Dr Gary Fooks

Reader in Sociology

Gary Fooks

I am a political sociologist with broad research interests in health policy and the relationship between business and society. Before coming to Aston I was a Research Fellow in Health Policy at the University of Bath. I undertake empirically based research focusing on the socio-political, economic, and informational drivers of public policy, with a particular focus on the effects of corporate political activity on health policy and financial regulation. My current work covers: business influence in shaping the underlying administrative architecture of public policy-making; the intersections of corporate political influence, international trade and investment agreements and public policy; the political uses of corporate social responsibility; corporations’ use of evidence in policymaking; and the role of large corporations in expanding policy conflicts.

I am open to supervising PhD students with an interest in health and public policy, corporate influence in public policy, the political economy of public policy, business involvement in health services, and corporate social responsibility.


  • Corporate lobbying
  • Corporate social responsibility and corporate policy influence
  • Impact assessment, cost benefit analysis and risk assessment in public policymaking
  • The impact of corporate activity on human health and welfare


Refereed Journal Articles

Book Sections

  • Smith, K., Fooks, G. and Gilmore, A. 2012. “Environmental Tobacco Smoke” in Late Lessons Volume II. Brussels: European Environment Agency.
  • Fooks, G., 2003. In the valley of the blind the one eyed man is king: Corporate crime and the myopia of financial regulation. In: Tombs, S. and Whyte, D., eds. Unmasking the Crimes of the Powerful: Scrutinizing States and Corporations. New York: Peter Lang Publishing Group.
  • Fooks, G. and Pantazis, C. 1999. “The criminalisation of homelessness, begging and street living” in Marsh, A. and Kennett, P. (ed.’s) Homelessness. Exploring the New Terrain. Bristol: Policy Press.

Government Reports

  • Fooks, G., Bergman, D. and Rigby, B. (2007) “International comparison of (a) techniques used by state bodies to obtain compliance with health and safety law and accountability for administrative and criminal offences and (b) sentences for criminal offences.” London: HSE Books.


  • Health Policy (LK3019)
  • Corporate Power in a Globalised World (LY3022)
  • Environmental Policy (LB2012)
  • Social Problems and Public Policy (LK1012)

Recent Invited Papers

  • Corporate Social Responsibility, Public Health, and Obesity: Opportunity for, or Risk to, Public Health? Preventing obesity: Personal responsibility? Social responsibility? Moving beyond polarization in policy, discourse and practice Brocher Foundation, Switzerland, 1st-2nd  July 2013
  • Innovation in Corporate Industry Political Activity: the Case of Tobacco Industry Philanthropy, Regulation and Strategic Behaviours of Tobacco Manufacturers, University of Bath. 30th January 2013.
  • Killing me Softly: Corporate Social Responsibility in the Tobacco Industry “Tobacco: a cash crop without alternative?“ Armony Hotel, Mariannenplatz 26, Berlin. 28th November 2012.
  • Taking Stock of the Self-Regulation Experiment: the Past, Present and Future of the Platform on Diet, Physical Activity and the EU Alcohol and Health Forum. 2nd HEC Paris Workshop on Regulation. Regulating Lifestyle Risks in Europe. HEC, Paris. 20th-21st September 2012.
  • The tobacco industry’s covert lobbying. House of Commons. Gilmore A, Rowell, A., Lubbers, E., Fooks, G.  All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health. London. November 2011.
  • Understanding Contemporary Trends in Corporate Influence over Public Health Policy: What can we learn from Corporate Social Responsibility in the Tobacco Industry?  Sir Richard Doll Seminars in Public Health and Epidemiology, University of Oxford. 8th February 2011.
  • Better Regulation and the Tobacco Industry, European Parliament, Brussels, ‘EU Better Regulation: from economic to citizen-centric?’ European Parliament, Brussels. 24th February 2010.
  •  Better Regulation for whom? Corporate influence over EU policymaking, Liverpool John Moores University. 24th November 2009.


Media Interviews 

  • British American Tobacco utiliza las obras de caridad para ganar el favor de los Gobiernos, La Celosia, 3rd December 2013.
  • Gracias por fumar, America economia, 1st March, 2013.
  • Philip Morris leads plain packs battle in global trade arena, Bloomberg News, 23rd August, 2013.
  • BBC Bristol, 18th April, 2012.
  • Tobacco companies use corporate social responsibility for political purposes, Medical Xpress, 23rd August, 2011. 
  • Paying The Price, Calgary Herald,  25th June 2010.
  • Swiss Public Radio, 12th January, 2010.
  • Thinking Allowed, BBC Radio 4, 16th November, 2009
  • (with Anna Gilmore and Piotr Ozieranski) Low visibility Tobacco Industry Political Activity and Contemporary Tobacco Policy (CRuK) (£42,000)
  • (with Anna Gilmore) Mapping industry political activity aimed at opposing the introduction of plain packaging and examining its impact on policymakers (CRuK) (£45,000)
  • (with Anna Gilmore and Jeff Collin) Tobacco Companies, Global Governance and Public Health, National Cancer Institute (at the U.S. National Institutes of Health) (£1.34 million)
  • (with Anna Gilmore) Supporting Smoking Denormalisation in the South West Region through Tobacco Industry Monitoring, CRUK and Smokefree South West (£200,000)
Room: NW922f
Phone:  0121 204 4474
Email:  g.fooks@aston.ac.uk
Office Hours:  TBC