Mary Evans has worked in higher education for forty years and for much of this time
has written and talked about the ways in which gender informs and structures the
social world. This work took place in the context of teaching Sociology but the porous
boundaries of that subject allowed her to consider some of those aspects of the world
which sociologists have often ignored , most specifically works of fiction. This
interest led her to re-thinking the meaning of ‘fiction’ and hence to the study of
non-fiction, in the course of which she came to the conclusion that boundaries between
fiction and fact are often over-stated.
This theme in her work has run side by side with a passionate interest in the ways
in which what we describe as ‘knowledge’ is constructed. First and foremost here
is the question of gender : is there such as thing as ‘male’ or ‘female’ knowledge?
But a second theme ..and one that has come to the fore in recent years …is the question
of the ways in which creative work, and work of the imagination, is increasingly
becoming marginalised by economic and social constraints. Killing Thinking is the
title of one of her most recent books, a polemic against those bureaucratic procedures
which increasingly organise education.
In all, her work is organised around the ever intriguing question of how we are made
by the social world but then impose our own meaning on it.