Kenneth McLaughlin is a senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University where he teaches modules on sociology, social policy, mental health and social work. Prior to this he worked as a social worker and team manager in a social services mental health team. He has also worked as a support worker with homeless families.
His research is concerned with the way wider social and political concerns are reflected within social policy in general and social work in particular. His 2008 book Social Work Politics and Society: from radicalism to orthodoxy highlights the implications of a risk averse culture and process of psychologisation on contemporary social work theory and practice. Similar themes are pursued in his 2012 book Surviving Identity: Vulnerability and the psychology of recognition, which discusses identity politics and the way in which the fragility of the self has become the dominant way in which both personal and political claims are expressed. His work has also appeared in several academic journals and in the online political and current affairs journal spiked. His latest book Empowerment: A critique was published by Routledge in February 2016.