Welcome to My Website

This web site contains a selection of past and present writings, supported by picture galleries, videos and other material generated by my research. I am an urban ethnographer by trade and have worked mostly with young people and communities in East London, charting the impact of structural and demographic change on their everyday experience, and the stories they tell about the past, present and future of this area. My work draws on concepts and methods from a range of approaches in the human sciences, including anthropology, actor-network theory, psychoanalysis, narratology and cultural geography.  I have always been concerned to relate my 
research to educational and political issues, and to create a dialogic framework for the research process.

The site is organised into the following sections as listed in the navigation bar above.

New material will be added on a regular basis to each of these sections and through my blog I  also hope to comment from time to time on  cultural and political issues of the day.

Phil Cohen
London and Wivenhoe

Please feel free to contact me using this link or the link above.

Announcing my latest book!

London 2012  and the Post Olympic City- A Hollow Legacy ?

Edited by Phil Cohen and Paul Watt

The strap line for 2012 was ‘Inspire a Generation’, and with the advent of the Rio Games a new chapter in Olympic history is  being  written – now is the time  to both look back and forward , and reach a considered verdict about how far that promise has been delivered. 

The London 2012 Olympics are widely seen as a success story. In the referendum debate the Brexiteers  made much  of a moment in which the nation came together to surmount its internal   divisions and triumphantly  stood on its own feet  to show its best face to the world. Even if the moment did not last long,  there is still an official optimism that   2012 will provide a lasting legacy of benefits to the host communities of East London.  As always there is a counter-narrative, in which 2012 is the same old Olympic story of broken promises and tarnished dreams.

This book puts in question these formulaic evaluations and the assumption about sport, regeneration and the city which underlie them.  It brings fresh evidence, original insights   and new perspectives to bear on the Post Olympic debate. And it looks forwards from  Rio  to the  Tokyo Olympics as well as back at London 2012.

Our contributors represent a broad spectrum of opinion and the book  is inter-disciplinary in scope. It  will be of interest not only to academics, students and practitioners in the fields of Olympics and mega-events studies, urban regeneration, planning, and community action, but to anyone concerned with the future development of our cities and the fate of those who live on its margins.  

All the material is specially commissioned for this book, and  draws on work that has been undertaken since 2012  and has not been previously published. The book also  includes a photo essay on the new residential development  of East Village.

Published Palgrave Macmillan  May 2017 ISBN 987-1-137-48946-3

Read more about the book at: London 2012  and the Post Olympic City- A Hollow Legacy ?


I would like to acknowledge those who have been essential to the creation of this website:  Norman Dallura (Dallura Web Design), Donald Nicholson Smith (editorial consultant)  and Jane Mullins (copy editing).