber, and relatedly, community relations among those working in the sector as viewed from a figurational sociology lens. Second, I am investigating imaginaries of the future held by those working in the cab driving sector – whether these relate to technological, regulatory, demographic, or any other kind of anticipated change. And third, the project has a medical sociology focus in that it seeks to understand the interaction of microbial (e.g., Covid, flu) and chronic disease (i.e., comorbidities) in the everyday lives of cab drivers – a population that has been characterised as ‘at risk’ for a myriad of reasons, most recently for elevated mortality and morbidity from Covid-19. Taken together, these three themes involve a consideration of the following interrelated aspects: the socio-technical, affective, as well as epistemic relations in which cab drivers are situated and how these entanglements mediate their interactions with different forms of risk; mobility patterns across space and time; established-outsider relations between different communities employed in the sector; and the evolution of the cab driving sector in relation to successive ‘waves’ of regulatory, technological, and demographic change. The research seeks to bring together conceptual-methodological approaches from across sociology, Science, Technology and Society (STS), and human geography.

Prior to joining Durham Sociology, I graduated with an MSc in Sociology and Global Change from the University of Edinburgh in November 2020. My MSc research was an autoethnographic investigation of Scotland’s Covid lockdown as ‘cultural assemblage’, and was subsequently published in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography (see below).

Follow me on Twitter: @salman_khilji and LinkedIn: @salmankhilji

Research interests

  • Science, Technology and Society (STS)
  • New Materialist/Posthuman Approaches
  • Ethnography
  • Health Inequalities
  • Medical Sociology & Sociology of Health and Illness
  • Mobilities
  • Affect